Thursday, April 12, 2007

Al Sarrafiya Bridge

Many Iraqis used to call it the Iron Bridge, but the official name was Al Sarrafiyah bridge. It links al Wazeeriya district east of Baghdad (Risafa) with Al Latifiya district on the west of Baghdad (Karkh).

Al Sarrafiya Bridge was built in 1951by the British when they were occupying Iraq at that time. Some sources indicated that the bridge was meant to be built in Sydney, Australia, but at later date the British decided to build and put the bridge in Baghdad. Some sources indicate that the main purpose for building that bridge was military.

There is who believed that the interlaced steel at the top of the bridge were made to make the shape of the British flag and can be clearly seen from an airplane above! There also some myths about that bridge; that the Imam Al Mahdy had appeared for some people at that bridge. According to historians, Al Sarrafiya Bridge was built on the same location a house for mentally ill people used to be kept in the late 18’th century, and maybe before that date.

The bridge is 450 meter long above the Tigris River and 6 meters wide. There is two meter wide for pedestrians. There is also a railway track on one side of the bridge, and until the 1970 of last century, the train used to pass through crossing between the east and west side of Baghdad. In later years, when railway tracks were suspended, the Iraqi government extended the pedestrian space to include some of that area set for the train tracks.