Lalish (Kurdish: لالش, romanized: Laliş,[2][3] also known as Lalişa Nûranî) is a mountain valley[4] and temple[5] in Shekhan, Duhok Governorate in Iraq. It is the holiest temple of the Yazidis. It is the location of the tomb of the Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir, a central figure of the Yazidi faith.[6]

Lalişa Nûranî
Sacred place
Conical roofs over the tomb of Şêx Adî in Lalish
Conical roofs over the tomb of Şêx Adî in Lalish
Lalish is located in Iraq
Location in Kurdistan, Iraq
Coordinates: 36°46′17.03″N 43°18′12.04″E / 36.7713972°N 43.3033444°E / 36.7713972; 43.3033444Coordinates: 36°46′17.03″N 43°18′12.04″E / 36.7713972°N 43.3033444°E / 36.7713972; 43.3033444
Country Iraq
DistrictShekhan District
De facto control Kurdistan Region
as part of Dohuk Governorate[1]

The temple is above the town of Shekhan, which had the second largest population of Yazidi prior to the persecution of Yazidis by ISIL.[7] The temple is about sixty kilometers north of Mosul and 14 kilometers west from the village Ayn Sifna. The temple is built at about 1,000 meters above sea level and situated among three mountains, Hizrat in the west, Misat in the south and Arafat in the north.[8]

At least once in their lifetimes, Yazidis are expected to make a six-day pilgrimage to Lalish to visit the tomb of Şêx Adî and other sacred places.[6] These other sacred places are shrines dedicated to other holy beings. There are two sacred springs called Zamzam and the Kaniya Spî (White Spring).[9] Below Sheikh Adi's sanctuary, which also includes the tomb of Sheikh Hesen is situated a cave.[9]

Lalish is also the location of pirrā selāt (Ṣerāṭ Bridge) and a mountain called Mt. ʿErefāt which has sites significant in other faiths.[8] Yazidis living in the region are also expected to make a yearly pilgrimage to attend the autumn seven-day Feast of the Assembly,[10] which is celebrated between 6th and 13th of October.

It has been located in the Shekhan District[11] since 1991.[12]


Pilgrims and worshippers at the shrine of Xatûna Fexra in Lalish, with the Micewir of the shrine, Sheikh Mirza (second from left), mid-2019.

Lalish Temple dates back about 4000 years.[13][14]

In the early 12th century, Adi ibn Mosāfer moved to Lalish. Adi died in 1162 and was buried. During a major battle against the Yazidi in 1415, the tomb of Adi was razed.[10]

The Lalish valley was annexed in 1892 by the surrounding Muslim tribes under the leadership of Ottomans, the mausoleum of Yezidi saints were looted and damaged and the Lalish Temple was converted into a Quranic school. The occupation of the temple eventually led to a fierce and widespread rebellion by Yezidis of Shekhan and Shingal against the Ottomans and the neighbouring Muslim Kurdish tribes. It was not until 1904 that the Ezidis, under the leadership of Mîr Alî Beg, succeeded in forcibly recovering their temple and driving out the Muslims.[15][16][17]

Beginning on 3 August 2014, Yazidi refugees fled from Sinjar and took shelter in the temple after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant placed Sinjar and its environs under siege.[6][18] When some 50,000 Yezidis trapped on Sinjar Mountain were freed by way of a land corridor opened by the Peoples's Protection Units (YPG) and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK),[19] the majority fled through Syria and circled around the north of the Sinjar mountain range to reach Lalish and Shekhan in Kurdistan Region.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The map of Districts of Kurdistan Region". Kurdistan Region Statistics Office, Kurdistan Regional Government.
  2. ^ "دوو پڕۆژە بۆ پەرستگەی لالش جێبەجێدەكرێن". Rûdaw (in Kurdish). 27 June 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  3. ^ "Perestgeha Laliş tê nûjenkirin". Rûdaw. 27 July 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  4. ^ C. J. Edmonds (2002). A Pilgrimage to Lalish. p. 10. ISBN 9780947593285. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  5. ^ Luongo, Michael (21 August 2014). Fighting Back With Faith: Inside The Yezidis Iraqi Temple (PDF). The Daily Beast. p. 1. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Soguel, Dominique (August 12, 2014). "World Middle East A sanctuary for Iraqi Yazidis – and a plea for Obama's intervention". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Iraq crisis: the last stand of the Yazidis against Islamic State". The Telegraph. August 12, 2014. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  8. ^ a b Harrassowitz, O. (2009). From Daena to Din. Religion, Kultur und Sprache in der iranischen Welt: Festschrift für Philip Kreyenbroek zum 60. Geburtstag. p. 357. ISBN 978-3447059176.
  9. ^ a b Kreyenbroek, Philip G.; Jindy Rashow, Khalil (2005). God and Sheikh Adi are Perfect. Wiesbaden: Harassovitz Verlag. pp. 37–38. ISBN 3447053003.
  10. ^ a b Allison, Christine (July 20, 2004). "YAZIDIS i. GENERAL". Encyclopædia Iranica (online ed.). New York. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  11. ^ "Volunteers help restore holy Yezidi temple of Lalish". Rûdaw. 6 June 2019. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  12. ^ Minority Rights in the Middle East. OUP Oxford. 2013. p. 204. ISBN 9780191668883.
  13. ^ Kurdistan, Colin Gleeson in Iraqi. "Journeying to the historic heart of the Yazidi religion". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2021-02-04.
  14. ^ Retrieved 2021-02-04. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ admin (2018-05-30). "Die Rückeroberung des Heiligtums Lalish im Jahr 1904". ÊzîdîPress (in German). Retrieved 2021-05-16.
  16. ^ "Yezidis (Yazidis) History". Yezidis. Retrieved 2021-05-16.
  17. ^ Fuccaro, Nelida (1994). Aspects of the social and political history of the Yazidi enclave of Jabal Sinjar (Iraq) under the British mandate, 1919-1932 (Doctoral thesis). Durham University.
  18. ^ Spencer, Richard (August 13, 2014). "Iraq dispatch: terrified Yazidi people seek refuge inside holy temple". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Archived from the original on August 13, 2014. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  19. ^ Tharoor, Ishaan (11 August 2014). "A U.S.-designated terrorist group is saving Yazidis and battling the Islamic State". Washington Post. Retrieved 15 December 2018.