Iraq (Arabic: ٱلْعِرَاق, al-ʿIrāq; Kurdish: عێراق Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq (Arabic: جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق About this soundJumhūriīyah al-ʿIrāq; Kurdish: کۆماری عێراق Komarî Êraq), is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital and largest city is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Assyrians, Yazidis, Shabakis, Armenians, Mandaeans, Circassians, Sabians and Kawliya. Around 99% of the country’s 38 million citizens are Muslims, with small minorities of Christians, Yarsans, Yezidis and Mandeans also present. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.
Baghdad (/ˈbæɡdæd, bəɡˈdæd/; Arabic: بَغْدَاد [baɣˈdaːd]) is the capital of Iraq and one of the largest cities in the Arab world, and compared to its large population it has a small area at just 673 square kilometers. Located along the Tigris, near the ruins of the Akkadian city of Babylon and the ancient Iranian capital of Ctesiphon, Baghdad was founded in the 8th century and became the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. Within a short time, Baghdad evolved into a significant cultural, commercial, and intellectual center of the Muslim world. This, in addition to housing several key academic institutions, including the House of Wisdom, as well as hosting a multiethnic and multireligious environment, garnered the city a worldwide reputation as the “Centre of Learning”.