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BAGHDAD, IRAQ: Directorate General Passenger Transport Service / Baghdad Bus Map.



A scarce and detailed map of circa 1960 Baghdad, capturing the city during a period of rapid development due to the on-going oil boom, made by the local public transit authority to show bus routes.

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Colour print, index of bus routes printed on verso, with contemporary seller’s hand-stamp to verso (Very Good, overall clean and bright, just some mild creasing and light wear at original folds, a few very light stains), 65 x 75.5 cm (25.5 x 30 inches).


This interesting and attractive map showcases all of Baghdad as it appeared around 1960, when the city was experiencing major development buoyed by a protracted oil boom.  The map shows a detailed street plan of Baghdad and its fast-growing suburbs, labelling all major streets and key buildings, with some famous sites pictured by charming little vignettes.  The maps was made by the city’s public transit authority to delineate bus routes, shown by red lines, while an index of 60 routes appears on the verso.

Notably, the map depicts many newly-created suburbs, plus grand constructions such as the Baghdad Central Station (built in 1953) and the University of Baghdad (established 1957).

The map was produced in several editions from 1957 until the mid-1960s.  Befitting such an ephemeral work, all editions are today scarce.  We gather from a line printed on the 1957 edition that the map series was designed by a gentleman by the name of A. Karim Rifaat.

During this period, Baghdad was enjoying a wave of almost unprecedented economic prosperity and growth, despite the prevailing environment of extreme political instability (the government was overthrown and its principles executed in revolutions in both 1958 and 1963!).  From 1947 to 1960, the city’s population increased from 350,000 to over 1 million, as Iraqis from the country flooded into the Baghdad to fulfil jobs created by the oil boom.  New suburbs, highways, bridges, schools and hospitals were being built continuously, while the public transport system was well funded and organized, being one of the best in the Middle East.  Iraq’s economy, by GDP per head, then approached the level of that of Portugal, in contrast to the great poverty that today befalls the city.


References: OCLC: 866733102.

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