Accessibility links

Saddam's Former Palace Becomes Eid Hot Spot

Thousands of visitors streamed into the late Saddam Hussein's palace-turned-tourist site during the Muslim holy day of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, according to RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq.

Local authorities told Radio Free Iraq that the number of tourists to the site, which the government has operated as a tourist attraction since 2008, had broken previous records.

Zayd Hamid, visiting Babylon from Baghdad, told Radio Free Iraq that he was "pushed by curiosity" to see the four-story palace, which covers an area equivalent to five football fields and features archways engraved with presidential initials "SdH."

Hamid suggested that many of Saddam's former properties should be turned into tourist sites.

Another visitor, Um Hawra'a, told Radio Free Iraq that she also visited out of curiosity but "wouldn't dream of walking inside this place at the time of his reign."

Saddam constructed an artificial hill so his palace would overlook the Euphrates River near old Babylon.

After he was toppled by U.S.-led forces in 2003, U.S. forces captured the building, which they nicknamed "Camp Iron Horse," and used it as a base before turning it over to the Iraqis in 2006.

-- Maysoon Abo al-Hab and Kristin Deasy

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at