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[LT.03] Temple entryway

The main temple in Lalish begins with an impressive doorway carved in Mosul marble. Stones blocks have carvings such as a snake, sword, cane, and star.

The black snake is venerated by Yezidis. The star was used by Ottoman Muslims, before its use by Jews. Continue through the door to the nave.


The entrance to the shrine itself is crowded with symbols and tradition. There a numerous stories about the black snake. One is that it was placed there as an honor: black snakes are sacred to Yezidis, who say that Noah's Ark got a whole which would have sunk the whole ship except for a black snake that plugged it with its own body.

I then endeavoured to obtain from them some explanation of the different symbols engraved upon the front of the temple; but their only answer was, that they knew of no secret meaning attached to them. ... I have since spoken with many Kawwâls and others on the subject, and am of opinion, that if originally intended as mystical signs, their meaning is lost to the Yezeedees of the present day, who regard them as mere ornaments. Badger 1852, p 110

The inscription over the entrance records the rebuilding of the edifice by Husein Beg, the grandfather of the present Emeer of that name, in the year of the Hegira 1221, and my informants stated, that the different representations of a comb were inscribed on the walls out of respect for his long beard. Badger 1852, p 110