Kahramana roundabout is regarded as one of the most famous spots in Baghdad. It is located on the crossroads between the famous Karrada Dakhil and Karrada Kharij districts. People driving by the roundabout can see the statue of a beautiful young girl carrying a jar and pouring water down and surrounded by another forty jars around her.
I was going round it today while going to Iqama office in Baghdad. I liked the statue and on return to my home I googled about it. The statue was made during the 1960s, by a famous Iraqi artist named Mohammed Ghani Hikmat.
Many people believe that the statue of Kahramana is related to the story of “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves”, from the One Thousand and One Nights, which is often known in English as the Arabian Nights. It is a statue depicting part of the tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. The slave girl Morgiana pours boiling oil into storage jars where the thieves are lying in wait to attack her master.
However, there are many others, who tell another story about the young and smart Kahramana, who used to help her father running a small hotel in old Baghdad. The father used to bring a cart full of empty jars, and in the next morning he fills each jar with oil and sells them in the market. On a cold winter night, Kahramana heard some noise and later discovered that there were thieves hiding in the empty jars. Their heads were only visible to watch. Kahramana went to her father’s room, woke him up, and told him about what she saw. They came up with an idea to make some noise in the hotel so the thieves would hide completely inside the jars. When this happened, Kahramana filled a jar with oil and started pouring the oil on every single jar with a thief hiding in it. The thieves began screaming, and one after the other jumped out of the jars, by the time this happened, the police came and arrested them.
This is the story as it is told in old tales, and it dates back to the pre-Islamic era. May be Ali Baba story was derived from this old folklore.
Mohammed Ghani Hikmat also made many statues including two big statues of king Shahryar and his wife Scheherazade (of One Thousand and One Nights or Arabian Nights fame) at Abu Nawas Street, on the bank of Tigris river in Baghdad.