Temple architecture

Archaeologists discover ‘great’ Sasanian fire temple in northeast Iran

TEHRAN — Archaeologists have unearthed the ruins of what they believe was one of Iran’s largest fire temples from the Sasanian era.

“We have probably discovered the third largest fire temple that existed in ancient Iran,” archaeologist Meysam Labbaf-Khaniki said on Wednesday, quoted by ILNA.

Labfaf-Khaniki is leading the fifth season of an aerological survey, which is currently underway in a valley near the village of Robat-e Sefid/Bazeh Hur, northeast Iran.

“During this archaeological season we have collected considerable evidence such as carved plasterwork and inscriptions suggesting that the ruins are linked to an important fire temple.”

Inscriptions and their fragments that bear Pahlavi scripts must first be organized and classified until they can be read (and deciphered) by linguists and cultural heritage experts, he explained.

These new discoveries should open a new chapter in the history of Iranian arts during the Sasanian era, the archaeologist said.

Exquisite stucco work embellishes the capital columns that support the fire temple’s main hall, he said.

Since 2014, Labbaf-Khaniki has participated in previous excavations carried out at the ancient site. In 2018, a joint French-Iranian mission was commissioned to study the entire valley, its human occupations, its geomorphology and its involvement in the vast territory of the province of Khorasan Razavi.

The Sasanian age is of very great importance in the history of Iran. Under the Sassanids, Persian architecture as well as the arts experienced a general renaissance. The architecture has often taken on grand proportions such as the palaces of Ctesiphon, Firuzabad and Sarvestan which are among the highlights of the ensemble.

Sasanian archaeological designs generally represent a very effective system of land use and strategic use of natural topography in the creation of early cultural centers of the Sasanian civilization.

In 2018, a collection of historic Sasanian cities in southern Iran, titled “Sasanian Archaeological Landscape of the Fars Region”, was named a UNESCO site. The ensemble is made up of eight archaeological sites located in three geographical parts of Firuzabad, Bishapur and Sarvestan.

World Heritage reflects the optimal use of natural topography and bears witness to the influence of Achaemenid and Parthian cultural traditions and Roman art, which later had a significant impact on the architecture and artistic styles of the era. Islamic.

Besides architecture, crafts such as metalworking and gemstone engraving became very sophisticated, but scholarship was encouraged by the state. During these years, works from East and West were translated into Pahlavi, the language of the Sassanids.