‘Baghdad Eye’ to draw tourists


Iraq is considering building a giant observation wheel in Baghdad in an attempt to promote the city as a potential tourist destination.

The country was looking for companies to submit designs to build the giant wheel – dubbed ‘The Baghdad Eye’.

It will soar more than 650ft over the city and feature air-conditioned compartments that would each carry up to 30 passengers, Baghdad municipality spokesman Adel al Ardawi said.

Mr Ardawi declined to give an estimated construction cost or timeline, but was confident about the viability of the wheel.

“This wheel will be taller than the iconic 443-foot London Eye,” he said.

“We hope to attract a great number of customers who will be able to see the whole city and enjoy the restaurants and pools on ground below.”

Three possible locations in Baghdad have been selected for the ‘Eye’, but officials are waiting to see what proposals are submitted before picking one.

The London Eye is world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel and stands more than 400ft above the River Thames.

It took seven years to build and was completed in 2000 at a cost of more than £30m.

It is one of London’s premier tourism sites, attracting more than 27 million visitors since its launch.

But pulling visitors to Iraq will be a difficult task – suicide attacks and bombings are still regular occurrences and the Foreign Office advises against all travel to Baghdad.

“The security situation in Iraq remains highly dangerous with a continuing high threat of terrorism throughout the country,” the FCO advises.

But this has not stopped Iraq’s tourism board trying to pull in the visitors.

Last week the US military announced the board were seeking investors to develop a resort island for the Tigris River.

A statement said the project would include a six-star hotel, spa, an 18-hole golf course and a country club.