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On Wednesday, Iraq celebrated the return of hundreds of historical artifacts, from an ancient Assyrian statue to a 20th century presidential tea set, which were looted, lost or loaned abroad over recent decades.
The ruins of the city of Babil, some 56 miles south of Baghdad, flourished as the ancient Mesopotamian capital of Babylon, founded in the 19th century BC. Since that time, the city has suffered from neglect, and poor treatment of its buildings and the very ground it was built on. There is now talk among Iraqi cultural officials of reviving tourism in the city.
Archaeologists from the University of Manchester have been working in Iraq and making "significant discoveries", while Islamic State militants have been bulldozing historic Assyrian sites.
Iraqi officials have welcomed the decision of the US to return more than 60 smuggled precious artifacts back to Iraq. However, security concerns for those antiques are rising due to the presence of ISIS militants in Iraq.
Department of Homeland Security revealed that around 60 Iraqi cultural artifacts have been smuggled to the USA, including a limestone statue of an ancient king, were returned to Iraqi government.
Iraq's minister of tourism and antiquities says the government is investigating reports that the ancient archaeological site of Hatra in northwestern Iraq is being demolished by militants from the Islamic State group.
Hatra, which was classified as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO in 1987, is located about 110 kilometers (about 70 miles) south of the IS-stronghold of Mosul in Iraq's Nineveh province.
News that Islamic State fighters had bulldozed and vandalized the ancient city of Nimrud in northern Iraq provoked widespread outrage yesterday, as archaeologists despaired that the militant extremist group was systematically destroying the priceless relics of a birthplace of civilization.
VIDEO: Splendours of Mesopotamia
For more than 5,000 years, numerous civilizations have left their mark on upper Mesopotamia—from Assyrians and Akkadians to Babylonians and Romans. Their ancient, buried cities, palaces and temples packed with monumental art are scattered across what is now northern Iraq and eastern Syria.
According to government officials, all the measures have been initiated to execute a plan for developing the cultural scene in Baghdad through the implementation of multiple projects to build and rehabilitate heritage buildings.
Italian archaeologists excavating ancient sites in southern Iraq plan to use a drone to survey the ruins of Ur and the surrounding areas, the Governor of Dihqar Province Mohammed Baqer said.
The opening of Grand Millennium Sulaimani Hotel in Sulaimani, Iraq, took place on March 2nd, 2014. VIPs, guests and media across the country witnessed the grand opening of what is to become the benchmark of hospitality in Kurdistan and Iraq, and an architectural landmark for Sulaimani. Grand Millennium Sulaimani is today the tallest hotel in Kurdistan and Iraq.
The director of national museum of Iraq has stated that the museum may reopen in April for the first time since it was closed after being partially damaged and ransacked in the wake of the 2003 US-led invasion of the country.
The tourism department of Kurdistan region stated that over two million tourists visited the Region during the year 2013.
The Iraqi embassy to the United States of America received dozens of the Iraqi antiquities from a US citizen.
Today, Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced that a Hyatt affiliate has entered into a management agreement with Claremont Group LLC, a New York-based real estate development company, for a Hyatt Regency hotel in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Expected to open in 2017, Hyatt Regency Sulaymaniyah will be the first Hyatt-branded hotel in Iraq.
A leading hotel management company, Abu Dhabi based Rotana, announced that the general manager and other senior appointments for its new property in Iraq, the five-star Karbala Rayhaan by Rotana.
After oil, tourism is the biggest economic resource for Iraq, the country which is moving slowly towards the point of stability after decades of US invasion. Iraq is mainly focusing on the religious tourism or pilgrimage tourism sector, which depends on the visitors of Iran, who come Iraq to visit every year at a large number. However, recent political turmoil and international pressure on Iran has highly affected the tourism industry of Iraq.
The economy of Iraq is revolving significantly and apart from its oil revenue government has started to find some other ways for bagging some extra revenues to get rid of the country’s too much leniency over the oil revenues. One of the best sectors in Iraq right now is definitely the tourism sector. Though, the country has not been started yet to invest in this sector, but according to the experts possibilities are there.
Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Iraq announced that a Czech company will start restoring Taq-i Kisra (Iwan of Khosrau) as well as the neighboring archeological site in the southern part of Baghdad. This will definitely bolster country’s tourism sector and would profit good financial profit to the local government.
A premier luxury hospitality company from Middle-East, Cristal Group has declared the signing to reopen the landmark Ishtar Hotel. The hotel will be now renamed as Cristal Grand Ishtar Hotel.
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