Ottoman barracks an Iraqi culture center
BAGHDAD -Anadolu Agency
As part of the 2013 Arabic Capital of Culture, the barracks were restored and opened as a cultural center six months ago. It is popular among Iraqi artists.An Ottoman barracks in the Iraqi capital Baghdad has been converted into a cultural center where the country’s intellectuals, artists and writers gather.
As part of the 2013 Arabic Capital of Culture, the barracks were restored and opened as a cultural center six months ago. The barracks are especially popular among Iraqi intellectuals because they are close to Mutenebbi Street, which is known as Baghdad’s “cultural bazaar” and because the barracks’ garden was the scene of demonstrations by intellectuals during the British occupation.
“We come here every weekend and meet with our artist and writer friends,” said one intellectual, Ahmed Hasan. “This is the only place we can take a breath. Here we find a chance to express our thoughts and participate in events we like.” Sculptor Majid al-Siba echoed the comments, saying, “This is a place where literary writers and artists take a breath.”
“What we do is seen here by intellectuals,” said an Iraqi youth about the culture center. “We find a chance to meet intellectuals and writers every Friday here. This is why this place is important for us.” The barracks was built as a single-floor building in the era of Gov. Namık Paşa between 1861 and 1863 for the use of foot soldiers. Another floor was added at the time of Gov. Medet Paşa and served as a house for British officers and their families in 1917.