Sāmarrā’, Iraq

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Sāmarrā’, Iraq

Region: Salah ad-Din Governorate

Geographic Coordinates: 34.198300, 43.874200
Temperature Range: 10.0°C to 45.0°C (50°F to 113°F)
Climate: Seasonal.
Population: 158508
Language: Arabic

Sāmarrā’ is a city located in the Salah ad-Din Governorate of Iraq, Approximately 125 km north of Baghdad. The city is situated on the east bank of the Tigris River and has a rich history dating back to ancient times. Sāmarrā’ was once an important center for Islamic culture and learning, Boasting some of the most impressive examples of Islamic architecture in the world. One of Sāmarrā’s most famous landmarks is al-Mutawakkil Mosque, Also known as the Great Mosque. The mosque was built during the Abbasid period in 848 AD and is considered one of the largest mosques ever constructed.

It features a massive spiral minaret that stands over 50 meters tall, Making it one of Iraq’s tallest structures. The mosque also has intricate brickwork with decorative motifs such as palm trees and geometric patterns. Another notable landmark in Sāmarrā’ is Al-Askari Shrine, Which houses two tombs belonging to Imam Ali al-Hadi and his son Hassan al-Askari from Shia Islam’s lineage.

The city also has several other historical sites worth visiting such as Samarra Archaeological City which was once home to several palaces during Abbasid era; Abu Dulaf Mosque which dates back to ninth century AD; Dar Al-Khalifa Palace built by Caliph Harun al-Rashid; Ibn Fadlan Castle built by Seljuk Turks during their rule over Iraq. Samarra’s cultural heritage extends beyond religious monuments with museums like Samarra Museum where visitors can learn more about Iraqi history through various exhibits including ancient artifacts excavated from archaeological sites around town.

Despite its turbulent past due to wars and conflicts since the 1980s, Sāmarrā’ remains a cultural and historical hub in Iraq. Its unique architectural style and rich history make it an excellent destination for tourists interested in exploring Iraq’s cultural heritage. With its many mosques, Palaces, And museums, Sāmarrā’ offers visitors a glimpse into the country’s past while showcasing its vibrant present-day culture.

Important Landmarks

  • The Great Mosque of Samarra
  • The Malwiya Tower
  • The Al-Askari Shrine

  • Primary Industries

    1. The main industries and businesses in Sāmarrā’, Iraq are:
      • Agriculture
      • Tourism
      • Handicrafts
    2. The city is renowned for producing:
      • Wheat
      • Barley
      • Cotton
      • Dates
    3. It also boasts numerous historical sites that draw tourists from all over the globe.
    4. Furthermore, there are many small enterprises that create traditional handicrafts like pottery and weaving.

    Noteable History

    1. The Great Mosque of Sāmarrā’: This mosque was built in the 9th century by the Abbasid caliphs and is one of the largest mosques in the world.
    2. The Samarra Archaeological City: This ancient city was established in the 3rd century AD and was an important center for Islamic culture during its heyday.
    3. Al-Mutawakkil: He was an Abbasid caliph who ruled from 847 to 861 AD and is known for building many important structures in Sāmarrā’.
    4. The Golden Gate Palace: This palace was built by Al-Mutawakkil and served as his residence during his reign.
    5. Harun al-Rashid: He was one of the most famous Abbasid caliphs, ruling from 786 to 809 AD, and is known for his patronage of art, literature, and science.
    6. Abu Dulaf al-Khazraji: He was a famous Arab poet who lived in Sāmarrā’ during the Abbasid era.
    7. Destruction of Al-Askari Mosque: In February 2006, this Shia mosque located in Sāmarrā’ became a target of bombing which destroyed its dome resulting into sectarian violence between Shias-Sunnis throughout Iraq which lasted several years causing thousands deaths on both sides.

    These are just some examples that demonstrate why Sāmarrā’ has been an important cultural center throughout history.

    Museums and Things To See

    1. The Great Mosque of Samarra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest mosques in the world. It was built in the 9th century and boasts a unique spiral minaret that stands at 52 meters tall.
    2. Al-Askari Shrine is an important pilgrimage site for Shia Muslims, housing the tombs of two revered Imams.
    3. Al-Mutawakkil Mosque, built in the 9th century, features beautiful architectural details such as intricate stucco work and calligraphy.
    4. Samarra Archaeological City contains ruins from various civilizations including ancient Babylonian, Assyrian, and Islamic periods.
    5. The leaning Al-Hadba Minaret is located within the Great Mosque complex and leans at an angle of more than four degrees.
    6. Abassid Palace Complex was once a vast palace complex that served as capital city during Abbasid rule for several centuries; now it lies in ruins.
    7. The Museum of Samarra Antiquities houses artifacts from prehistoric times to Islamic civilization periods among others – it’s a must-visit for history buffs!
    8. Mausoleum of Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya honors an Islamic scholar who lived in Samarra during Abbasid rule – it’s worth visiting to learn more about his life and contributions to Islam.


    • Masgouf Al-Samarrai: This is a popular fish restaurant that serves masgouf, a traditional Iraqi dish made with grilled fish.
    • Al-Masry Restaurant: This restaurant serves Middle Eastern and Iraqi cuisine, including kebabs and shawarma.
    • Al-Najaf Restaurant: This is another popular restaurant in Sāmarrā’ that serves traditional Iraqi dishes like biryani and kofta.
    • Al-Rabea Bakery: This bakery is known for its fresh bread and pastries, including samosas filled with meat or vegetables.
    • Abu Ali Juice Shop: This juice shop offers a variety of fresh fruit juices and smoothies to quench your thirst on hot days.
    • Al-Quds Coffee Shop: For coffee lovers, this coffee shop offers Arabic coffee served with dates or sweets.
    • Qishla Park Restaurant: Located in the city’s park area, this restaurant has outdoor seating overlooking the Tigris River while serving traditional Iraqi dishes like lamb stew and rice pilaf.
    • Shawarma Baghdad Restaurant: As the name suggests, this restaurant specializes in shawarma sandwiches filled with chicken or beef shavings mixed with vegetables such as lettuce tomatoes onions pickles etc., all wrapped up in freshly baked pita bread.

    Parks and Recreation

    1. Al-Askari Park is a large park that boasts playgrounds, picnic areas, and walking paths for visitors to enjoy.
    2. Another popular park in Samarra is Al-Mutawakkil Park which features a lake and boating activities.
    3. Sports enthusiasts can head to Samarra Sports City, a sports complex with facilities for football, basketball, volleyball, and tennis.
    4. Abu Dulaf Mosque and Park is a historic mosque surrounded by gardens and fountains – a must-visit for those interested in Islamic architecture.
    5. Samarra Archaeological City offers tours and educational programs of the ancient city site – perfect for history buffs!
    6. The Tigris River provides opportunities for fishing, boating, and swimming – ideal for outdoor enthusiasts looking to cool off on hot days.
    7. For indoor sports facilities including a gymnasium, check out Al-Hadra Recreational Center.
    8. The Great Mosque of Samarra is one of the largest mosques in the world offering an opportunity to learn about Islamic culture through its impressive architecture.
    9. A unique architectural landmark worth visiting in the city is The Spiral Minaret.
    10. Samarra Museum showcases ancient artifacts from the Mesopotamian era up until modern times providing insight into Iraq’s rich history – definitely worth checking out!


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