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Several times we sat for over 30 minutes waiting for a higher up to give permission for us to pass through, which put us and our escorts in unwarranted danger. Local police refuse to accept any responsibility for decisions and always want an officer to rule on our passage. The town has suffered for supporting Saddam and is very poorly maintained.
As there has been no fighting recently, this was a surprise. At the Samarra Minaret and Mosque the situation worsened when the custodian initially refused to let us in. He argued that because renovations were taking place it was too dangerous, so G gave a counter argument about how we were all archaeological experts and we knew how to be careful.
We gave assurances that we would not photograph any of the workers and our minder then managed to talk him into allowing us through the perimeter gate. The custodian then refused to allow us to walk towards the minaret, so G went tactically ballistic. I only managed to climb half way up the minaret because it was well over degrees and the narrow path is very steep, with no outside barrier. My partner and I sat mid-way in the shade and waited for the others to come down, all sweaty and overheated.
We were unable to get to see much of the mosque because of the renovation work but the minaret is a justified Wonder of the World. This was once used as a police barracks and is now in a dreadful state. Some of the original stucco walls have been deliberately smashed and the walls have been daubed with graffiti. Some just waived us through and others were more rigorous. If something later goes wrong I suppose they fear they could be blamed. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account.
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