Amongst the few but massive monuments built by or in memory of Saddam Hussein’s regime, the Al-Shaheed Monument is dedicated to all the soldiers that lost their lives during the war.
It is an impressive sight, the two turquoise halves that make a dome. With 190 meters in diameter and 40 meter height, the domes are designed to resemble Abbasid era structures.
Al Shaheed Monument
The halves are offset and in their middle is an eternal flame. The domes sit in the middle of an artificial lake.
The domes themselves consist of galvanized steel, their outer shell is made of ceramic tiles that are set in concrete.
Baghdad’s most impressive monument
The opening of the building designed by Ismail Fattah al-Turki was in 1983, although this monument is amongst those financed and overseen by Hussein’s government, many see it as a symbol void of his influence and regard it more as a means to respect the fallen soldiers.
However, the shape of an ‘S’ formed by the two halves as can be seen from top might imply Saddam Hussein’s involvement.
Underneath the domes are a museum, a library, a cafeteria and other means to educate about the history of the dome and the war. However, it has happened before that those rooms were ransacked and destroyed, whether out of greed or political statements is unknown.
In the city of Baghdad, the Al Shaheed Monument is considered nearly holy and therefore no one tarnishes or defiles it. It is therefore important to be as careful as possible when visiting it as a tourist as not to disrespect the Iraqi culture and furthermore the losses of a cruel war.