With more than 10,000 religious shrines dotting Iran to mark where descendants of Shi’ite Islam’s most revered imams are said to have been buried, many of them go unnoticed.
But one of these so-called imamzadeh sanctums recently caught the eye of a passerby who, in a video, questioned its proximity to a globally recognized legacy of Iran’s pre-Islamic past, the ruins of Persepolis.
His video and the resulting debate highlighted the pride that Iranians take in their culture’s ancient past and apparent distrust of a clerical and political establishment that some accuse of highlighting the Islamic era at the expense of Iran’s pre-Islamic history.
The clip shows the shrine, known as Imamzadeh Ebrahim, and suggests that it was built only recently.
“This is the beginning of the [Persepolis] road. As you can see, [authorities] have built an imamzadeh here in the past few days,” the man is heard saying in the video. “When we lived here, this wasn’t here; they’ve set it up recently.”
“I really don’t know what [authorities] think of us that they simply do such things. I hope that these measures end.”