Unesco World Heritage Site

sights / Other

Unesco World Heritage Site information

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Sitting in a high, lonely bowl of mountains ringed by 1500-year-old fortress walls, this Unesco World Heritage site is one of the most memorable sights of western Iran. In the 3rd century AD the state religion of Sassanian Persia was Zoroastrianism and Takht-e Soleiman (then called Azergoshnasb) was its spiritual centre. The site was perfect. Zoroastrianism had by this stage incorporated many Magi-inspired elements, including the veneration of earth, wind (plenty here), water and fire. Water (albeit undrinkably poisonous) was provided in abundance by the limpidly beautiful ‘bottomless’ crater lake that still forms the centre of the site. This pours forth 90L per second and would have been channelled through an Anahita-style water temple. The fire was provided thanks to a natural volcanic gas channelled through ceramic pipes to sustain an ‘eternal flame’ in the ateshkadeh (fire temple).