Quba Mere Diwane – World’s Largest Yazidi Temple In Armenia
To the south of Aknalich, in the distance but visible beyond the border with Turkey, stands one of Armenians’ most cherished landmarks, Mount Ararat. Much nearer, in fact just kilometers to the northeast, loom the three cooling towers of an aging Soviet-era nuclear plant at Metsamor.
Nestled between these two is the magnificent Quba Mere Diwane, the biggest Yazidi Temple in the world, which serves a robust Yazidi community in the heart of the South Caucasus.
Quba Mere Diwane Temple is located in the village of Aknalich, in the Armavir Province of Armenia. The village itself is located 35 kilometers west of Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.
The temple, which was opened in September 2019, is 25 meters high and consists of seven domes surrounding a central, arched roof, and houses a Seminary and Museum. The temple is dedicated to the Angel Melek Taus and the Seven Angels of Yazidi theology. The highest dome and the other seven surrounding ones symbolize the angels and are adorned with golden Suns.
The design is heavily inspired by Lalish in northern Iraq, the holiest temple of the Yazidis and a site of pilgrimage. Adjacent to the temple is a Yazidi cemetery. In a statue park opposite the temple, among many others, are a statues of Nobel Prize winner Yazidi Nadia Murad, a statue honouring Andranik Ozanian, an Armenian military commander who fought the Ottomans in the late 1880s, and an Armenian Apostolic Cross intertwined with the Yazidi Sun, signifying religious harmony.
Yazidis are one of the largest ethnic minorities in Armenia, practicing an ancient, monotheistic faith based on belief in one God, who created the world and entrusted it into the care of a Heptad of Seven Holy Beings, often known as Angels or Heft Sirr (The Seven Mysteries). Preeminent among these is Melek Taus, the Peacock Angel.
For Yazidis fleeing to other places, Armenia has been an important and secure safe haven in the past and in the present. Yazidis, a historically vulnerable minority, suffered mass killings, as the most of Armenia’s Yazidis are descended from refugees who fled persecution under the Ottoman Empire.
According to the Armenian census, 35,000 Yazidis lived in Armenia in 2011, mostly in the western and northern regions of the country.
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