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Karbala (Iraq)
Coordinates 32 ° 37 ′  N , 44 ° 2 ′  E Coordinates: 32 ° 37 ′  N , 44 ° 2 ′  E
Country IraqIraq Iraq
Governorate Karbala
Basic data
Residents 675,000 (2011)
Husain Mosque (2005)
Husain Mosque (2005)
Husain Mosque (1932)

Kerbela or Kerbala ( Arabic كربلاء Karbala , DMG Karbalāʾ ) is a city in the center of Iraq with about 675,000 inhabitants (as of July 1, 2011). It is located in the province of the same name near the Euphrates (al-Furāt), about 80 km south of Baghdad .


The Battle of Karbala took place in Karbala on October 10, 680 and is a central event for the Twelve Shiites or Imamites . Almost the entire Shiite leadership was killed in an uprising against the Umayyads . The tomb of the Shiite third Imam al-Husain ibn ʿAlī, venerated as a martyr , is located in Karbala, which makes the city one of the most important Shiite and Alevi pilgrimage sites . The Imam Husain Shrine is the most important mosque in Iraq . Husain's brother, Abbas , is buried in the Al-Abbas mosque, which is within sight of the Imam Husain shrine. The Shiite passion celebrations there on the tenth of the Islamic month of Muharram commemorate these events with funeral services, ritual stories and processions . Forty days later, over 20 million pilgrims are counted for the Fest al-Arba'in , making it the largest Islamic pilgrimage .

During the time of the Ba'ath Party regime in Iraq, mass pilgrimages to Karbala were prohibited. From March 5 to March 19, 1991, after the Second Gulf War, fighting broke out between insurgents and the troops of the Iraqi government. The uprising was put down by the Iraqi government. After the fall of Saddam Hussein by the US-led occupation army, the 2004 pilgrimage was the largest in decades - with over a million participants. It was overshadowed by several bomb attacks on March 2, 2004 , in which nearly 300 pilgrims were killed and countless injured. As early as 2003, 12 people were killed in suicide attacks. Three months later, the city was the scene of fierce fighting between US troops and supporters of the Shiite rebel leader Muqtada al-Sadr . In 2007 Shiite pilgrims were again victims of a suicide bomber. This time 42 people were killed and 160 injured. In December 2005, a mass grave was discovered during maintenance work near the Imam Husain shrine . It is believed that the bodies are insurgents who were shot or murdered by the Iraqi army in 1991. Some victims are believed to have been buried alive.


The city is the seat of Ahlulbait University College and home of Karbalaa FC football club.

See also

Web links

Commons : Karbala  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. https://www.citypopulation.de/Iraq.html
  2. Annemarie Schimmel: The Islamic Year. Times and festivals. CH Beck, Munich 2002, ISBN 3406475671 , p. 39 ff.
  3. Bigger than the Hajj Der Tagesspiegel, October 5, 2016.
  4. cnn.com of December 27, 2003 Karbala attacks kill 12, wound dozens
  5. spiegel.de of May 16, 2004 Iraqi Interior Minister asks the USA to stay
  6. bbc.co.uk of April 28, 2007 Bomb kills many in Iraq holy city
  7. bbc.co.uk of December 27, 2005 Mass grave unearthed in Iraq city
  8. ^ Article in Spiegel about the discovery of the mass grave