Winged genie is the conventional term for a recurring motif in the iconography of Assyrian sculpture. Winged genii are usually bearded male figures sporting birds’ wings. The genie symbolised both protection and fertility — its role was to safeguard and replenish the ancient kingdom of Assyria.
Truffles have gained widespread attention in the culinary world lately, becoming a favourite among chefs and food-lovers alike. Not to be confused with the chocolate confectionery of the same name, truffles are a type of fungus that grows near the roots of certain trees.
Baghdad was founded by the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur in 762 CE. When he founded a completely new city for his capital, he chose the name Medina al-Salaam or The City of Peace. This was the official name on coins, weights, and other official usage, although the common people continued to use the old name. Baghdad soon became the home to pioneering scientists, astronomers, poets, mathematicians, musicians, historians, legalists and philosophers. The Baghdad Peace Festival was started in 2011 to remind people of that history.
Shahbandar café is one of Baghdad’s few remaining traditional cultural cafés. Since opening its doors, Shahbandar café had become a hub of Baghdad’s intellectual life, drawing poets and politicians to its wooden benches and photo-lined walls. The café still stands, a testament to the resilience of the country and the capital, Baghdad, even if so much has happened here. From British rule to modern-day Iraq, Shahbandar has lived through the birth of a nation, the toppling of its monarchy, decades of domination by Saddam Hussein, the drama of the US-led invasion and the bloody chaos that followed.
The Iraq Museum is one of the best archaeological museums in the world, containing the material evidence for the development of civilised human society from the very beginning of its history. The museum enshrines Iraq as the cradle of civilisation, the source of writing and statehood. Their collection covers over 5,000 years of Mesopotamian history.
The Lamassu is a celestial being from ancient Mesopotamian religion bearing the head of a man, the wings of an eagle, and the hulking body of a bull, sometimes with the horns and the ears of a bull. The Lamassu combines the strength of a bull, the freedom of an eagle, and the intelligence of a human being.
Basbousa is a traditional Middle Eastern sweet: spongy, semi-soft semolina cake garnished with almonds or coconuts.