Iraq has world’s largest qabristan with 50 lakh burials, 100 dead bodies arrive daily

Wadi al-Salam cemetery in Iraq is considered to be the world’s biggest, according to several sources. Translated as the “Valley of Peace”, the graveyard is an Islamic cemetery located in the city of Najaf, Iraq. The cemetery covers 1485.5 acres and contains over 50 lakh bodies, making it one of the strongest contenders for the largest graveyard on earth.

qabristanAmong its more than five million graves, according to BBC lie a majority of Shia Muslims. Those recently interred include victims of Islamic State.

This drone footage was taken by an Iraqi student and described as Wadi al-Salam cemetery. As far as the eye can see, gravestones, tombs and Shia icons stretch out amid the baking summer heat. This is the Al-Salam Valley cemetery, the largest in the world, in Iraq’s Najaf province.

As casualties increase in the fight to retake the Islamic State (IS) bastion of Fallujah, 200km to the south, gravedigger Hamid al-Wad says he has been busy interring the dead from the battlefield.

“In my office, I’ve had an increase of 13 or 14 bodies a day, but the cemetery as a whole receives more than 100 fighters daily,” al-Wad told Middle East Eye.

He is one of a group of gravediggers at the cemetery, founded 1,400 years ago and said to contain the remains of about five million people buried across six square kilometres.

The fighting between IS and the Iraqi army and its allies has led to a rising death toll across the country.

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