Day 9 (continued)
The morning was spent at the glorious Baghdad Museum, after queuing for 30 minutes at the security gatehouse because they didn’t want to let us in. Our local guide had passed on our details in advance but we were still searched and treated with suspicion. No one can believe that there are real tourists in Baghdad.
Once in, the staff were fantastic and very glad to see us. The museum is currently closed to the public and we were shown round by a curator who’d been there since 2002. He was extremely knowledgeable on the Assyrian, Sumerian and Babylonian periods and we are so lucky to be able to have him explain everything for us. The museum’s exhibits are fabulous – far better than the British Museum – and are gradually being displayed properly in new galleries partially financed by the Italians and Germans.
A gorgeous 3,000 year old bronze sheep’s head.
The Khorsabad friezes are so spectacular I was speechless and nearly cried with emotion. They are displayed exactly as they would have been in the palace and the room was beautiful. Two winged bulls are set at the end of the friezes, setting off the whole room. Wonderfully lit and breathtakingly fantastic – I love it and didn’t want to leave.
Our lovely curator was touched by our enthusiasm and took us into three galleries normally closed to visitors because they are under renovation. The first gallery displayed the Nimrud Ivories and a throne dais depicting the world’s first handshake. I could have happily stayed here all day, especially as we were allowed to take photos and the curator let us gently touch some of the more robust exhibits.
The Nimrud Gate
The Sumarian Hall with the Sumerian room cones, still with their original colours intact
the Warka Bowl
Sumerian votive statues
a Tel Haral lion
All truly wonderful. Thank you, Baghdad Museum