The Shrine of Sayidda Zeinab is a beautiful Iranian-style mosque and shrine in southern Damascus, Syria. It attracts Shia Muslim pilgrims from Iran and around the world who care far less about its blue-tiled architecture than about its sacred shrine of Sayidda Zeinab, daughter of the Shia martyr Ali and granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad.
Many tourists to Damascus miss the Sayyida Zeinab Shrine, but it is well worth a visit as it is a beautiful building and the best insight into the emotion of Shia Islam outside of Karbala and Najaf in Iraq. It is a simple taxi ride away and non-Muslim visitors are welcome, especially in the outer courtyard.
The Shrine of Sayidda Zeinab is believed to house the remains of Lady Zeinab, the daughter of Imam Ali (the fourth Caliph). She was taken captive by the army of Yazid after the massacre of her brothers Hussein and Hassan at Karbala and Najaf. For Shia Muslims, this moment, when the family of Ali was betrayed, is the defining and most tragic moment of their history. Thus the atmosphere at Sayyida Zeinab is not one of quiet veneration, but one of passionate mourning with wailing, singing, crying, and chest beating.
The mosque dates from the 1990s, but was built on a pre-existing shrine.
The mosque is a bit difficult to find, as it is hidden behind layers of shops, markets and hotels geared towards Iranian pilgrims. Look for one of the towering blue minarets; or better yet, just follow the flood of black-robed pilgrims flowing towards the entrance.
The mosque consists of a large courtyard with the shrine in the middle. Architecturally, it has all the typical traits of an Iranian mosque: ornate decoration featuring blue tile, gold, and mirrors. The mausoleum is topped with a glistening golden dome.
The courtyard of the mosque is filled with men and women marching in circles, chanting in Farsi or Arabic, and beating their chests. Often someone will be videotaping, and there will be one man leading the chant. As they chant and beat their chests, tears stream down their cheeks as the pilgrims feel the painful tragedy that Zeinab endured, losing her brothers and being taken captive. It is as if they are attending the funeral of their own daughter, and that is exactly the way the Shia see it.
The mausoleum itself is divided into a section for men and one for women, and shoes are left at the door. The space is relatively small and always crowded. Only a thin wooden fence that divides the two sections, and the wailing and sobs pour over the fence from one side to another. The lamentation is not just on the women's side: men young and old sit around in circles beating their chests, crying and chanting. Some of the men throw themselves against the tomb, clinging on to the bars that surround it, showering it with kisses. Others kneel and pray, their heads pressed against a piece of rock taken from the ground at Karbala.
There is also a Sayyida Zeinab shrine in Cairo, Egypt.
mkamionka, happypoppeye, ribeiroantonio, Photo65Net, grigand, cemsultan, patshoo, bostankorkulugu, robgra, broglia, niphredil76, Ozaslan, TopGeo, MarcT, hispic, delkoo, mariandrea, tehanu_f, ocskaymarci, danos, doubay, AiresSantos, bantonbuju, luisafonso, carper, Benedict, kdialyna, raphaelhcm, SWEBackpacker has marked this note useful
Critiques | Translate
mkamionka (38385) 2008-07-04 10:13
Thanks for sharing it with us.
It is very interesting.
The picture is very good too.
I would probably cut away more of the black shade of the gate.
happypoppeye (4819) 2008-07-04 10:15
Great shot Deniz ...and yes, I am one who missed this. Too "bedazzled with the Umayyad Mosque...
Love the silhouette of the two women and perfect exposure/composition. One of my favorite countries.
grigand (20067) 2008-07-04 10:21
A great frame, the silhouette and reflect of women with perfect light of Mosque, I like a lot, bravo.
cemsultan (4726) 2008-07-04 10:21
Doğal çerçevesi altın rengi yansıması ve silüetleriyle muhteşem bir tanıtım karesi
Ayrıca netlik renkler kadraj ve kompozisyon da harika
Photo65Net (43120) 2008-07-04 10:21
Wow, superb one !
