In the stunning green hills of Northern Iran, one cemetery is covered in headstones distinctly resembling male and female genitalia. Some are cylindrical and capped, while others are paired and rounded. All told, the cemetery has a total of 600 monuments to sex organs sprawling across the vibrant landscape.
In a country known for its strict religious law, a cemetery dotted with varying-sized penis and breast shaped headstones tends to stand out. Visitors can immediately tell that the cemetery was created in a far different era. Close to the border with Turkmenistan, some experts suggest that the cemetery was created by phallus worshipping peoples from Central Asia and India, although conclusive proof of this does not exist.
Little scholarship has occurred on the cemetery's origins within Iran because of a strong national embarrassment over the suggestive stones. There is little publicity over the cemetery and most scholars have strayed from studying the historic area.
Besides being home to hundreds of penis tombstones, a famous Christian prophet from Yemen who died in the 4th century is also buried near the cemetery. Despite its proximity to the genitalia cemetery, the prophet is in fact buried in a classic tomb, and is actually a pilgrimage site for many Turkmen who place ribbons on his shrine. The combination of pilgrims and curious tourists make for an odd mix of playful and pious visitors to Khalid Nabi.