Wadi-us-Salaam

مقبرة وادي السلام

( Wadi-us-Salaam )

Wadi-al-Salaam (Arabic: وادي السلام, romanized: Wādī al-Salām, lit. 'Valley of Peace') is an Islamic cemetery, located in the Shia holy city of Najaf, Iraq. It is the largest cemetery in the world. The cemetery covers 1,485.5 acres (601.16 ha; 6.01 km2; 2.32 sq mi) and contains more than 6 million bodies. It also attracts millions of pilgrims annually.

The cemetery is located near the shrine of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the first Shia Imam, as well as the fourth Sunni Caliph. Thus, many Shi'ites in Iraq request that they be buried in this cemetery. As a result of improved transportation methods, Shi'ites from across the globe are (or seek to be) buried in the cemetery. However, burial at the cemetery "means being placed in one of the cemetery's many catacombs." According to an undertaker at the cemetery, each crypt can hold up to 50 ...Read more

Wadi-al-Salaam (Arabic: وادي السلام, romanized: Wādī al-Salām, lit. 'Valley of Peace') is an Islamic cemetery, located in the Shia holy city of Najaf, Iraq. It is the largest cemetery in the world. The cemetery covers 1,485.5 acres (601.16 ha; 6.01 km2; 2.32 sq mi) and contains more than 6 million bodies. It also attracts millions of pilgrims annually.

The cemetery is located near the shrine of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the first Shia Imam, as well as the fourth Sunni Caliph. Thus, many Shi'ites in Iraq request that they be buried in this cemetery. As a result of improved transportation methods, Shi'ites from across the globe are (or seek to be) buried in the cemetery. However, burial at the cemetery "means being placed in one of the cemetery's many catacombs." According to an undertaker at the cemetery, each crypt can hold up to 50 bodies. The burial plots are controlled by Marja'.

Daily burials have been on going for over 1,400 years and the site is on the Tentative List of UNESCO's World Heritage sites.[1] Burials in Najaf have been documented as early as the Parthian and Sassanid eras and ancient Mesopotamian cities often had similar cemeteries, where there was an accumulation of tombs.[2]

It is estimated that during the Iraq War about 200 to 250 corpses were buried there daily; however, in 2010 this number had decreased to less than 100.[3] Approximately 50,000 new bodies are interred in the cemetery annually from across the globe.[4] This figure is an increase on the approximately 20,000 bodies, primarily from Iran, that used to be interred annually in the early 20th century.[5] Most Iraqi and many Iranian Shi'ites have a relative buried in the cemetery.[6]

As of 2014—coinciding with conflict against ISIL—it has been reported that burial plots are running out, resulting in many being stolen, illegally resold or improvised.[7] According to one gravedigger: "I've never had it so busy. Not even after 2003 or 2006 [the height of Iraq's civil war]."[8]

^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Wadi Al-Salam Cemetery in Najaf". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on 2018-02-10. Retrieved 2022-06-27. ^ Yasser Tabbaa; Sabrina Mervin (28 July 2014). Najaf, the Gate of wisdom. UNESCO. p. 162. ISBN 9789231000287. Such burial sites are quite common in ancient Mesopotamian cities, where the accumulation of tombs has created mounds on the outskirts of these early settlements ^ "Najaf cemetery witness to Iraq's tragic history - USATODAY.com". usatoday30.usatoday.com. Archived from the original on 2014-11-30. Retrieved 2022-06-27. ^ "Wadi al-Salam: The world's largest cemetery". Al Jazeera. 7 May 2019. Archived from the original on 10 July 2020. Retrieved 30 July 2020. ^ Yasser Tabbaa; Sabrina Mervin (28 July 2014). Najaf, the Gate of wisdom. UNESCO. p. 163. ISBN 9789231000287. ^ Fair, C. Christine; Ganguly, Sumit, eds. (27 Aug 2008). Treading on Hallowed Ground:Counterinsurgency Operations in Sacred Spaces. Oxford University Press. p. 145. ISBN 9780199711895. ^ UNESCOPRESS (19 November 2014). "A new UNESCO publication pays tribute to Iraqi cultural heritage". Archived from the original on 24 April 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2015. ^ "Islamic State: The pushback". The Economist. 21 Mar 2015. Archived from the original on 16 April 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
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