Karbala is a city in central Iraq, located about 100 km southwest of Baghdad, and a few dozen miles east of Lake Milh.
Karbala has an estimated population of 750,000 people (2020).
The city, best known as the location of the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE or the Shrines of Imam Husayn and Abbas. The city is know as a holy city.
Tens of millions of Shi’ite Muslims visit the site twice a year, rivalling Mecca as a place of pilgrimage. The martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali is commemorated annually by millions of Shi’ite musims around the world.
Up to 8 million pilgrims visit the city to observe Ashura (the tenth day of the month of Muharram), which marks the anniversary of Husayn’s death, but the main event is the Arba’in (the 40th day after ‘Ashura’), where up to 30 million visit the graves. Most of the pilgrims travel on foot from all around Iraq and more than 56 countries.
By Maz Ali