The beautiful Madrasah (al-Madrasah al-Mustansiriya) on the Tigris in central Baghdad looks like it has miraculously escaped all the madness and chaos around it and still is the serene quiet space it always was.
It is still there, and it looks like nothing has touched it.
It’s my favourite quiet space in Baghdad… An awesome building. Simple and modest from the outside but once you’re in the main court it will spin your head with all the beautiful geometric patterns on every wall.
But instead of the dizzyingly colourful patterns you might see in the beautiful mosques of, say, Isfahan. This building is monochrome. It’s all done in brick, all the colour of dust. If you want to zone out nothing will distract you and if you want to get lost in intricacies you just move closer to one of the walls and start following lines on walls.
And magically, it is all still there. And just like before once you go through the door all the hustle and bustle of the market just outside is gone and all is quiet.
I was greeted by two uniformed men on the door this time. I was worried that they might not allow me to take photos. Last time I was here I wasn’t even allowed to go in. But no, one of the guards actually asked me why wasn’t I taking pictures.. and do I want to go upstairs and see the upper rooms? And then he left me and went back to his friend. I spent an hour there, and just like before it was as if the Madrasah is mine alone.