The Grand Baghdad hotel is not in Baghdad. It’s not even, strictly, in Iraq—though that depends on who you ask. In fact, the hotel sits in downtown Sulaymaniyah, a city of 1.6 million people and one of the centers of Iraqi Kurdistan.
To visit the hotel today is to see it far from the splendor that its name would imply. Its corridors and rooms now provide shelter for Iraqi and Yazidis families that were fortunate enough to escape ISIS, but still struggle in their everyday life as refugees in the city.
Those who are able to work have difficult jobs: cigarette-sellers, shoe-shiners and street vendors. The refugees crowd the streets and alleys around the bazaar, like everyone else, trying to eke out a living. Meanwhile, the elders are left waiting in the small hotel rooms, watching the days go by. This is all they have left to call their home.
In this series of photos, Aram Karim tells the story of the refugees that live at the Grand Baghdad and Babosi hotel. In his pictures, he offers an intimate glimpse inside these people daily life and struggles.
Editors’ Note: Metrography is Iraq’s first photography agency. This story forms just one small part of Metrography’s collective project ”A Map of Displacement,” which aims to dive into the lives of displaced Iraqis.