HOLY CITY OF NAJAF, Iraq: Al-Arabiya reported that the
holy city of Najaf, Iraq, will soon exhibit over 50 wax figures of
prominent Shiite Muslim icons, poets and scholars that have influenced
both history and the city’s modern life.
The Museum of Celebrity is one of the projects designed to herald
Najaf’s stance as the Capital of Islamic Culture in 2012, as chosen by
the Islamic Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization back in
“The purpose of the exhibit is to highlight and honor the role of the
distinguished men of the holy city of Najaf including scientists and
academics who served Najaf in the scientific and cultural fields and
also to highlight Najaf’s role in Iraq and the world as a whole,” said
Furqan Ali Mirza, head of Najaf’s Writing, Documentation and
The museum was inspired by a similar wax museum in
Lebanon as well as the world famous Madame Tussauds, but it still
manages to differentiate itself by the material used to fashion the
sculptures, lending it to be strikingly lifelike.
Selecting the icons was a difficult task due to the overwhelming
number of candidates and a limited budget of 550 million Iraqi dinars
($447,000), Mirza said.
“As a start some 300 figures were chosen because Najaf
has a treasure of influential cultural figures. Then through a highly
complicated and meticulous process, the number was reduced to 150 and
then finally narrowed down to 59. The work was done by an Iranian
company in the beginning. Until now we have received more than 10
figures out of the 59,” he said.
Some of the figures on display include Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Sadeq
al-Sadr, Shiite scholars Mohammed Ridha al-Mudhafar and Jawad
Each wax figure will be allocated its own room and accompanied by
copies of the person’s work, manuscripts and photographs.