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Lalish (Kurmanji: Laliş, also called Lalişa Nûranî) is a mountain valley[2] temple[3] situated in the Shekhan District of Duhok Governorate in Iraqi Kurdistan.[4] It is the holiest temple of the Yazidis. It is the location of the tomb of Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir, a central figure of the Yazidi faith.[5]



Lalişa Nûranî
Sacred place
Conical roofs characteristic of Yazidi sites mark the tomb of Şêx Adî in Lalish
Conical roofs characteristic of Yazidi sites mark the tomb of Şêx Adî in Lalish
Lalish is located in Iraq
Location in 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]
Foundedcirca 2000 BCE

The temple is above the town of Shekhan, which had the second largest population of Yazidi prior to the persecution of Yazidis by ISIL.[6] The temple is about sixty kilometers north of Mosul and 14 kilometers west from the village Ayn Sifna. The temple is built at about 1000 meters above sea level and situated between three mountains, Hizrat in the west, Misat in the south and Arafat in the north.[7]

At least once in their lifetime, Yazidis are expected to make a six-day pilgrimage to Lalish to visit the tomb of Şêx Adî and other sacred places.[5] These other sacred places are shrines dedicated to other holy beings. There are two sacred springs called Zamzam, which is in a cave below Sheikh Adi's sanctuary, and Kāniyā.

Lalish is also the location of pirrā selāt (Ṣerāṭ Bridge) and a mountain called Mt. ʿArafāt which has sites significant in other faiths. Yazidis living in the region are also expected to make a yearly pilgrimage to attend the autumn seven-day Feast of the Assembly,[8] which is celebrated from 23 Aylūl to 1 Tašrīn I.


Lalish village dates back about 4000 years.[9]

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 1414, the tomb of Adi was razed.[8]

Beginning on 3 August 2014, Yazidi refugees fled to the village from Sinjar after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant placed Sinjar and its environs under siege.[5][9] When some 50,000 Yezidis trapped on Sinjar Mountain were freed by way of a land corridor opened by the YPG and PKK,[10] the majority fled through Syria and circled around the north of the Sinjar mountain range to reach Lalish and Shekhan in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The map of Districts of Kurdistan Region". Kurdistan Region Statistics Office, Kurdistan Regional Government.
  2. ^ C. J. Edmonds (2002). A Pilgrimage to Lalish. p. 10. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  3. ^ Luongo, Michael (21 August 2014). Fighting Back With Faith: Inside The Yezidis Iraqi Temple (PDF). The Daily Beast. p. 1. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Volunteers help restore holy Yezidi temple of Lalish". Rûdaw. 6 June 2019. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ a b "Iraq crisis: the last stand of the Yazidis against Islamic State". The Telegraph. August 12, 2014. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ a b Allison, Christine (July 20, 2004). "YAZIDIS i. GENERAL". Encyclopædia Iranica (online ed.). New York. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Spencer, Richard (August 13, 2014). "Iraq dispatch: terrified Yazidi people seek refuge inside holy temple". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  10. ^ 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.