Yazidi temples

For many years the Yazidis of the Soviet Union had a false idea that there was only one temple Yazidi, the temple of Lalesh. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening of the borders, the Yazidis realized that the historical territories of the Yazidis have dozens of temples and shrines, artifacts that constitute the spiritual heritage of the Yazidi soul. .

The architecture of the tops of the domes of the Yazidi temples have a singular aspect. There are two types of vertices:

  • The crescent moon, which already existed in ancient times. This summit shape is predominant in Shengal
  • The hand, which is common among the Yazidis of Shekhan of Bashiqah and Bahzan. Ribbons of different colors are placed there annually, symbolizing sacrifice.

The editorial staff of ÊzîdîPress has compiled a list of 10 known Yazidi temples. Unfortunately, some of them were destroyed by ISIS terrorists. But we hope that after the liberation of the Yazidi territories, these Yazidi temples will be rebuilt.

1. The main sanctuary of the Yazidis, the temple of “Lalesh Nourani” which can be translated as “Saint Lalesh”. It is not far from Shekhan, in the North-West of Iraq.

Yazidi temples

The exact date of construction of the temple is unknown, however according to scholars Lalesh already existed in pre-Christian times. The local population practiced a sun worship there. Later it was inhabited by Nestorian monks. In the 12th century, the local population, having become faithful to the teachings of Shihadi, recovered the temple.

The temple is located in a valley, which according to Yazidi sacred texts, once housed the Garden of Paradise. On the main building of the temple there are three domes. The largest honors Shihadi, the second in size honors Shehasan and the third commemorates Shex Moussa Anzali. In addition in the valley there are three other towers with the same conical domes dedicated to Sheh Mushallah, to Sheshams and on the third is above the source of sacred water “Kanyia Spi”. Under the temple there are two sacred water sources, the “Kanyia Spi” and the “Kanyia Zemzem”.

Lalesh is a place of pilgrimage ("Hajj") for all Yazidis in the world. Between October 6 and 13, Yazidis from all over the world go there. In the valley there are many sacred places which correspond to the places where the Yazidi saints lived. Today they are sacred places for the Yazidis. Not far from Lalesh, in the Shekhan, there is the residence of the Yezidi clergy composed of Mir Taxsin Beg and Axtiar Margué Babé Shex.

On the domes of the temple of Lalesh there are two metal spheres and hand shapes, which symbolizes the hand of the Lord. On the feast day of Jamayia Shihadi, fabrics of different colors are put on it, which symbolizes sacrifice.

2.   The Mahmarashan sanctuary in Makloub (Northern Iraq)


The sanctuary was founded around the 13th century. In the XX century part of the temple collapsed and was restored only in 2011. Mahmarashan is one of the first companions of Shixadi, who until his death was faithful to his spiritual guide. The dome of the temple has a classic Yezidi architectural style. There is also a lion statue, which symbolizes courage and divine power. Mahmarashan is often referred to as "Sher" (Lion) of Mahmarashan. The temple is located in northern Iraq, at the foot of Mount Makloub, a mountain that Yazidis revere, since Yazidi saints lived there.

3.   The Shex Mand Temple in Ain-Sifni (Shekhan, Northern Iraq)


The date of the foundation remains unknown. The temple was built in honor of the Yazidi saint Shex Mand Farxa, who is the Lord of snakes, which symbolizes in different cultures, including Christianity, wisdom. The architecture differs from other Yazidi temples, has a square shape and has a flat roof, without domes. At the entrance there is a snake statue.

4. The Pir Boub Temple in Bahzan (Bahzan, Northern Iraq)


The date of its foundation is unknown. The temple was erected in honor of the Yazidi saint Pir Boub Bahzani, one of Shihadi's companions. According to legend, Shihadi sent Pir Boub to Bahzan for the preaching of the true way. The architecture has a classic style of Yazidi temples, since the dome of the temple has a conical shape. The temple was restored at the end of the 20th century. The shrine had a library and a religious school for children. After being captured by ISIS jihadists, the temple was blown up.

5. Shexubakir Temple (Bahzan, Northern Iraq)


The date of its foundation is unknown. Erected next to the cave in the village of Bahzan in honor of the Yazidi saint Shexubakir, one of Shixadi's devotees. He was a preacher of knowledge of the mystical way. Shehubakir led an ascetic life and was greatly admired by Yazidis. The temple is made in the traditional style of Yazidi architecture: it has a conical shaped dome. It was restored at the end of the 20th century. The temple is set in a beautiful garden of mulberry and olive trees. After Bahzan was captured by IS terrorists in August 2014, the temple was destroyed.

6. Shex Ale Shams Temple (Shekhan, Northern Iraq)


The founding date of the temple remains unknown. It was erected in honor of the Yazidi saint Shex Ale Shams, one of the sons of Sheshamas. The architecture respects the classic Yezidi style. The dome of the temple has a conical shape. It sits in the middle of a Yazidi cemetery on a hill.

7. The Shrine of Sultan Ezid “Kuba Seltan Ezid” (Tbilisi, Georgia)


The foundation stone of the temple was laid in October 2012 by the senior religious dignitaries of Lalish, and the construction began in 2013. The inauguration of the temple took place on June 16, 2015 in the presence of representatives of the high clergy of Lalish, Georgian government and religious leaders of different faiths. The temple was built in the classical Yezidi style. The dome of the temple was also built in a traditional style: two spheres and a palm.

According to the decision of the Spiritual Council of Yazidis in Georgia, every year, the Sunday before the Day of the Dead “Roja Mazal”, will mark the feast of “Tawaf Ezid. In the temple of Tbilisi there is the "Yezidi Research Center" and a cultural center, "House of Yazidis of Georgia". The courtyard of the temple is decorated with a garden of various species of rare plants.

8. “Ziarata Ezdyia” sanctuary (Aknalitch, Armenia)


This is the first temple built on the space of the former USSR in 2012. The place is decorated with a beautiful garden, and in front of the courtyard there is an alley with monuments dedicated to the heroes of the Yazidis. The beauty of the white stone with which the temple was covered makes the building unique. Inside the temple there is a meeting hall. The shrine's dome resembles the domes of Yazidi temples in Iraq. In 2015, it was decided to build another sanctuary next to Ziarata Ezdyia “Kouba meré divané”. The first stone of the temple was laid in September 2015. Each year the opening of the temple is celebrated on September 29.

9. Sharfadine Temple in Shengal (Shengal, Northern Iraq)


The exact date of the foundation of the temple remains unknown. It was erected in honor of the Yazidi spiritual leader Sharfadine, who symbolizes the Yazidi religion and is considered a Messiah who will return to Earth at the end of the world. The temple is located in the northern part of the Shengal Mountains.
Throughout the centuries, Sharfadine was an example of Yazidi soul resistance. When ISIS terrorists entered Shengal, the Yazidi resistance began to organize in this temple.

10. The sanctuary of Hadji Ali in Baadr (northern Iraq)


The sanctuary was founded around the 14th century. It was destroyed by Kurdish begs, then restored. After some time, the temple was again destroyed and rebuilt only at the beginning of the XX century. Hadji Ali received Shihadi's teachings for 40 days at his home in Baadr. He later became one of his devotees. The dome of the temple is made in the classical Yezidi architectural style, but it has a number of special features: there are two columns in front of the entrance door, and inside, on the walls there is a representation of 'a peacock.