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Kirkhlyar (Turkic “forty”) – is the burial place of forty “martyrs for faith” (shakhids), one of the most ancient and respected “sacred” places of Muslims in the North Caucasus. It is situated at the northern wall of Derbent opposite the gates of the same name – Kirkhlyar-kapa.

Kirkhlyar represents enclosed complex of above-graves sarcophaguses, carved out of whole stone blocks. The sarcophaguses are placed in four rows and they are oriented by west-east axel. Daghestanian chronicle of Darband-nam refers the appearance of Kikhlyar to the VII century. It is said in the chronicle that 40 Arab martyrs are buried here with their leader Salman ben Rabia.


In the State Hermitage Byzantine triptych of the X – the beginning of the XI centuries is exposed. In the central part of it 40 “martyrs” are depicted on the Sevastiysk lake. They stand in rows of 10, hardly covered by clothes, and above their heads – God surrounded by angels, what symbolizes Heaven. In the side folds of the triptych 4 “sacred warriors” in each are placed. For hundreds of years pilgrims come to Kirkhlyar to ask help from the righteous men in fulfillment of their cherished dreams. There is a stone child’s cradle between the sarcophaguses. If a childless married couple can rock the cradle together, they will certainly have a baby. 

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