Ayse & Jan's Travelspot - Turkey Iran Tour 2002 - Holy shrines, mausoleums & cemeteries
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We visited a lot of shrines as well in Iran as in Turkey and we saw a lot of cemeteries too. Sometimes just a few gravestones near a mosque or church, then again large cemeteries in the middle of nowhere, next to the mainroad. The biggest cemetery we saw was in Ahlat, near Lake Van : thousands of well preserved and beautifully inscribed 12th century Seljuk tombstones, together with a breathtaking view over the mountains make this a really impressive place. There are also lots of 'k・bets' or 'gonbads' to be seen in and around Ahlat.
The Mevlana Mausoleum in Konya remains an inspiring place to visit. It is always an overwhelming experience to visit Mevlana's shrine and to just wander around and enjoy the mystical Sufi music.
Read more about mausoleums and shrines in Turkey.
Read more about mausoleums and shrines in Iran.
If you enjoy visiting shrines, then Iran is the place to be.
The Abu Looloo shrine is a fine example of the numerous shrines around Kashan : a beautifully decorated dome with turquoise tiles.
Inside the shrines you will find a 'Zarih' or burial chamber. The tomb itself is covered by something that looks like a large cage, mostly made out of steel and decorated with silver and gold. Sometimes it tends to get very crowded inside the 'Zarih' because every visitor will want to touch and kiss the cage to pay their respect.
One of the most overwhelming places in Iran is definitely the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza in Mashhad. The sacred premises are also know as Haram or Astan Quds Razavi. Imam Reza is the only one of the 12 imams buried in Iran, therefore his burial place is of such great importance to the Iranians. More then one million pilgrims from all over the world visit Mashhad, but also for many Iranians a visit to the city and its Holy Shrine is a must ! It is like a city inside a city, because the Shrine houses mosques, libraries, hospitals, museums, guesthouses,... and construction is still going on to make it even bigger and more impressive. Beneath the courtyards are cemeteries, said to be 12 storeys deep !

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