I like a lot your choice to expose correctly the architecture and sky... Great job,n congrats,
alibasarir (15580) 2008-07-04 10:21
merhaba deniz bey
suriyeden çok güzel ve etkileyici bir kare.arka plandaki nefis ışığı almış altın sarısı kubbe harika görünüyor.ön planda camiye giden kadınlarda çok güzel bir görüntü oluşturmuş.ayrıca renk tonları,netlik ve detaylar süper elinize sağlık.
patshoo (952) 2008-07-04 10:35
Impressive architecture,Strong framing and directional women in foreground in silhouette that all emphasize the great golden dome more shinning in blue sky background.Good work,TFS.
erel (11890) 2008-07-04 10:47
Kadraj. ters ışıktaki siluetler ve yansımaları çok şık. tebrikler . EREL
robgra (117) 2008-07-04 11:27
Reminded me one of more beautiful mosques in which I had the honour to spend in 1997r. The clay discs are my souvenir as well as the remembrance of unusual atmosphere what reigns there. Unfortunately no picture. Excellent fotka, composition, sharpness first class. SUPER!!!
I greet Robert.
ben4321 (9875) 2008-07-04 11:50
I like your framing here Deniz, although ideally you'd have waited a second or two so that the shadow/ reflection of the two silhouetted women was fully in-frame.
The silhouetted figures add a lot to this shot though - without them it would have been a lot less interesting. Good work.
broglia (3604) 2008-07-04 12:22
Hi Deniz, I kind of agree with Ben a little here because I love those mysterious, dark reflections on the shiny floor and wish there just a bit more of them. Still a very fine shot nonetheless.
Warm regards, Roberto
amazon (12112) 2008-07-04 12:59
bunu niye bu kadar beklettin ki?!
son derece dinamik,dogal cercevesi ile A+ bir paylasim,
veyselk (0) 2008-07-04 13:24
işte bu senin tarzın, bu kareyi nerde olsa senin olduğunu bilirim.
silüetler, doğal çerceve ve gayet net bir kare...
leo61 (0) 2008-07-04 13:28
A great shot of wonderful islamic architecture,well composed with these silhouettes in the foreground.Great POV,good timing and lightmanagement.
Ozaslan (226) 2008-07-04 14:37
nefis çerçeve, nefis pozlama ve nefis kompozisyon..
TopGeo (38216) 2008-07-04 14:46
A great shot of wonderful architecture
I can admire through the frame in the frame the interesting temple. The art and the architecture are appreciable. Gold in the background it gives,
MarcT (20964) 2008-07-04 15:38
Tu es vraiment le spécialiste des cadrages dynamiques. Beaucoup de volume et de profondeur dans ton image. Great depth, perfect composition, your a master in dynamic pictures!
hispic (9652) 2008-07-04 18:55
Merhaba Deniz Bey,
Wobderful depiction of the Golden Dome shining in the blue sky. It's an imaginative idea to use the archway for the frame. People in the silhouette are also great. It's a bit of a pity for such a good image that barrel distortion can be seen. Still definitely a successful shot.
Have a nice weekend, Hisashi
daddo (27022) 2008-07-04 21:34
Merhaba Deniz Bey. Superb colour of the dome and the tiles. They beckon the believers to come in and remember their past and to be moved. the silhouettes of the women give a strong spirit to the composition.Lovely and evocative reflections on the floor tiles. Selamlar. Klaudio.
mariandrea (979) 2008-07-04 23:31
Hi Deniz, good picture, nice contrast of deep colours with silhouettes and shadows. Thanxs for the notes, I will go to Damascus in October, so very good tip. Chau chau,
tehanu_f (6896) 2008-07-05 0:28
bence kusursuz, tebrikler, cok begendim.
burGu (4840) 2008-07-05 1:48
Korkut'a NG konusunda kesinlikle katiliyorum, kuse kagida basili halinin ne kadar dikkat cekici ve belgesel nitelik dolu olacagi senin de gozunde canlaniyor mu?
