[Updated 24/11/2016] p. 317–27, After so many years in the doldrums and negative media attention, Basra city is beginning to live again. New bridges across the Shatt al Arab and a new highway are under construction. Some new smart hotels are now available in the city offering all the modern facilities for the modern traveller.
But for the Iraq tourist there is another reason to stay in Basra awhile longer. The Basra Antiquities Museum (open Sun–Thu 09.00–14.00; admission 5,000ID for Iraqis and US$20 for foreigners) opened on 27 September 2016 and heralds a new start for culture in the region and in Iraq generally. It is housed in one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces, situated on the banks of the Shatt al Arab. It is a modest start, with one gallery and with two more galleries to come, but one that will grow and provide training and collection facilities for a new generation of young Iraqis. Assisted by the British Museum and others, it will not want for extra expertise and help in the future.
Importantly, this complex of palace buildings, occupying such a notable position and long semi-derelict, has needed a purpose for the city; now it has one. The enormous number of ancient sites in the province have also long needed a local display point other than Baghdad.