Living and Dying in Baghdad One Day in the World's Most Dangerous City

What does daily life look like in the Iraqi capital? What goes through people's minds when yet another bomb explodes, killing and maiming innocent people? SPIEGEL spent time with four Iraqis and describes a day in the world's most dangerous city through their eyes.

By , Hussam Ali, Ala Chalil Nassir and


The sun rises over Baghdad at 6:04 a.m. It immediately begins to blaze in a cloudless sky. There is no dawn. Baghdad, a dusty behemoth of a city, lies on a flat plain, a city of brownish streets along a greenish river, with the occasional pillar of smoke protruding into the sky.

It's Sunday, May 13 -- 1,496 days after the US military invaded the country. Another day begins for the 5 million residents of a city that was once the most advanced in the Arab world. Those days are long gone. Today Baghdad is a nightmare -- the world's most horrible city.

According to press reports, at least 35 people died in Baghdad on May 13, 2007, and dozens were injured. But no one will ever know exactly how many people have died since March 2003, when the war began. Baghdad is a city in which life lost its value long ago, a place where no one really knows how many murders, kidnappings and rapes the war has in fact brought to the city.

DER SPIEGEL

The information the world receives from Baghdad today has been reduced to simple numbers and images of horror. The Americans and British are looking for a way out of Iraq, and international conferences are underway at which Arab autocrats flesh out diplomatic solutions with representatives from the West and Iran. But how do ordinary people live in Baghdad? What keeps them from leaving this city?

A correspondent and two Iraqi employees of SPIEGEL traveled around Baghdad's streets on May 13. They accompanied a body collector, a doctor, a member of parliament and a souvenir peddler to experience what daily life is like for Iraqis. They relate what these people think, feel and experience -- and their fight for survival in the world's most dangerous city.

A Day in Baghdad - The Journey Begins: 6:00 a.m., Iskan >>

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