Iraq

Mohammed Al Khashali

The man at the helm of the legendary Al Shabandar café, the beating heart of Baghdad’s intellectual life for the past 100 years

Writer

Methaq Al-Fayyadh & Haider Ahmed

Photographer

Ayman al-Amiri

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For the past century, Baghdad’s writers and politicians have taken a seat on the wooden benches that fill the floor of Al Shabandar. Sitting between the bookstores and street vendors of Al Mutanabbi Street, the centre of Baghdad’s literary life, the café has become an enduring emblem of Iraq’s intellectuals.

Named after its founder Mahmoud Al Shabandar, the building began as a printing press in 1900, the start of the century, and converted into a café in 1917, the year of the Fall of Baghdad.

 

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The man at the helm of the legendary Al Shabandar café, the beating heart of Baghdad’s intellectual life for the past 100 years
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