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stone and dust

travel, photography and musings on cemeteries, memorials, and other dark sites

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Rachelle M

Site 205: Dushanbe’s Russian Cemetery

After several weeks of travelling the ‘Stans with groups of various sizes, on our last full day in Tajikistan I decided to take the afternoon off from touring and went for a walk to explore the city that, surprise, surprise, led me to a very large Russian cemetery Continue reading “Site 205: Dushanbe’s Russian Cemetery”

Site 204: The Mausoleum of St. Daniel

Today we visited one of the lesser visited sites in Samarkand, the tomb of the prophet Daniel. Daniel is revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike. Apparently though, there is more than one resting place for Daniel – one of the members of my group Continue reading “Site 204: The Mausoleum of St. Daniel”

Site 203: Samarkand’s Gūr-i Amīr Mausoleum

When travelling through Central Asia, the one figure that comes up again and again is Amir Timur, known as Tamerlane (“Timur the Lame”) who was the first ruler of the Timurid Dynasty. Born in 1336 (or 1320), he led many military campaigns Continue reading “Site 203: Samarkand’s Gūr-i Amīr Mausoleum”

Site 202: Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis

Shah-i-Zinda, which translates as “(the Tomb of) the Living King” is one of the most stunning memorial complexes I have ever seen. Originally built to house the tomb of one of Muhammed’s cousins, it is also one the longest continually constructed building Continue reading “Site 202: Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis”

Site 201: Bukhara’s Chor-Bakr Necropolis

One thing I noticed when planning my trip to the ‘Stans was that a large number of sites were in fact mausoleums or memorials. The Chor-Bakr Necropolis was definitely the first on this trip that felt monumental in nature. This complex was built over the burial Continue reading “Site 201: Bukhara’s Chor-Bakr Necropolis”

Site 200: Bukhara’s Samanid Mausoleum

We started our first full day in Bukhara at the Samanid Mausoleum. It’s located in a park just outside the historic centre and although we were there fairly early in the day, the heat was already oppressive and I was glad when we were finally able to enter Continue reading “Site 200: Bukhara’s Samanid Mausoleum”

Site 199: Khiva’s Pahlavan Mahmud Mausoleum

Khiva is one of the jewels of Uzbekistan, a small city that once was part of the Silk Road. Legend has it that it was founded when Shem, the son of Noah, discovered a well here. The older part of town (Itchan-Kala) is a lovely place to explore and get a sense of what Continue reading “Site 199: Khiva’s Pahlavan Mahmud Mausoleum”

Site 198: Merv’s Tombs and Mausoleums

Although it is not much more than dusty ruins now, the city of Merv has had its share of prosperity and destruction over the centuries. People had first settled in this area over 4000 years ago. It was once (maybe) visited by Alexander the Great (and named after him Continue reading “Site 198: Merv’s Tombs and Mausoleums”

Site 197: Baku’s Alley of Honor

Not far from Baku’s Martyr’s Lane is another cemetery known as the Alley of Honor. This cemetery is not for regular people, rather it is for the famous, important, and illustrious Azerbaijani people, including former Presidents, politicians, musicians, actors, singers, Continue reading “Site 197: Baku’s Alley of Honor”

Site 196: Baku’s Martyrs’ Alley

One of the reasons I like visiting cemeteries and other memorials is that I learn some history that passed me by, either during my own lifetime (or often before it). I was still in high school when the Soviet Union broke up, but was really only aware of the larger Continue reading “Site 196: Baku’s Martyrs’ Alley”

Site 195: Kyrgyzstan’s Burana Tower

Kyrgyzstan is one of the real highlights of Central Asia. I had heard from a few people who visited how beautiful the landscapes were, and they weren’t wrong. The mountains, valleys, lakes, and animals (yaks, cows, horses, sheep, and eagles) all made for some Continue reading “Site 195: Kyrgyzstan’s Burana Tower”

Site 194: Almaty’s Memorials

Almaty is hardly known as a tourist destination, and that’s how I like it. Even though it lies at the far eastern edge of Central Asia, it has a very European feel to it, as evidenced by its grand leafy boulevards, impressive buildings, and the many monuments Continue reading “Site 194: Almaty’s Memorials”

Iconic Statue: The Angel of Grief

A female angel draped over a monument in a moment of overwhelming grief. This seems to be common motif in many a cemetery around the world, yet every version of this statue originates with the statue created by the sculptor William Story for his wife Continue reading “Iconic Statue: The Angel of Grief”

Iconic Statue: The Monteverde Angel

As someone who has visited her fair share of cemeteries, several facts become apparent after a while. The first is that most statues in cemeteries tend to be copies. Within a particular cemetery you may see one or ten or even fifty copies (or near copies) of the same statue. Continue reading “Iconic Statue: The Monteverde Angel”

Site 193: Copenhagen’s Assistens Cemetery

One thing that’s true of the grand cemeteries of Europe is that they often contain the graves of famous artists, writers, musicians, philosophers, politicians, and more. Assistens Cemetery is no different. Although this cemetery first started as a burial Continue reading “Site 193: Copenhagen’s Assistens Cemetery”

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