A gigantic urbanization project started at the village of Baghdad
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On July 30, 762 AD, a gigantic urbanization project started at the village of Baghdad, which in Old Persian means “God-given”, following its selection as the capital of the Abbasid caliphate by the tyrant Mansur Dawaniqi, who named it “Madinat as-Salaam” (City of Peace). A bitter enemy of the Household of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), he chose the location, 30 km from Ctesiphon, the capital of the Persian Empire, and commissioned the Barmakid Iranian family of viziers to carry out the project, supervised by the astrologers Naubakht Ahvazi, a Zoroastrian, and Mashallah, a Jew, who believed work should start in July under the sign of Leo, which is associated with fire and symbolises productivity, pride, and expansion.
The city was designed as a circle about 2 km in diameter, and hence was called the "Round City". The circular design of the city was a direct reflection of the traditional Persian urban design, modeled on the Sassanid city of Gur in Fars, built 500 years earlier. Soon Baghdad became a centre of learning, as well as of vice and Arabian Nights debaucheries, until it was sacked in 1258 by the Mongol hordes of Hulagu Khan – a catastrophe from which it never fully recovered. Following the creation of Iraq as a country by the British last century, Baghdad became the capital of a modern state, and has gradually grown into a metropolis.
Today, it is the second largest city in the Arab World after Cairo, the capital of Egypt, and the second largest city in Western Asia after Tehran, the capital of Iran.