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stone and dust

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

Author

Rachelle M

Iconic Statue: The Kiss of Death

In many modern cemeteries the spectre of death is all but erased from our visual field. Unlike older cemeteries, it is rare to see depictions of death, whether it be skull and crossbones, skeletons, and other macabre symbols. Yet one of the most spectacular Continue reading “Iconic Statue: The Kiss of Death”

Site 209: Halabja Cemetery

Following our visit to the Halabja Memorial, we made our way across town to the cemetery where many of the victims of the chemical attack are buried. The first thing we noticed was the sign that forbids any members of Saddam Hussein’s party from entering Continue reading “Site 209: Halabja Cemetery”

Site 208: Iraq’s Halabja Memorial

March 16, 1988. Bloody Friday. That was the day the worst chemical attack against a civilian population was carried out. The Iran-Iraq War was drawing to an end, but the Al-Anfal campaign by the Iraqi Government to eradicate the Kurds was still ongoing. Two days after the town Continue reading “Site 208: Iraq’s Halabja Memorial”

Site 207: Sulaymaniyah’s Red Prison

If Iraqi Kurdistan has a well-known site, besides Erbil Citadel, it is Sulaymaniyah’s Amna Suraka Prison, aka the Red Prison. It’s so named because of the colour of the bricks that the buildings were constructed of. From 1986 until 1991, when the prison was overtaken, Continue reading “Site 207: Sulaymaniyah’s Red Prison”

Site 206: Iraq’s Rabban Hormizd Monastery

Travelling through the ‘Stans was like walking through a living history book, but going to Iraqi Kurdistan meant going back in time further still. In terms of religions, there were  Zoroastrians, Yadzidis, Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and even early on in my trip, Continue reading “Site 206: Iraq’s Rabban Hormizd Monastery”

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”

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