Shatt al-Arab: the Future of Basra

The Shatt al-Arab, meaning “River of the Arabs,” winds for 200 kilometers through southern Iraq, through the heart of Basra. Formed by the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates at al-Qurnah, it reaches a width of over 700 meters, where it empties into the Gulf.

The river serves as a crucial artery for trade and transportation, making Basra a busy port. Date palm groves, a signature of the area, flourish along the settled banks, providing both economic and cultural significance to the region. The Shatt al-Arab’s waters support a vibrant ecosystem, contributing to the livelihoods of local communities.

Visitors enjoying the bridge walkway

It would be impossible not to mention the Muhammad Baqir Al-Sadr Bridge, which spans the Shatt al-Arab, completed by the Maeg group in record time and inaugurated in 2017. This cable-stayed bridge is not just a functional structure but a symbol of progress, marking the beginning of a significant urbanisation program for the region.

Passserbys walking by the renowned Basra sign

By connecting Basra to its suburbs, the bridge has significantly impacted the lives of local residents. Easier transportation and trade have opened doors for new businesses catering to families seeking leisure activities. Social media-worthy cafes now stand alongside traditional restaurants, offering a taste of both the modern and the historic. Boat rides offer a scenic way to experience the river’s grandeur, while readily available wifi ensures connectivity.

The Shatt al-Arab and the Muhammad Baqir Al Sadr bridge are now intertwined, symbols of Basra’s rich past and its promising future. The river sustains the city, while the bridge connects it, fostering a vibrant community where families can enjoy their free time and new opportunities flourish.

People offering boat rides by the dock
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