Cerceve bitirmis, siluetler bitirmis (tamam onlar siluetten baska birsey ama ne de olsa belgesel nitelikten bahsediyoruz)... Cok durgun olabilecekken gayet dinamik havali bir foto olmus. Kim bilir beklettigin daha ne guzellikler var..
delkoo (68) 2008-07-05 2:39
You've framed this beautiful mosque with great elegance: light, color are all excellent.
ocskaymarci (2690) 2008-07-05 3:43
You mixed architectural photography and your shadows here! :)
Excellent naturally framed building with great symmetry and superb colours. And the shadows in the foreground gives dynamism to the photo.
Have a nice weekend! Cheers,
ribeiroantonio (22637) 2008-07-05 6:21
Extraordinary picture. The two women really give the feeling of sacred and obedience to God. The light management is superb with the dark in the foreground and the beautiful blue and gold on the Shrine. The different shape of the arches is another good focal point in here. Congratulations, it is a very well done photo.
Finally, the note is fantastic with lots of info that most of us do not know anything about. I had a great pleasure reading it
bostankorkulugu (42452) 2008-07-05 17:54
çok profesyonel duruyor... NG sayfalarından alınma gibi... hani sanki Reza çekmiş falan... tebrix valla süpersin rigo mou...
yarın kaçta? nerede?...
Faros (12) 2008-07-05 21:55
Great frame , great colours.
parpali (2616) 2008-07-05 23:03
gercekten muhtesem gorunuyor..
danos (99828) 2008-07-06 3:22
very nice composition with a well frame shot that we can see this brilliant and colorful Sayidda Zeinab mosque.I like the sharp details and the clarity of the scene,as the silhouettes of the passing by women through the gate.The golden dome is really an eyes catcher element of the scene.Well done.
Have a nice Sunday,Danos
doubay (674) 2008-07-06 4:41
Do you consider yourself a Non-Muslim visitor?
The depicted building was built in the 1990s? Wow! It makes me very jealous when I compare it to the terrible architecture of the newer churches in Greece.
Nice and interesting shot. I find the foreground with the people a bit too dark though.
setenay (7706) 2008-07-06 5:58
Yarışmalık bir fotoğraf bu, karelerinin en güzelimi desem ne!Eline sağlık,tebrikler.
faubry (35447) 2008-07-06 18:28
Hello Deniz, wonderful presentation with this arche, silouettes add a lot here and the cherry on the cake is this architecture bulb, superb..
have a good evening
AiresSantos (56155) 2008-07-06 23:11
Lovely presentation of the Golden Dome with excellent colours and sharpness.
I like so much the silhouettes and the natural framed
TFS and have a nice week
PixelTerror (0) 2008-07-06 23:56
Syria isn't a country very often shown here for this reason I value seeing a picture from there this golden dome looks wonderful and the framing using the foregroung arches is top, the women silhouettes are a nice bonus too
Have a nice day JY
bantonbuju (51815) 2008-07-07 1:38
most charming take...
there is numbers of the elements about this photo that i love but the key thing imho is that shining floor, surprisingly resembling a wet pavement of some more humid places in the world than syria... tha shining floor makes s great contrasting background for the entering women...
i do really like this photo... think it's full of that muslim charm that i value so much...
(well, i must have my pass replaced in order to get to syria, with israeli visa in it i wouldn't be let in the country...)
luisafonso (862) 2008-07-07 2:04
This is travel photography at its best. I like your game of light and shadow here. The dark blacks make this picture. That and the deep blue sky surrounding the golden dome. Great one my friend.
anokutan (15097) 2008-07-07 6:20
Işığıyla ,gölgesiyle,modelleriyle,renkleriyle,netliğiyle enfes bir kare.Tebrikler.Türkçe not koymamanızı yadırgadım ama.Selamlar.
noborders (1010) 2008-07-07 9:03
I had thought that it was in Iran first, not only the architecture but also the hejâbs floating around the silhouettes... Beautiful colours and harmonies, I like it !
