Iran's New Tourist Spot: A Cemetery of Ancient Penises

Nov 18, 2010
Jenny Inglee is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the Education Editor at TakePart.

In Iran, the ancient Khalid Nabi cemetery has become a major tourist destination.

Why exactly?

Well, it is a pilgrimage site and has historical significance.... But the main reason for the new crop of tourists is that the cemetery is chock-full of tombstones shaped like male and female sex organs.

We won&39;t quiz you on what this tombstone looks like. (Photo: Global Post)

The Global Post reported on the cemetery of 600 tombs in northeast Iran. Historian Alireza Hesar Nuee admits to being stumped about the symbolism of the gravestones:

Hesar Nuee said the tombstones are symbolic representations of male and female genitals. He said the symbolism could come from the phallic religion practiced in India and central Asia, but few know for sure the meaning behind the designs.

As the heritage site gains in popularity, travelers from all over the world are booking tours to learn about the penis- and breast-shaped grave markers.

When young tourists aren't taking photos with the unique stones, they may be visiting the shrine tower thought to stake out the tomb of Prophet Khalid Nabi. Nabi was born in Yemen 40 years before the Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam.

The cemetery is near the border with Turkmenistan, and the Global Post reports, "to this day Turkmen women tie ribbons to the branches of a tree near the shrine as a pledge for resolution for their troubles."

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