Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced on October 4 that Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone would be open to the public for the first time in 12 years.
Many restrictions remain in place as the measure allows only limited access to the area.
Abadi presented the partial reopening of the International Zone of Baghdad as part of the reform drive he launched, which was prompted by popular discontent over government corruption and poor services.
"The opening of the Green Zone is one of the measures we promised the people and we are opening it now," Abadi was quoted as saying in a statement.
The 10-square-kilometer compound located on the west bank of the Tigris River was closed off after the 2003 U.S.-led occupation. It is now home to the country’s top political institutions and embassies.
Iraqis have frequently complained that their leaders live a sheltered existence in the safety of the Green Zone while they suffer from daily violence and poor services.
The zone has been a target for bombings and rockets over the years, despite the concrete walls surrounding it.