YEREVAN (AFP) — A gleaming white structure topped with seven domes, set to be the world’s biggest Yazidi temple, is being built in a tiny village in Armenia.
Long persecuted, most recently by Islamic jihadists in Iraq, the Kurdish-speaking, religious minority hopes the new temple will prove a symbol of strength as it tries to preserve its unique blend of faiths.
Yazidis, adherents of an ancient religion rooted in Zoroastrianism, number around 35,000 in Armenia today but currently have just one tiny temple in the Caucasus country.
The new edifice, called Quba Mere Diwane, is being constructed in Aknalich, a village 35 kilometers (22 miles) from, thanks to funding by a wealthy Moscow-based Yazidi businessman Mirza Sloyan, who was born nearby.
Aknalich is home to 150 Yazidis, as well as the existing temple, built in 2012 which only holds up to 30 people.
Created from granite and marble, the new 25-metre-high (82-foot) structure will include a large prayer hall, religious school and museum. Its seven domes represent seven angels revered by the Yazidis.