Work initiated on a project to rehabilitate and develop the entrance to Basra’s district of Qarna at a total cost of 941 million Iraqi dinars, the head of the reconstruction unit in northern Basra said on Sunday.
The estimated completion period of the project is five months, Hikmat Abdelhay told Aswat al-Iraq, adding that it is being carried out by a local company.
Basra, 590 km (340 miles) south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, has an estimated metropolitan population of 2,300,000 in 2008.
Basra, a Shiite province with 20% of the population are Sunnis, is the cradle of the first civilization of Sumer. It has the seven main Iraqi ports. The first built in Islam 14 A.H. (After Hegira), the city played an important role in early Islamic history.
The area surrounding Basra has substantial petroleum resources and many oil wells. The city’s oil refinery has a production capacity of about 140,000 barrels per day (bpd).
The only Iraqi outlet to the sea, Basra is in a fertile agricultural region, with major products including rice, maize corn, barley, pearl millet, wheat and dates as well as livestock.
A network of canals flowed through the city, giving it the nickname “The Venice of the Middle East” at least at high tide.
The only Iraqi outlet to the sea, Basra has the commercial ports of Iraq.
(Voices of Iraq)