EFEBy Carles Grau Sivera Baghdad

In the early years of the 20th century, well-known thinkers, artists and avid readers would flock to al-Mutanabbi Street, an open-air book market in the old quarter of Baghdad which has been ravaged by sectarian violence and the coronavirus pandemic.

Amar Hussien sits behind the counter of the al-Nahda bookstore, waiting for one of the few passersby to enter his shop selling thousands of books from across the world.

The bookstore, open since 1957, is a reflection of a street that Hussein describes as a "cultural center and meeting point for artists, intellectuals and poets," but is currently going through tough times.