Takht-e Soleyman 5 / 5 – after Sassanid’s

November 18, 2010

Takht-e Soleyman 5 / 5 – after Sassanid’s

After downfall of Sassanid’s in 670 and Muslim conquest of Iran, the Takht-e Soleyman temple appears to have continued to function and was still respected when historian Abu dulaf visited the site in 1000 AD; he mentions that the fire in Takht-e Soleyman had been burning continuously for 700 years. After Sassanid’s Takht-e Soleyman temple complex lost much of its past grandeur, especially after it was damaged near the end of Sassanid era by roman emperor Heraclius in 627 AD, who claimed the title of king of kings and the Sassanid empire did not really recover after this defeat After Sassanid down fall decedents of Bahram Chobin and more, 150 years later, setup the Samanid dynasty covering eastern Iran, including Afghanistan (819-1005). The Samanids although initially Zoroastrian, converted to Islam and modeled their court on Abbasid court in Baghdad and paid lip service to the caliphate in Baghdad, but continued the Sassanid culture including Farsi language, The Turkic tribes from southern Russia (the latter Ghaznavids) entered the services of the samanids as solders and rose to high positions and were introduced to Sassanid culture and Islam, Oghuz turks (latter Seljuq) trained in Caliphate courts and also fought wars as allies of samanids After fall of samanids the turks setup Ghaznavid dynasty (997-1186) and eventually conquered much of Persia, and Oghuz turks, very brave but rough people, setup Seljuq empire (1029-1194) adhering to a very strongly Islamic code and Sassanid culture There are no structures relating to Caliphate, Ghaznavid or the Seljuq period on Takht-e Soleyman, but characteristic tiles of these periods have been found on the Takht-e Soleyman platform After Sassanid’s, temples in Takht-e Soleyman gradually fell into ruins and settlements were gradually setup between the inner and outer wall using material from eroding buildings, this trend perhaps accelerated after migration of large number of parses from Iran to India in 943 AD After setup of Ilkhanate dynasty (Mongols) in Iran (1256-1380), the 2rd ruler, Abaga Khan (1265–1282) whose capital was at Tabriz, decided to build a summer court for hunting on Takht-e Soleyman platform in 1270, Abaga Khan was initially a marginal Buddhist, very sympathetic to Christians perhaps due to his mother being a Nestorian Christian, but later on marrying a Christian princess from imperial Byzantine family converted to Christianity, (Mongols were generally tolerant of various religions)

No: 96

As mentioned in Takht-e Soleyman part 4 /6, the general layout of structures on Takht-e Soleyman platform consisted of two squares one on the north of the platform containing the temple complexes and the northern main gate and one on the south of the platform with the lake in the middle

No: 97

The Ilkhanate design basically ignored all the structures in the northern square, because they had badly fallen into ruin, except the main fire temple (a) which was given a new sealing, the floor raised by a seven meter and was incorporated in the new design

No: 98

The new design was implemented on the southern square around the lake, basically keeping the general square layout but introducing many changes to building structures     Blue: Sassanid 500 AD, green: Ilkhanate 1350 AD

Blue: Sassanid 500 AD, green: Ilkhanate 1350 AD

No: 99


No: 100

Remains of Ilkhanate structure to west of the lake The additions included a special a two story building at the entrance of the vaulted passage to the southern square, a hall was built connecting the buildings around the lake to the southern entrance that had now became the main entrance The building were decorated with red sand stones (as against yellow sand stone used in Sassanid construction) quarried from behind Zendan-e Soleyman, and were decorated with magnificent tiles, the tiles were mostly made on the platform, the remains of furnaces for making the glazed tiles can still be seen behind the southern temple complexes, Takht-e Soleyman is the only place, other than soltaniyeh from which excellent samples of beautiful ilkhanate tiles have been recovered, which reflect a shadow of Ghaznavid and Seljuq decorative workmanship   The Ilkhanate dynasty disintegrated by 1380 AD and was replaced by timurid dynasty (1380 – 1507), by 1700 AD Takht-e Soleyman was wiped of memory. Sir Robert Ker Porter is regarded as the first to rediscover Takht-e Soleyman on his way back from Karafto caves in 1819       Takht-e Soleyman timeline

No: 101

Around Takht-e Soleyman

a) – Vicinity of Takht-e Soleyman


No: 102

View of twin peaks of Takht-e Belghas from Takht-e Soleyman platform

a.1 Belghas Mountain with its twin peaks at3200 meters above sea level is situated to the northeast of Takht-e Soleyman, there is a small lake between the two peaks that goes dry in the summer and there is also a small spring on top From the village of No Kandy (new village), near Takht-e Soleyman it’s a day’s journey to the top of Belghas peak and back, apparently nowadays there is a road that goes from the angora mines ( to the east of Belghas Mountain) to the peak

