In a historic night in the war-torn Iraq, people from all walks of life gathered in al-Harthiya district of Baghdad to celebrate the opening of a huge mall.
After years of war and violence, which is still claiming people’s lives in different parts of Iraq, the Arab nation used the opening ceremony of Baghdad Mall on Monday night to show that life still goes on in the streets of the Iraqi capital.
The Iraqi General Traffic Directorate on Monday closed all roads and streets surrounding the Baghdad Mall as of 3 pm in a move to control the traffic congestion expected to be caused by the attendance of thousands of people in the opening ceremony of Baghdad Mall later in the day.
Years of war, sectarian conflict and insurgencies, as well as a financial and trade embargo in the 1990s and ongoing corruption, had set back development in Baghdad, causing considerable damage.
Now, nearly two months after victory was declared against ISIS in Iraq’s second city, Mosul, and as Iraqi forces draw closer to completely defeating the group in the country’s north, it looks like the historic city may have much brighter days ahead.
Over the weekend the Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, officially opened the new “Baghdad Mall”.
The huge mall includes various shops, a five-star hotel with 33 floors, which is managed by a global hotel company, and a specialized surgery hospital managed by a global medical services company.
According to the Baghdad Investment Authority (BIC), it is one of the strategic projects carried out in the heart of the capital, in terms of geographical location and size and quality of work in it.
The total area of the project is over 24,000 square metres, to include shops of the world’s finest originals and a chain of restaurants of the finest brands.
The mall also includes a ten-storey car park. It is managed by a solid security company equipped with the latest equipment to check the wheels and provide full protection to the pioneers of this huge project, according to the BIC.
The construction project took three years to be completed.
Here are photos of the ceremony attended by thousands of Iraqi people, particularly the younger generation: