One of Iraq's oldest remnants of the Abbasid Caliphate (750-1250) is the Ashiq Castle built under the command of Caliph al Mu'tamid, and is a perfect example of Abbasid architectural style. The castle was built about 880. The castle is located in the Salah Al Deen province about 16 kilometers from Bagdhad close to Sammara. Caliph al Mu'tamid built the castle to escape the growing crisis and danger in Baghdad that was undermining the Abbasid elite. However, this did not help much against a weakening Abbasid empire ravaged by border conflicts, internal resistance and economic problems. The castle was regularly besieged by traveling nomads, and after Al-Mu'tamid's death, the Abbasid Calpihs and their courts never returned to Sammara. However, in the years that followed, Sammara flourished as a pilgrimage site for the tombs of the Muslim saints Imam al Jawad and Imam Al Hadi. Today you can view the castle from a distance.
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