Photographer's Note

The 14th Century Amir Chakhmaq Complex is sometimes wrongly referred to as a mosque. It consists of a mosque, true, but also of a public bath, a caravansary (inn), one mausoleum and bazaar...a strange combination, you might think. Being one of the most recognizable structures in Iran, it is also conveniently located in he vicinity of the old town of Yazd, and if you climb to its third storey you'll have a fantastic view of not only thr Old Town itself, but all of Yazd and the desert that surrounds it.
The wooden leaf-shaped structure which you can see on the right is called Nakhl, and is known as the coffin of the third Imam, and used yearly on the day of Ashura when it is ornamented with swords, daggers and a variety of other objects (e.g. mirrors, handkerchiefs and carried by mourners who will also beat their chests during the procession. Ashura is an important festival for Shia Muslims as it commemorates the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala in the year 61 AH (AD 680), and is a day for mourning-thus the importance of the Nakhl in the ceremony.

Ashura is also commemorated by Muslims as the traditional date on which Noah's ark came to rest, the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) was born and the Ka'ba was built in Mecca. Ashura corresponds to the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur, which was held by the Jews of Medina.

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Additional Photos by Aleksandra Borzecka (starbug) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 501 W: 4 N: 1033] (6924)
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