The Monument to the Unknown Soldier
The Monument to the Unknown Soldier (Arabic,نصب الجندي المجهول) is a monument in central Baghdad designed by Italian architect Marcello D'Olivo and built between 1979 and 1982. It is said to be inspired by the glorification of a martyr from the Iran–Iraq War. In 1986 the national square of Iraq, Great Celebrations square, was built near the monument, and in 1989 the Victory Arches were added to celebrate the "victory" of the war on Iran. The Monument represents a traditional shield (dira¹a) dropping from the dying grasp of an Iraqi warrior. The monument also houses an underground museum.
The artificial hill is shaped like a low, truncated cone of 250 m diameter. It is surrounded by slanting girders of triangular section that are covered with marble. Red granite, stepped platforms of elliptical form lead to the dome and cubic sculpture. The steel flagpole is entirely covered with Murano glass panels fixed on stainless steel arms and displaying the national flag colours. The cantilevered dome is 42m in diameter and follows an inclination of 12 degrees. Its external surface is clad with copper, while its inner surface features a soffit finished with pyramidal modules alternating steel and copper. The promenade is covered by a semi-circular, flat roof supported on a triangular steel bracing. The roof is covered with a copper sheet and the soffit displays V-shaped panels of stainless steel and Murano glass.
The cube beneath the shield is made of seven layers of metal, said to represent the seven levels of Jannah in the Islamic faith. Inside the layers of metal are sheets of red acrylic, said to represent the blood of the slain Iraqi soldiers. The cube itself is connected to the underground museum by a long shaft with windows that allow light to shine in from above. Inside the museum, visitors can look up at the ceiling and see through the openings leading to the cube above.
The underground museum is not currently lit, except for the light that shines in from the windows above and through the doors (when opened). Visitors must bring their own flashlights to view the now-empty cases that once held numerous war relics.
Visits to the monument are allowed during daylight hours, although visitors must ask for permission from the Iraqi soldiers who guard the monument before approaching the monument.
First Unknown Soldier monumental arch
In 1959, an arched monument to the Unknown Soldier was erected in Firdos Square in Baghdad. It was designed by Rifat Chadirji and was a modern adaption of the arch of Ctesiphon. It was destroyed by Saddam Hussein in 1980 when he built a new monument elsewhere in Baghdad and replaced by a statue of Saddam. This was the famous statue torn down by the American forces after they captured Baghdad in 2003. There were reports that Chadirji had been commissioned to rebuild the monument, but so far this has not been done.
- GlobalSecurity.org "Monument to the Unknown Soldier, Baghdad, Iraq"
- "Famed Iraqi architect rebuilds Baghdad landmark" Al Arabiya News, November 2, 2010, retrieved September 20 2015
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