Best and hugs,
delnaja (2056) 2008-07-07 10:43
I like the silhouettes of the women, the darkness where their shadows are...
Good choice of the natural framing.
salvator (19110) 2008-07-08 3:03
Vallahi nefis. Kapkara kubbenin icindeki 3 tane harika siluet, arkada nefis renkleriyle cami, harika net bir gokyuzu. Netlik ve detaylar, kadraj nefis. Buna bir tek sey soylenebilir. Offfffff offff offfff offf ki ne offff. Bugun gorduklerimin arasinda (benimki dahil!!! hehehe), en guzeli.
Eline emegine saglik. Selamlar, sevgiler. Salvator.
efi (5303) 2008-07-08 5:17
national geography'e de örnek olabilecek bu son iki çekim için bravo bravo bravo.sevgiler..
carper (96) 2008-07-08 22:31
very beautiful shot here Deniz,
orginal pov, good light out the dark, fantastic silhouettes, good composition, fine photojob here, have a good day.
brevbrev14 (140) 2008-07-09 6:49
Hi Deniz, as usual very good image
i love the natural black frame and the game of silhouettes under the arch
the architecture in foregriund is simply wonderful
bravo as usual
totoamoto (1569) 2008-07-12 4:07
Superbes ombres chinoises.. Les couleurs sont sublimes..
La composition est top.
Benedict (7076) 2008-07-16 22:20
good weather and bright light i am told are the best friends of architectural fotography- those you got here, definitely. the dome come so alive in this perfect light!
and the way you composed this say a lot about you- your taste your you. mabrook!!
jemaflor (99099) 2008-07-18 4:05
Well taken with this architectural frame, nice golden colour and well also these dark silhouettes, good result.
kdialyna (3148) 2008-07-19 1:48
The blue against the gold and the light against the shadows.
Very artistic presentation from the architectonic detail of the mosque.
The silhouettes and the reflections offers a lot to the all composition.
Mediterranean (0) 2008-07-23 10:54
dogal çercevesi,gözalıcı kubbesi ve dinamik modelleriyle
harika bir kare...
tetixxx (2383) 2008-07-24 6:05
harika bir fotoğraf olmuş gerçekten..bakış açınız ve kadrajdaki insanlar güzellik katmış fotoğrafa..tebrikler..
sebinho342 (19317) 2008-08-22 7:02
Hi Deniz, this is superb, this picture is really excellent, the two shades on the right low part makes the picture in conjonction with this golden dome in background. At F3.5 all is sharp, this is really a great one
raphaelhcm (792) 2008-11-16 8:09
First, thanks a lot for your kind comment on my picture with very constructive reflexion...
After visiting your gallery, almost of your pics are professional ones, you really do a lots of "chef d'oeuvres".
The composition and the colors of this picture are amazing.
SWEBackpacker (235) 2008-11-23 4:31
This is a wonderful silhouette photo with a very good composition. The framing is excellent maybe I would have tried to darken it even more to get rid of the reflections.
Best regards from
taypejka (1689) 2013-09-06 7:25
Very nice composition of the mosque and believers. You used an arch as a natural frame for your photo what I often do as well. Nice vivid colours, gold against blue and dark.I do hope that all the historical and religious sites will survive the civil war in Syria and once I could see them with my own eyes.
Have a good weekend Deniz!
best regards from Tbilisi
P.S. I will send you email regarding my visit to Istanbul next week. I've contacted already Malgorzata (emka).
- Copyright: Deniz Taskin (rigoletto) (34279)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2008-05-03
- Categories: Daily Life, Ceremony, Architecture
- Camera: Canon EOS 400D, Canon 18-55 mm
- Exposure: f/3.5, 1/1600 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Mosques around the world (I) (Arab countries) [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2008-07-04 10:04
- Favorites: 1 [view]