No: 103

On the southern peak OF Belghas there is a small Sassanid fortification called Takht-e Belghas (the throne, or seat of Belghas the legendary queen of Saba), the structure consists of a main square room facing Takht-e Soleyman, few rooms around it and number of long narrow vaulted rooms with no window on the south of the structure The functionality of the structures in dispute, some believe to be a Sassanid fortress, but lack of anything of importance within its reach cast a shadow on this hypothesis and makes it very unlikely. Some believe it to be a Zoroastrian temple or a temple dedicated to Anahita, on the basis that axis of the main square room face Takht-e Soleyman platform The design of the structure dose not lend itself to permanent settlement

a.2 – on top of the peek at the south of Takht-e Soleyman, the locales believe exists a prison like structure with no door or windows that is referred to as Tavileh soleyman (stable of king Solomon), but the literature on this place indicate it to be only a heap of cut stones, most probably the quarry where the stones for building the structures on Takht-e Soleyman where mined

a.3 – structure called Kalisa (church) by the locals, between the villages of No Kandy and Zendan-e Soleyman, which is in fact a holy shrine from early Islamic period

a .4 Tapeh Majid a small hill just behind the village of No Kandy with a Tumulus – a rare structure in Iran –the tumulus is about 50 meters in diameter  and near the top has a ring of stones around it, the site has been excavated but no burial chambers have been found beneath it

a.5 – about 7 kilometers north east of Tapeh Majid a castle like settlement exists that has not been excavated

a.6 – on the south of the road from Takht-s Soleyman to Takab, just past the Zendan Soleyman, there are hot water springs with a temperature of 40C, known to be good for those suffering from Rheumatism.

No: 104

Nowadays the springs boasts of modern facilities including, a parking facilities, two modern swimming pools – one for men and one for women – and privet baths

 

a.7 – To the west of the Zendan-e Soleyman there are remains of number of dead lakes – that are situated on the fault line – and did not grow in size, in the top middle of the picture to the right of the road, with difficulty, the hot spring complex can be seen

a.8 – At the end of row of dead lakes, on top of a small hill with red stones there is an unexcavated Tumulus  100 meters in diameters and about 20 meters high – the red stones were quarried during the Ilkhanate period for use on That-e Soleyman

Places of interest between Takht-e Soleyman and Takab


No: 105

Map of places of interest between Takht-e Soleyman and Takab

b)  Between Takht-e Soleyman and Takab, along the old road through Hampa village

b.1pre-history mound – 3000BC, the mound is situated near the village Baba Nazar, it has not been excavated, but from pieces of broken clay pottery laying around it has been estimated to belong to 3000 BC

b.2 – village of Ghareh Bolagh (black river) and Berenjak – just behind the Tawileh Soleyman mountain a geographical area exists in which there are number of lake craters very much like Zendan-e Soleyman, in depth of one crater a lake can be seen On base of one of the lake craters remains of a structure belonging to unknown period exists

b.3 – near the village of Chahar Tagh an unexcavated Sassanid Settlement with a fire temple IS easily recognizable

c) –  along the main asphalt road from Takht-e Soleyman to Takab

c.1 – another pre-history mound is situated near the village of Ahmad Abad Sofla, it has not been excavated, but again from pieces of broken clay pottery lying around it has been estimated to belong to 3000 BC

c.2 – just past Ahmad Abad Sofla a road branches to the south,  near the village of Cheragh Tapeh Sofla there are 4 unexcavated  settlements, most probably pre-historic On the same route, near the village of Cheragh Tapeh Olya a large unexcavated Sassanid settlement exist that most probably must have had a defense wall Near the end of this rout at the village of Ghinar Cheh (bubbling fountain), there are underground stables and living quarters, with chimney like opening sticking out of ground, for light and air, this type of structures can be seen in many mountainous villages of Iran with cold winters

c.3 – little furthered along the main asphalt road to Takab, a road branches to the north ending in the village of Zar-shuran (washing gold). The Arsenic mines in this area were used in Ilkhanate period, there are also Gold  and Silver mines in the area, in the old times large volumes of gold dust was recovered by washing in the river Zarshuran, below the village of Zarshuran, historian Abu Dulaf has referred to these mines during his visit to the area in 1000 AD.

c.4 – halfway to Takab another road branches from the main asphalt road to the village of Dash Ghize Ghapan (hill of gold stones), an hour’s walk from the village there are 30 steps cut in a rock face, leading to a structure that does not exists any more. On the east of Dash Ghize Ghapan village there is a lake very much like the one on Takht-e Soleyman platform   And perhaps

many more waiting to be discovered, excavated ,…


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