Wadi Al-Salam: World's Largest Cemetery Where 6 Million Bodies Are Buried

In a submission to UNESCO, Iraq estimated its area at 917 hectares - the equivalent of more than 1,700 football fields.

Wadi Al-Salam: World's Largest Cemetery Where 6 Million Bodies Are Buried

Wadi Al-Salam is visited by Muslims from various parts of the world.

The holy city of Najaf in Iraq is home to the world's largest graveyard, where more than six million bodies have been buried. According to UNESCO, the Wadi Al-Salam ("Valley of Peace" in English) cemetery is the final resting place dozens of prophets, scientists and royals. The cemetery extends from the centre of the city to the far north-west and accounts for 13 per cent of the area of the city, expanding further every day. According to a 2021 Reuters report, Wadi Al-Salam is expanding at double its usual rate.

From above, the cemetery can be mistaken for a city, with the graves there looking like cramped buildings. It is visited by Muslims from various parts of the world.

Wadi Al-Salaam is spread across 917 hectares. (AFP Photo)

Wadi Al-Salaam is spread across 917 hectares. (AFP Photo)

The date of burial in the cemetery back to ancient times before the middle ages, UNESCO further said. Among those buried here are the kings of Al-Hira and it's leaders from Al-Sassani era, and sultans, princes of the state of Hamdania, Fatimia, Al-Buwayhyia, Saffawayia, Qajar and Jalairiyah.

The cemetery has several kinds of burial, which were lower graves and high graves (towers).

Why does this place have universal value?

It is an important resting place for Shia Muslims from around the world. (AFP Photo)

It is an important resting place for Shia Muslims from around the world. (AFP Photo)

One of the reasons for this is the fact that Wadi Al-Salam has the graves of several famous people. Including Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the son-in-law of Prophet Mohammad.

Further, the cemetery stands as a witness to a unique example of a cultural tradition. It also represents a traditional method of land use.

Al-Jazeera said this is an important resting place for Shia Muslims from around the world. Every year, 50,000 people are buried here.

News agency AFP said in a report that digging a grave here costs $100 and the tombstones cost $170 to $200.

The graves here are built with baked bricks and plaster. (AFP)

The graves here are built with baked bricks and plaster. (AFP)

In a submission to UNESCO, Iraq estimated its area at 917 hectares - the equivalent of more than 1,700 football fields.

There are no maps to guide visitors through the confusing labyrinth, which is also listed as the world's largest burial ground by the Guinness Book of World Records.

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