The Rose Garden of Martyrs is the last resting place for soldiers who died in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. A war which eventually did not result in anything very concrete, except for several hundreds of thousands of casualties. The cemetery is a grim reminder for some of those soldiers. The noise of the city seems far away here. Orderly lines of tombs make up this cemetery of thousands.
But, as the name implies, the soldiers resting here are not just seen as victims of a brutal war. Much more, they are regarded as heroes who fought for a just cause and who died a useful death. The war was actually a quite convenient instrument for Ayatollah Khomeini to muster support for his new reign - he came to power in 1979. His importance for their battle becomes clear at nearly every tomb. While you can see the picture of a soldier on one side, you can see the face of Khomeini on the other.
At the end of our walk through this labyrinth of the dead, we are ushered into a tent by an Iranian. He lifts a flap and we see tables with books, and the sidewalls covered by picures. Pictures of the war. Some of them gruesome, some of them smiling soldiers making a victory sign. At the end, our Iranian guide shows us a few books. Decapitated soldiers, dismembered, one picture is more horrific than the other. In the end also the Iranian starts to tremble. With a silent excuse we escape from the horrors of war into the reality of Esfahan sunshine.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Golestan e Shohada (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Golestan e Shohada.
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