While cultural pursuits will take the lion’s share of your time in Baghdad, there are other activities to consider. Haggling is something of a national pastime and the ideal place to flex your bargaining muscles is in the Baghdad Bazaar. This is where deals are done, tea is drunk and life is lived. The tunnels and streets of the bazaar are packed with traders, buyers and children looking for sweet treats. It’s a feast for the senses, with the aromas of spices, teas, fresh bread and perfumes pervading the air, and music and chatter everywhere you go.
The key to haggling is to make it good-natured and never start something you’re not prepared to finish. Once you’ve begun the process, the unspoken rule is that, at some point, you will buy.
If you want to spend a lazy day in the company of exotic creatures, head to Al Zawra’a Zoo, home to over 1,000 animals. Originally opened in 1971, as Baghdad Zoo, it is a 200-acre sanctuary in the Al Zawra’a Gardens area. Nearby there is also the Al Zawra’a Dream Park – a great family amusement centre – and Zawra'a Tower.