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The Republic of Iraq (Arabic: العراقal-‘Irāq About this soundالعراق , Kurdish: عيَراق), is a country in Western Asia encompassing most of Mesopotamia as well as the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range and the eastern part of the Syrian Desert. It shares borders with Syria and Jordan to the west, Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, and Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to the south. It has a narrow section of coastline on the northern Persian Gulf.

There are several suggestions for the origin of the name of Iraq; one dates back to the Sumerian city of Uruk (or Erech). Another suggestion is that Iraq comes from the Aramaic language, meaning "the land along the banks of the rivers."

Under the Sassanid dynasty, there was a region called Iraq Arabi which referred to the southern and central area of Iraq (corresponding with Babylonia). Al-Iraq was the name used in Arabic for the land since around the turn of the Common Era.

Selected article

Al-Shaab Stadium3 (3).JPG

Al Shaab Stadium (Arabic: ملعب الشعب‎) also known as The People's Stadium, is a multi-purpose stadium in Baghdad, Iraq. It is used mostly for football (soccer) matches and is the home of the Iraq national football team. The stadium has seating for 40,000 fans. It was built in 1966. The opening match featured Iraq and Benfica, for whom Eusébio was playing.

Al Shaab Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium (Olympic) in Baghdad, Iraq. It is currently used mostly for football matches. The stadium was a gift to the Iraqi government from the Gulbenkian Foundation. Mr.Calouste Gulbenkian was a Turkish-born Armenian businessman who was a key person in Iraqi oil trade in the 1930s and 1940s. Al Shaab stadium is the home ground of the Iraqi football National team, and it was opened in 1966, the opening game was between Iraq national team and Benfica Football Club from Portugal for whom the legendary Eusébio was playing at those days and he was part of the team during the match.

The Iraqi National team did not play in the stadium any international fixture for more than two decades due to security reasons (80’s Iraq- Iran war, 1990 till mid 1990’s embargo and other sanctions on Iraq, 2003 till date Otc. 2008 USA invasion); in 2003 USA invasion to Iraq the stadium was turned to an army base by the United States Army and the stadium was re-qualified in 2007 and national football fixture started taking place since 2007 (FIFA nor any other international organization inspect the stadium to approve it due to security reasons). In 2007 – 2008 Season the League final was between Zawra’a and Arbeel, the match had a record attendance for the new century of 80,000 and ended up with Arbeel winning the title.

The Stadium has experienced multiple accidents one of which was the collapse of an exterior wall while fans were trying to climb it to enter a game between two famous local teams (one of them was Al Zawra’a). Some of the fans died in that incident. Al-Zawraa, one of the most successful football clubs in Iraq, also use the stadium for some of their home matches. The stadium is also the final resting place of Ammo Baba, who requested that he be buried there before his death.

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Did you know...

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  • ...that the oldest known writing system, known as cuneiform, was developed in southern Iraq during the Sumerian civilization.
  • ...that the oldest laws were written in Iraq by the Sumerian King Ur-Nammu.
  • ...that Iraq is second only to Saudi Arabia in oil reserves.
  • ...that the national soccer team of Iraq won the AFC Asian Cup in 2007.
  • ...the wheel was invented in the southern Iraqi city of Ur.
  • ...that Iraq is the largest producer of dates with more than 400 types and more than 22 million date palms.
  • ...that Iraq’s national dish is Masgouf (impaled fish) and its national cookie is Kleicha (meaning circle or wheel), both of which can be traced back to antiquity.
  • the 1940s and 1950s, Iraq had 4/5 of the world's Arecaceae population, these numbers have drastically decreased in the last few decades.


Selected biography

Archbishop Mar Paulos Faraj Rahho was the Chaldean Catholic Archeparch of Mosul, in the northern part of Iraq. He was born into an ethnic Assyrian family and lived almost his entire life in Mosul, Iraq. Rahho came to worldwide attention in 2008 when he was kidnapped by gunmen and subsequently found dead in Mosul, an event that drew condemnation from the Vatican and foreign governments.

After his ordination as a priest on June 10, 1965 he briefly worked in Baghdad before being appointed to St. Isaiah's Church in Mosul. Between in 1976, Rahho completed his religious studies in Rome. Rahho later founded the church of the Sacred Heart in Tel Keppe. He also opened an orphanage for handicapped children there. On 12 January 2001, he was elected archbishop of the Archeparchy of Mosul.

Late on 29 February 2008 Archbishop Rahho was kidnapped and his bodyguards and driver were killed. The kidnappers demanded Christians contribute to the jihad, through jizya. The captors also demanded the release of Arab (Non-Iraqi) detainees and that they be paid three million dollars for Rahho's release. The kidnappers also demanded that Iraqi Christians form a militia to fight the US forces.

On 13 March 2008, the Archbishop's body had been found buried in a shallow grave near Mosul. An official of the morgue in Mosul said the archbishop, who had health problems, including high blood pressure and diabetes, might have died of natural causes. Police at the Mosul morgue said the Archbishop "appeared to have been dead a week and his body bore no bullet wounds".

Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho is believed to be the highest-ranking Chaldean Catholic clergyman to have been killed in the current Iraq war. The funeral services were held in the town of Karamlesh, with Chaldean Catholic Cardinal Emmanuel Delly in presence.

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