Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Baghdad Life

By Ayub Nuri
  • Two young men on Abu Nawas street collect junk that they plan to resell.
    Two young men on Abu Nawas street collect junk that they plan to resell.
  • Sheep are herded through Babil Sheikh, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the heart of Baghdad. The Sunni shrine of Sheikh Abdul Qadir al-Gaylani, which being renovated when the invasion occurred, stands unfinished in the background.
    Sheep are herded through Babil Sheikh, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the heart of Baghdad. The Sunni shrine of Sheikh Abdul Qadir al-Gaylani, which being renovated when the invasion occurred, stands unfinished in the background.
  • In Tahrir Square, a woman manages to get some kerosene from a gas station across the street. The fuel shortage crisis has been deepening since the end of the war.
    In Tahrir Square, a woman manages to get some kerosene from a gas station across the street. The fuel shortage crisis has been deepening since the end of the war.
  • A woman carries her daughter in the Al Wahda neighbourhood, begging drivers for money. Women beggars are now a common sight in the streets of Baghdad.
    A woman carries her daughter in the Al Wahda neighbourhood, begging drivers for money. Women beggars are now a common sight in the streets of Baghdad.
  • The driver of a mini bus in Khilani Square searches a passenger who wants to go to Sadr City. In the past, suicide bombers have blown up shared vehicles, forcing drivers to take additional precautions.
    The driver of a mini bus in Khilani Square searches a passenger who wants to go to Sadr City. In the past, suicide bombers have blown up shared vehicles, forcing drivers to take additional precautions.
  • Sinak Bridge is one of several bridges that connect two sections of Baghdad - Rasafa and Kharkh. When traffic jams clogged the city, it took 20 minutes to cross the bridge. It now takes less than a minute, particularly in the afternoon when Baghdad resembles a ghost town.
    Sinak Bridge is one of several bridges that connect two sections of Baghdad - Rasafa and Kharkh. When traffic jams clogged the city, it took 20 minutes to cross the bridge. It now takes less than a minute, particularly in the afternoon when Baghdad resembles a ghost town.
  •  Two young boys enjoy a kick around in one of the capital's old, narrow allies.
    Two young boys enjoy a kick around in one of the capital's old, narrow allies.
  • Abu (father of) Fatima used to sell about 80 Masgoof - a fish dish specific to Baghdad - a day. But with the curfew, he sells a fraction of this amount because people have little time to shop on the way home from work.
    Abu (father of) Fatima used to sell about 80 Masgoof - a fish dish specific to Baghdad - a day. But with the curfew, he sells a fraction of this amount because people have little time to shop on the way home from work.
  • These days traffic policemen carry weapons as they're often targeted by gunmen.
    These days traffic policemen carry weapons as they're often targeted by gunmen.
  • A group of workers drink raisin juice and rest at their work site in the wealthy district of Abu Jaafar on al-Mansour Street. They travel about one hour from Sadr City every day to lay bricks.
    A group of workers drink raisin juice and rest at their work site in the wealthy district of Abu Jaafar on al-Mansour Street. They travel about one hour from Sadr City every day to lay bricks.
  • Two men search for gold in the highly-polluted Tigris river. The men sift through sand and mud, looking for small shavings from goldsmith stores 200 metres away. Each day, they find about one gramme of gold and sell it back to the goldsmiths for 15 US dollars.
    Two men search for gold in the highly-polluted Tigris river. The men sift through sand and mud, looking for small shavings from goldsmith stores 200 metres away. Each day, they find about one gramme of gold and sell it back to the goldsmiths for 15 US dollars.
  • Sadoon Street, once one of the city's main thoroughfares, has become a narrow, barricaded passage to protect Baghdad Hotel, the fortified home of many foreign contractors.
    Sadoon Street, once one of the city's main thoroughfares, has become a narrow, barricaded passage to protect Baghdad Hotel, the fortified home of many foreign contractors.

It has been three years since US-led forces invaded Baghdad, overthrowing Iraq's Ba'athist government and turning a new page in the country's long history. Today, some of the images in the capital resemble those seen in April 2003: bombed-out buildings, bakers hard at work, children kicking balls in the streets. But as this historic city becomes engulfed in violence, lives are changing. Curfews are affecting businesses and fuel seems to become scarcer by the day. The capital is virtually deserted by late afternoon due to concerns about growing violence. This photo essay documents a day in the life of Baghdad.