Umm Qaşr, Iraq

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Umm Qaşr, Iraq

Region: Basra

Geographic Coordinates: 30.034200, 47.929400
Temperature Range: 30.0°C to 50.0°C (86°F to 122°F)
Population: 107620
Language: Arabic

Umm Qasr is a port city located in the Basra Governorate of southern Iraq. The city sits on the western bank of the Shatt al-Arab waterway, Which flows into the Persian Gulf. Historically, Umm Qasr has been an important trading center due to its strategic location at the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The name Umm Qasr means mother of locks in Arabic, Referring to its function as a gateway for goods entering and leaving Iraq. The city’s modern development began during Saddam Hussein’s regime when he ordered construction of a deep-water port to increase Iraq’s trade capabilities.

Umm Qasr Port opened in 1984 and became one of Iraq’s main ports for importing and exporting goods. During the Gulf War in 1991, Umm Qasr was heavily bombed by coalition forces causing significant damage to its infrastructure. After years of conflict and instability following Saddam Hussein’s ousting, Umm Qasr has undergone significant reconstruction efforts with assistance from international organizations such as USAID. Today, It remains an important hub for trade with neighboring countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Aside from its economic importance, Umm Qasr also holds cultural significance as it is home to several historic sites including Abu Bakir al-Siddiq Mosque which dates back to the 7th century AD. The mosque stands out due to its unique architecture which blends traditional Islamic design with modern elements. Despite ongoing security concerns due to nearby conflict zones such as Syria and Iran, Efforts are being made by local authorities to improve living conditions for residents through initiatives aimed at improving healthcare services and education opportunities.

In addition to these developments, Tourism is also becoming increasingly popular in Umm Qasr due to its proximity to other attractions such as Basra City Center which features several museums showcasing Iraqi art and history dating back centuries. Overall, Umm Qasr is a city with a rich history and promising future. Its strategic location and ongoing development efforts make it an important player in Iraq’s economy while its cultural significance and potential for tourism make it a destination worth exploring.

Important Landmarks

Umm Qaşr

Umm Qaşr

A small port town located in southern Iraq.

Main Attractions

  1. The port itself, serving as a gateway to Iraq for international trade and commerce.
  2. Water sports activities on nearby beaches, including swimming, fishing, and boating.

City of Basra

Located approximately 60 km from Umm Qaşr, Basra offers more tourist attractions:

  • Basra Museum
  • Basra Grand Mosque (Al-Kabir Mosque)
  • Basra War Cemetery
  • Shatt Al-Arab Waterway Park

Primary Industries

Umm Qasr

Umm Qasr

Industries and Businesses

  1. Shipping and logistics
  2. Oil and gas
  3. Construction
  4. Agriculture
  5. Retail
  6. Tourism
  7. Manufacturing

Umm Qasr Port

The Umm Qasr Port is the largest port in Iraq that handles most of the country’s imports and exports.

Oil-related Industries

The region around Umm Qasr has significant oil reserves that support a range of oil-related industries like refining, production, exploration, transportation, and distribution.

Construction Materials

With ongoing infrastructure development projects across Iraq, there is a high demand for construction materials such as cement and steel among other building supplies.


Agriculture thrives in the fertile land around Umm Qasr, supporting date palm cultivation as well as livestock farming.


There are several retail outlets in the city catering to the local population’s needs for basic goods such as foodstuffs and clothing items among others.


Though not yet fully developed due to political instability over recent years, tourism has potential with its proximity to archaeological sites like Ur, the birthplace of Abraham from biblical times among others.


Small-scale manufacturing units like textile mills cater to local markets within Basra province.

Noteable History

Umm Qasr

Umm Qasr

Umm Qasr is a port city located in southern Iraq with a rich history. The city has been associated with several notable historical events and people.

