Photographer's Note

If you are young enough to play computer games in Commodore64, Amiga or like, you should well remember the game Pacman, and the ghosts which eat him. Those ladies somehow remind me of those ghosts...


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.

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Additional Photos by Deniz Taskin (rigoletto) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3085 W: 400 N: 6725] (34279)
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