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Baghdad [ Baghdād]locked

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[ Baghdād]

Capital city of Iraq. Located on both banks of the Tigris River in central Iraq, the city was founded in ad 762 near several earlier settlements dating back to the 3rd millennium bc. The site marks the closest approach (c. 60 km) of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers before their eventual confluence in southern Iraq. In ad 750 the Abbasid caliphs (reg 749–1258) abandoned the Umayyad capital at Damascus for Mesopotamia but made several false starts in finding an acceptable site for a new capital: the first choice, named al-Hashimiyya, was located between Kufa and Baghdad, a second was located at al-Anbar on the left bank of the Euphrates and a third was near Kufa. The caliph al-Mansur (reg 754–75) selected another site on the west bank of the Tigris not far from the ancient Seleucid and Sasanian capitals of Seleucia-on-the-Tigris and Ctesiphon. He named his new capital Madinat al-Salam (Arab.: ‘City of peace’), although it continued to be known as Baghdad in popular usage. Al-Mansur and his court occupied the city in ...

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Encyclopaedia of Islam (Leiden, 1954–)
E. Yar Shater, ed.: Encyclopedia Iranica (London, 1986)