It was meant to compete with the Taj Mahal in grandeur, but former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's monumental Al-Rahman Mosque project was never completed.
Instead, the half-finished edifice of grey concrete stands in the heart of Baghdad as testimony to the sectarian and political strife that has shaped much of Iraq's modern history.
The aim was for the mosque, with a capacity for 15,000 worshippers, to be one of the largest in the Middle East.
Launched in the 1990s in the midst of a crippling Western embargo over Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, the construction of the mosque was designed to be a snub to Washington.
But the dictator's dreams of grandeur -- along with them his iron-fisted rule -- would come crumbling down with the 2003 US-led invasion.
Today, a vast hole gapes at the sky from where an 84-metre-tall (280-foot), gold-adorned ceramic dome was supposed to cover the central prayer hall.
Around it, eight secondary domes 28 metres high, each flanked by eight smaller domes, stand in a suspended state of near completion.
Several cranes are frozen in time above the edifice, which towers over the upscale Mansur district of the capital.
"Unfortunately, we've neglected the country's heritage," architect and university professor Mohamed Qassem Abdel Ghaffour told AFP.
"These projects belong to all Iraqis, we should make use of this heritage, and turn them into cultural and touristic sites," he added.
"All of this is Iraq's money and the state must profit from it."
Although it was initially built as a Sunni mosque, it was taken over by Shiite clerics after the fall of Saddam.
Today, it is a symbol of division between Shiites, now the dominant political force in Baghdad after decades of marginalisation in the Shiite-majority Arab state.
"After the fall of the old regime, the mosque fell under the control of the Islamic Virtue Party," a senior government official who asked to remain anonymous told AFP.
"The party was never able to complete construction, because the costs are huge."