In cooperation with the Antiquities Department, a programme of studies aiming at bringing the knowledge of Islamic architecture in Baghdad up to date began in 1971.
A first general survey was performed, with new surveys of religious, cemeterial and secular monuments that survived in the two sectors of the city’s historical centre, al-Karkh on the west bank of the Tigris and ar-Rusafah on the east bank. The documented monuments cover the entire development of Islamic art in Mesopotamia, from the late Abbasid period to the Ottoman period (V. Strika, J. Khalil).
As static consolidation was necessary, the Awqaf, the Ministry of Religious Affairs, turned to the Institutes of Baghdad for the documentation on the tomb of ‘Omar as-Suhrawardi (1973, R. Parapetti), on the Hayder Khanah mosque (1978, R. Parapetti, C. Leopardi) and on the sanctuary of Kadhimiyyah, on which a photogrammetric survey was also carried out (1988, R. Parapetti).
In 1982, upon the Antiquities Department’s request, a first project for the creation of a “City of Culture” was implemented. The area concerned is the strip of land along the right bank of the Tigris between the Mustansiriyah and what is known as the Abbasid Palace, a complex of buildings dating back to between the 19th century and the 1930s, the Qasr as-Seray, the administrative quarter of Ottoman Iraq.
The buildings’ documentation and the project for requalifying the area (R. Parapetti, C. Leopardi) determined the passage of those buildings, which over time were handed down to various public administrations (Justice, Finance, Interior, Education), to the administration of the Ministry of Culture. Only some of the requalification measures included in the project were completed.
1993 saw the commencement of a new programme for documenting the architecture of traditional houses in Baghdad, spurred by the impending systematic demolition by the local administration of entire old quarters in the historical centre. The first sample of urban fabric examined was that of the al-Khraimat quarter, that, founded in the middle of the 19th century on the right bank of the Tigris just outside the Medieval walls, contained several buildings of considerable interest and of various types (R. Parapetti, R. Mrawuth Ibrahim). The events that followed the Gulf War prevented the completion of the documentation of the adjacent Shawaqa quarter.