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Al Askari shrine- Samarra

The modern city of Samarra is located on the bank of the river Tigris approximately sixty miles from the city of Baghdad. The city is of outstanding importance due to it being the home to al-Askari Mosque, the Maqam Ghaybat and the Great Mosque of Samarra.

The golden dome on one shrine was presented by Nasr al-Din Shah and completed under Muzaffar al-Din Shah in the year 1905 A.D.The dome was covered in 72,000 gold pieces also beautiful light blue glazed surrounded the walls.The goldendome was approximately 20 m (66 ft) in diameter by 68 m (223 ft) high and took a dominant place in Samara’s skyline.

Beneath the golden dome are four graves, those of Imam Ali Al-Naqi the 10th Imam and his son, Imam Hasan Al-Askari who is the 11th Imam. The other two are of Hakimah Khatoon who is the sister of Imam Ali Al-Naqi and the fourth grave belongs to Nargis Khatoon, the mother of Imam Al-Mahdi. The second shrine marks the place where Imam Al-Mahdi went into concealment (Ghaybat). It has a dome that is distinguished for the soft delicate design that is worked in blue tiles, and beneath it is the cellar (sirdab) where the Imam is said to have disappeared. Visitors may enter this Sirdab via some stairs.

The Imams ‘Ali al-Hadi ("an-Naqi") and Hassan al-‘Askari lived under house arrest in the part of Samarra that had been Caliph al-Mu'tasim's military camp (‘Askaru l-Mu‘tasim) where he aimed to show them the greatness of his army. They died and were buried in their house near the mosque built by Mu‘tasim. It was later discovered that their death was due to being poisoned.

Al ‘Askari Mosque (Arabic: Marqad al-Imamayn ‘Ali l-Hadi wa l-Hassan al-‘Askari) is a Muslim holy site and is one of the most important Shi‘a mosques in the world.

Written by Aymen Jawad

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