Iraq: Najaf – Wadi-al-Salaam Cemetery

Wadi-al-Salaam Cemetery is the world’s largest cemetery with over five million graves. The cemetery is next door to the Imam Ali Shrine (previous post). According to Shia beliefs, Abraham bought this plot of land and then Ali declares this to be part of heaven – hence the cemetery – packed with mini shrines, grave stones, cement blocks, and all sort of monuments. Unlike Sunni Islam that allows only a very simple gravestone, Shiites built mausoleums of all shapes and sizes, holding from one individual to dozens. The bodies have been buried here for over 1400 years and 50,000 new graves are added each year. Wadi-al-Salaam Cemetery is in the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list. And our driver/guide weee afraid of ghosts so we didn’t see much of the cemetery.