Exterior view of al-Faw
Interior image pre-war. Source unknown.
Interior image post-war. Source unknown.
Despite the cramped and filthy hole where Saddam was captured, he was the owner of many lavish and garish palaces. 8 presidential compounds have been listed by the UN, containing grandiose mansions with guest villas, huge office complexes, warehouses, garages, man-made lakes and waterfalls, gardens, marble rooms, and many other luxuries. Saddam's holdings included a thousand buildings spread out over 12 square miles (Cambridge, Mass is 6.4 square miles).
In a boat tour of Basra, along with water buffalo (COOL!) and farmers, we were able to boat past Saddam's Al-Faw palace, feeding into my sick curiosity of how he lived. One palace of 99. This palace, in particular, was inhabited by the British military upon their arrival to Basra. U.S. Commanders also inhabited the palace's 62 rooms and 29 bathrooms. The British, who had hold of the ancient port city, left the palace to Iraqi government officials.
In 2008, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki discussed turning this palace into the Basra Museum. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/01/iraq-museums-palace