Ancient Origins Tour IRAQ

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Fortress of Al-Ukhaidir or Abbasid palace of Ukhaider in Iraq. Panoramic view from the ramparts ( Janos / Adobe Stock)

Ukhaidir and Samarra: Architectural Legacy Of The Abbasid Dynasty

The Abbasid Dynasty, founded by Abu al-Abbas as-Saffah in 750 AD, marked a significant transition in the Islamic world. It succeeded the Umayyad Caliphate and shifted the Islamic capital from...
Representational image of Moors in Spain.   Source: Théodore Chassériau / Public domain

Deciphering the Truth Behind the Moors in Spain

Al-Andalus is the name given to the Iberian Peninsula when it was under Muslim rule. Islam arrived in that region with the arrival of the Moors during the 8 th century AD, and succeeded in conquering...
The palace of Medina Azahara near Cordoba in Andalusia, Spain had a quicksilver pool to entertain guests. Source: rudiernst /Adobe Stock

Ancient Gateway to Quicksilver Palace Discovered In Spain

The city-palace Medina Azahara (the shining city) was situated four miles west of Córdoba in the foothills of the Sierra Morena and was built around 936-940 AD by Abd-al-Rahman III, the first Caliph...
"Muhammad the Apostle of God” .

The First Caliphs of Islam: Power, Corruption, War, and Treachery in the Rashidun Caliphate

The first caliphs of the Islamic World were the Rashidun , or “rightly guided,” caliphs and they controlled a vast empire. According to the Sunni Muslims, the Rashidun caliphs were chosen by Muhammad...
Mural of siege warfare, Genghis Khan Exhibit in San Jose, California, US

Palms Over Baghdad: Tumbling to Dust during the Mongol Invasion – Part II

The Fall of Bagdad Hulegu sent messages to his commanders informing them to muster their forces and move on Baghdad. Baiju moved his forces from Rum via Mosul to cover the western side. Ked-Buka...
Conquest of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258.

Palms Over Baghdad: Riches and Fear during the Mongol Invasion – Part I

In 1253 CE, a breeze began to blow into Baghdad from the east. Unbeknownst to Al-Musta'sim, the Abbasid Caliph, this breeze would soon turn into a violent shamal (wind). This shamal was gaining...
1,000-year-old Middle Eastern recipe book

1,000-year-old Middle Eastern recipe book claims to have the ultimate hangover cure

Written nearly a thousand years ago, the Kitab al-tabikh (book of cookery) written by Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq, is the most comprehensive work of its kind. It includes more than 600 recipes for culinary...
The Great Pyramids of Giza

Tunnel Vision – The Mysterious Forced Entry of the Caliph into the Great Pyramid - Part 2

Some very important questions have been posed – why could Ma'mun not see the real entrance to the Great Pyramid, when it was so well known and so close to his own entrance? And if Ma'mun did not know...
The Forced Entry of the Caliph into the Great Pyramid of Giza

Tunnel Vision – The Mysterious Forced Entry of the Caliph into the Great Pyramid of Giza

The classical account of the discovery of the upper chambers inside the Great Pyramid at Giza is well known. In the ninth century an Arab governor of Cairo, known as the Caliph al Ma’mun, decided to...