Baghdad’s beautiful new airport road

Iraq can’t currently boast that it is the world’s most popular tourist destination, primarily because it has a few local security matters which need to be resolved before tourists start returning in droves, and also because fully armoured humvees do not make for the most comfortable tourist coaches.

True, Iraq, may be attracting more tourists than, say, Somalia, but as a tourist icon it doesn’t quite match the pulling power of the Eiffel Tower.

That fact aside, the Iraqi Government has announced plans to upgrade the road from the Baghdad International Airport, and they aren’t just talking about fixing those parts that have been ripped to bits by bombs, they are talking about making the, in their words, “world’s most beautiful road”.

Now, it’s no exaggeration to note that the Baghdad airport road has a bit of a chequered recent history.    The pothole-littered highway was lined on both sides with blast walls, with burning cars a frequent sight.  American forces referred to is as RPG Alley, which stands for Rocket Propelled Grenade Alley, hardly a name to incite confidence in a newly-arrived visitor.

The Government now plans to spend US$200 million to transform the road into a thing of immense beauty, and the reason is that Iraq is hosting the Arab League summit next year.

Still, even if they do manage to make a nice road out of a regular terrorist target, I’m not convinced that it would be the most beautiful road in the world.

If you would like to nominate the most beautiful road that you have ever seen, send me a comment to nominate it – I’m going to start by nominating the Great Ocean Road in southern Victoria, Australia, which is an absolutely stunning drive.

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