Armenia to have the world’s largest Yazidi temple

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A huge Yazidi temple is under construction in a small Armenian village, intended as a symbol of resilience for a persecuted religious tradition. The temple is being built in Aknalich, about 35km from Yerevan, the Armenian capital. Seven domes will surround a central arched roof, crowned with a gold-plated sun. At 25m high, it will be built from Armenian granite and Iranian marble and house a 200 sq. m prayer hall.

Named Quba Mere Diwane, this will be the largest Yazidi temple in the world, although there are relatively few contenders. The project is being funded by Mirza Sloian, a Yazidi businessman based in Moscow, according to EurasiaNet, and is scheduled to be completed next year.

“This temple is important for us because our community is facing extinction. Our community is displaced around the world, and we need temples in each place for our children to keep their culture and identity,” said Ahmed Burjus of the U.K. branch of Yazda, a global Yazidi organisation.

The complex in Aknalich is not intended to overshadow Lalish, the most holy Yazidi temple, about 36 miles north of Mosul in northern Iraq. Yazidis, who call themselves “a people of 72 genocides”, are the largest minority group in Armenia, with a population of about 35,000, although many have left or are leaving to find work elsewhere, particularly in Russia. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2016

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