Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Can Baghdad be beautiful again?

(CNN) -- Think of Baghdad and for most people what comes to mind is a city of damaged buildings and concrete checkpoints.

This is what Caecilia Pieri expected the first time she visited the Iraqi capital just months after the American-led invasion in 2003.

Baghdad has a history dating back to ancient Mesopotamia and was later one of Islam's great capitals. But Saddam Hussein's closed regime left the modern city unknown to the outside world.

"I had no idea what to expect, but had heard that the modern city had nothing to offer," said Pieri.

She was astonished to find a city that she fell in love with. And, surprisingly, what most enthralled her was Baghdad's 20th century architecture, including buildings commissioned by Saddam. Read More