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Pir-i Bakran, AKA Linjan, is a village 18 miles SW of Isfahan.  The ancient Jewish cemetery of Isfahan is situated in front of the mausoleum of Muhammed ibn Bakran and contains tombs inscribed from the second century AD. photo of Jewish cemetery in Linjan, Isfahan Province, the location of Sarah bat Asher's tomb (popular tradition among Iranian Jews held that she arrived in Esfahan with the exiled Jews from the tribe of Judah. [January 2010]

Sarah bat Asher Cemetery : The ancient cemetery for the Isfahan community was located here with thousands of carved blocks. In a special section for foreign Jews, one could see the stones, bordered by carved flowers and elaborate work, inscribed in Hebrew as well as English, Italian, German, Dutch -- some dating back hundreds of years. Pir Bakran was considered a place of asylum for the Isfahani Jews during the Persian version of pogroms. The story goes is that it was a village of silversmiths who actually were originally Jewish but converted by force (or willingly) to protect the cemetery. / In olden days, it took a week by horse and wagon in the winter to reach the cemetery for burial, about 30 km outside Isfahan. When I was there last in 1970, it was reached by mini bus from Isfahan on a narrow very dusty bumpy road, possibly unpaved. The cemetery contained huge buildings where whole families would stay at the time of major holidays or at the "sol'" (Ashkenazi: Yahrzeit). It was like the caravansaris in old movies: places for people and for animals. I remember two very large synagogue buildings, very ancient and with very large scorpions crawling around. In one building, one crawled through a tunnel to see what was referred to as Jacob's Pillow. The story was that at one point (when???) it perpetually circled around on the ground, but that a non-Jew, probably Moslem, placed something unpure on it and it stopped moving. It was still a place of pilgrimage when we visited. / I am not sure if the cemetery exists now. We had rumors that a steel mill was to have been built on this historic area, which had served the Jews of Isfahan since ancient days (It is/was a 3,000 year-old community.) / In line with Sephardic Oriental practice, no coffins are used, only a shroud. In the more modern cemeteries in Teheran, I remember headstones with a photograph of the deceased mounted on, as well as carved, with flower holders affixed to the stone. I do not remember headstones at all in Isfahan, only the large blocks. Source: Schelly Dardashti This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [date?]

story with photos: "The cemetery in Linjan itself was quite breathtaking. It is said that inscriptions on tomb stones are from the second century CE. Some of the ruined buildings look really old. When in Esfahan, try to find the place. It's really worth a visit. ... A significant mausoleum in Lanjan is that of Sufi Pir Bakran. The 14th century building was closed (as it was last year), but some internal decorations could be seen from the outside's windows." 2009 photo. [January 2010]

Last Updated on Saturday, 16 January 2010 14:50
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