Southern city opens new museum

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By Noor Ali

Azzaman, March 19, 2014

The southern city of Hilla has opened a new museum housing artifacts which were kept by the city’s residents.

Hilla, which is the capital of the Province of Babel, is rich in antiquities. It is situated a few kilometers away from the fabled ancient city of Babylon.

“Many citizens came to us and voluntarily donated their ancient pieces. We have collected 300 archaeological items as well as 514 manuscripts besides hundreds artifacts chronicling Hilla’s history,” said Raad al-Jibouri, head of Babel’s provincial council.

The authorities have chosen an ancient building in Hilla, dating to the early 1920s, and turned it into a museum housing the new artifacts, said Jibouri.

“The renovation of the building has cost 400 million dinars (approx. $500,000),” he said.

Jibouri said the museum building is situated in one of Hilla’s ancient quarters, which the authorities would like to preserve as a sample of how the city looked like about a hundred years ago.

“Besides archaeological finds, the museum includes possessions from Hilla’s heritage, which the citizens have donated,” he said.

Jibouri urged Hilla people to come forward with items they deem worthy of being exhibited in the museum “because the building tells the history of our city.”

The museum has nine pavilions, each one specialized in a particular aspect of life in Hilla.

The museum will open its doors to the public in a few days, said its director, Ali Abduljaleel.