Historical Events

  1. Umm Qasr’s connection to ancient Mesopotamia
  2. Persian Gulf War in 1991

Notable People

  • Saddam Hussein
  • Nouri al-Maliki
  • Ali Hassan al-Majid (Chemical Ali)
  • Basimah Al-Khafaji
  • Qais al-Khazali

Current Significance

Today, Umm Qasr serves as an essential hub for Iraq’s oil industry. The city is also a major center for trade and commerce due to its location on the Persian Gulf. In 2009, insurgents attacked Basra Province Governorate building near Um-Qaser district, killing at least nine people and injuring more than fifty others.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Basra War Museum: A museum dedicated to the history of the Iran-Iraq war and the Gulf War.
  2. Basra International Stadium: A stadium that hosts football matches and other events.
  3. Basra Museum of Antiquities: A museum showcasing ancient artifacts from Mesopotamia.
  4. Shaheed Monument: A monument dedicated to Iraqi soldiers who died during the Iran-Iraq war.
  5. Al-Muharraq Mosque: One of the oldest mosques in Iraq, dating back to the 7th century.
  6. Shatt al-Arab Waterway: A scenic waterway where visitors can take boat tours or go fishing.
  7. Grand Mosque of Umm Qasr: One of the largest mosques in southern Iraq with a beautiful interior design.
  8. Al-Faw Palace: A former presidential palace turned into a cultural center that showcases Iraqi art and culture.
  9. Al-Qurnah Bridge: An iconic bridge over the Tigris River connecting Umm Qasr with other cities in southern Iraq.
  10. Safwan Hill Monument Park: A park featuring monuments commemorating important events in Iraqi history, including the Gulf War ceasefire agreement signed at Safwan Hill in 1991.

Cultural Events

  1. Ashura: This is a religious festival observed by Shia Muslims to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain.
  2. Eid al-Fitr: This is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.
  3. Basra International Festival: This annual festival celebrates the culture and heritage of Basra province with music, dance, food, and art exhibitions.
  4. Baghdad International Film Festival: This film festival is held annually in Baghdad showcasing local and international films.
  5. Babylon International Festival: This festival celebrates Babylon’s rich history with performances by local artists, traditional music and dance shows.
  6. Al-Qurna Date Festival: Held every year in Al-Qurna city near Umm Qasr to celebrate date palm harvesting season with music concerts, traditional dances and food stalls serving dates-based dishes.

Please note that due to political instability in Iraq these events may be subject to cancellations or postponements at any time without notice so it’s best to check event listings before planning your trip accordingly.


  1. Masgouf: This is a grilled fish dish that is traditionally cooked over an open flame and served with rice.
  2. Kebabs: There are different types of kebabs available in Umm Qaşr such as shish kebab (grilled meat skewers), kofta kebab (spiced ground meat on skewers), and chicken kebab.
  3. Dolma: This dish consists of stuffed vegetables like peppers or grape leaves filled with spiced rice, herbs, and sometimes minced meat.
  4. Tashreeb: A traditional Iraqi soup made with lamb or chicken broth served over pieces of bread.

Some popular restaurants in Umm Qaşr include:

  1. Al-Sultan Restaurant: A casual dining restaurant that serves traditional Iraqi cuisine like masgouf and kebabs.
  2. Al-Mawal Restaurant: A family-friendly restaurant known for its grilled meats and seafood dishes like shrimp masala.
  3. Al Hoda Restaurant & Cafe: A cozy cafe-style restaurant serving breakfast items like eggs, omelets, sandwiches along with lunch/dinner options including salads & sandwiches.
  4. Babel Restaurant & Cafe: An upscale dining experience featuring Middle Eastern cuisine including mezze platters (small plates), seafood dishes, grills, etc.

Parks and Recreation

  1. Umm Qasr Beach – A stunning beach located near the port area that provides a breathtaking view of the Persian Gulf.
  2. Al-Faw Palace – A historical palace constructed during Saddam Hussein’s regime that is now open for public visits.
  3. Basra Sports City – A sports complex with football fields and other facilities for outdoor activities.
  4. Al-Ma’qal Park – A small park situated near the city center that features playgrounds and picnic areas.
  5. Basra Zoo – A small zoo housing a variety of animals such as lions, tigers, bears, monkeys, and birds.

It is crucial to note that some of these attractions may be closed or have restricted access due to security concerns in Iraq at times. Therefore it is recommended to check with local authorities before planning any visits or activities in Umm Qasr or other parts of Iraq.


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