The small village of Aknalich, about 35 kilometers (22 miles) west of Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, will soon be home to the world’s largest Yazidi temple. For a people striving to rebound after a 2014 massacre by Islamic State militants in Iraq, the structure is a symbol of resilience.
Yazidis are one of Armenia’s largest ethnic minority groups, practicing an ancient, monotheistic faith that has similarities to Christianity, Islam and Judaism, along with elements of sun worship. Numbering around 35,000, according to Armenia’s 2011 census, they live mostly in the South Caucasus country’s western and northern regions.
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Maxim Edwards is a writer and commissioning editor at openDemocracy Russia (oDR). He covers nationalism, minorities, and memory, with a focus on post-Soviet states.