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Landmarks from Iraq - Kahramana Square

10/03/2013

Kahramana Square is one of Baghdad’s famous squares. It is located at a crossroads between the two areas of Karrada (inside and outside). Kahramana’s statue was built in the 1960s, and it was later renewed as the heads put over the jugs (called “basatik” بساتيك in Arabic) were removed from the monument.

Before telling the historic story of the Kahramana statue, it is necessary to assert that the monument has nothing to do with the story of “Ali Baba and the forty thieves”, as some think, and that is despite the presence of 40 jugs.

The story’s heroine is Qahramama with the letter Q (in Arabic written with the letter ق: قهرمانة) which later on became K.

Kahramana was a courageous and intelligent little girl.

Her father owned a Khan to shelter travelers, which is similar to today’s motels.
He also had a cart, on top of which he put a number of jugs.

Kahramana’s father used to fill those jugs with oil and sell the latter in the market every morning.

One cold winter night, Kahramana got up….

After hearing strange noises and noticing a number of strangers who hid in the empty jugs.

But they peaked out of the jugs to watch the policemen who surrounded the place.

Kahramana rushed to tell her father, and they agreed to make a noise in the khan so that the thieves would lower their heads, and so they did.
Kahramana then filled one vessel with oil and started pouring it in the jugs, one by one.

When the jugs were almost filled, the thieves stood up and started screaming, and so the policemen were able to catch them.

This is the story as it is told in old tales, and it dates back to the pre-Islamic era.

What’s strange about this monument is that the Japanese showed special interest in it, as they took souvenir pictures next to it. After the latest war, they were the first to rehabilitate the monument, planting the surrounding square with colorful flowers. Unfortunately, the jugs were recently painted green, which does not go along with the artistic shape of the monument.

As for Kahramana’s vessel, it has been dry for so long, and it pours neither oil nor water anymore!

This is due to the fact that water is very scarce in Baghdad. However, Kahramana Square’s monument remains the most prominent thanks to the great story of bravery behind it.

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