Photographs and narratives by ROBERT LEUTHEUSER from and of his travels through Kurdistan and the greater Middle East. Published in conjunction with his photographic website

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19 October 2010

Jema'iyye at Lalish, 2010 - A Small Portfolio

Yezidi'ism is a little known syncretic and monotheistic religion practiced by a hyper-minority of Kurds, mainly concentrated in northern Iraq (the semi-autonomous Kurdish Region, and Sinjar area to its west), but with a significant diaspora population in Europe. Other smaller regional populations are in Syria, Armenia, and Georgia. Lalish, in Iraqi Kurdistan, is the holy center of Yezidis - both in their cosmology and history.

Every autumn the Yezidis celebrate Jema'iyye, an 8-day long religious and social gathering. Thousands descend on this compact site, smothering both time and place. This was the third year I have attended. Below is a small portfolio of photographs I assembled for a documentary film being made by non-Yezidi Kurds from Arbil. With one exception,* identifiable faces are not included in these photos out of sensitivity to the Yezidis' precarious position both in Kurdistan Iraq, and the whole of Iraq. (*Sheikh Hadj is an already well-known Yezidi.)

For more information about the Yezidis see earlier posts on this site.

In the Baba Sheikh's "cupola"
In the main assembly hall
Leaving the main assembly hall

Sinjari Sheikhs

Youth next to car advertisement


  1. I have been read a lot of stories about Ezidis and a lot of people have written some unright articles. I have travel a lot and by beeing openfully i have learn a lot.
    I love the Ezidi-people !
    They are very kind and helpfull.