About the Doulab Grave Mapping Project

The Christian cemetery complex in Doulab, Tehran, is under pressure. For developers the vast area of more than 75,000m² can be attractive as an object of speculation. In the Iranian capital the demand for land flies high and there is a true building craze going on in order to satisfy the housing needs of an ever-growing urban population. The present Tehran map of the National Cartographic Institute does not identify the grounds as cemetery any more.

The normal wearing off of materials also constitutes a threat to the substance of the cemetery. Graves are becoming derelict, inscriptions whither, and parish registers become inaccessible due to the ravages of time. Moreover, the city council has revoked the permission to use the ground as a burial site. Thus the function of the cemetery is slowly shifting from an area serving fundamental needs of the Tehran Christian communities to a mere relic of times past.

Yet, there is more to the cemetery than its mere functionality. It is a place of artistic beauty and of commemoration, including of those who actively contributed to the development of Tehran. Experts and laymen alike may marvel at the make-up of the graves that reflect the influence of a diversity of styles: from Art Nouveau to Persian Modernism.

Important monuments telling stories of feats and hardships of people of the past can be seen as well.

The whole cemetery compound has been officially listed as a national cultural heritage item by ICHTO, the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (شماره ثبت در فهرست آثار ملی 2688).

In order not to lose conscience of the importance of the place and not let it fall into oblivion, several European embassies and the Roman Catholic diocese have launched the Doulab Grave Mapping Project (GMP).

Fundamentally, the GMP is a comprehensive survey of the graves in the different parts of the cemetery. The information available in situ has been entered into a central database, integrated with data from parish registers and other sources, and finally put at the disposition of the public through a website-cum-search engine.

On these sites you will find information about the persons that are buried in Doulab, about feats and misdeeds in the eventful lives of some of them. You will have the opportunity to flip through the register of the deceased and make interesting discoveries, or search for a person in particular (an ancestor of yours, a former dignitary of your country, etc.).

You may also contribute to the project by sending your comments, hints and questions to the embassies involved. Maybe you know something about Doulab we have not yet been able to find out. Maybe you can tell us the story of someone’s life.

In brief

G.M.P. stands for the Doulab Grave Mapping Project. Several European embassies and the Diocese of Tehran have joined forces to preserve the memory of the Christian community. What made this necessary? How was the work done? What can be done still? Find out more by reading our project description.

Others about us

09-08-12 International visit to Doulab ( en | de | fa )

08-08-13 Christian cemetery under threat in Iran | DW.DE ( en | de | fa )

Doulab on Wikipedia

Kresy Siberia Virtual Museum

Language on the move (blog)

The Doulab Cemetery on Tripadvisor

Jadid Online on the film "Lost Requiem"

Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice (book)

Safarnevis travel blog (Persian)

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