KARBALA (Karbalāʾ), a
city in Iraq, situated about 90 km southwest of Baghdad . It is one of the four
Shiʿite shrine cities (with Najaf, Kāẓemayn, and Sāmarrāʾ) in Iraq known in
Shʿite Islam as ʿatabāt-e ʿaliāt or ʿatabāt-e moqaddasa. The third Imam of the
Shiʿites, Ḥosayn b. ʿAlī, and his half-brother ʿAbbās are buried there. Karbala is the capital
of Karbala Governorate, and has an area of 5034 km2 and estimated
Population about 1,012,356 million people.
The governorate of
Kerbala is one of Iraq’s smallest governorates and is located in the south west
of the country. Irrigated farmland stretches along the Euphrates River in the
east of Kerbala, while the western parts of the governorate are made up of
desert plains. The saline Razazah Lake is located a few kilometers to the west
of the city of Kerbala, the governorate’s capital. Kerbala shares internal
boundaries with the governorates of Anbar, Babil and Najaf.
Kerbala has a typical
dry, desert climate. The temperatures easily reach 40°C or more in summer,
while rainfall is very limited and concentrated in the winter months.
Shia Arabs are the
dominant ethnic-religious group in Kerbala. A small Sunni community is also
residing in the governorate.
Kerbala is divided in
three districts: Kerbala, Ain Al-Tamur and Al-Hindiya.
The economy of Kerbala
is based around two main sectors: agriculture and (religious) tourism.
Kerbala’s agricultural businesses grow a variety of fruits, vegetables and
orchard produce. The shrine of Imam Hussain in Kerbala is one of the holiest
sites for Shia Muslims worldwide, and every year millions of pilgrims from
inside and outside Iraq visit the governorate. Other religious and
archeological sites, as well as natural attractions like the Razazah Lake, also