21 Jul 2014 14:06
Al-Mutanabi Street has been the literary heart of Baghdad for centuries. After ISIS took over swathes of northern Iraq, the street has seen a severe decline in business. Al-Mutanabi was once a meeting place for poets, writers, intellectuals and readers. The surge of buyers on Fridays allowed the booksellers to work only one day per week, but this old tradition has almost disappeared and book sales are down 90%. The volatile state of the region means that people no longer spend money on items that are not essential for survival, and books fall under this criteria.