The Iraqi town of Najaf is considered one of the holiest cities in all the Middle East.
It holds the tomb of Ali, the first imam of the Shi’ites. Ali succeeded Mohammed as the Fourth Caliph and ruled over the nation until 661 C.E. when he was assassinated by a group known as the Kharijites. Back then, Najaf was only a small village, but became the large city it is known as today after another caliph passed through the village and decided that in order to honor the resting place of Ali, a grand mausoleum should be built.
Today, Najaf is home to over 600,000 people, but it’s what’s on the outskirts that has everyone talking.
Outside the city limits of Najaf there is a space overrun by millions of residents.
From aerial views, Wadi Al-Salam looms like just another budding Middle Eastern city, but you’ll have to take to the streets to learn its haunting story.
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