Takht-e Soleymān

Takht-e Soleymān (ancient Azar Goshnasp, i.e., “Fire of the Warrior Kings”), is a major archaeological site about 30 km north-northeast of the town of Takāb, some 400 km (250 mi) west of Tehran.

The large thermal lake in the middle of Takht-e Soleymān has perhaps attracted people to this spot for a long time. The Manneans site of Zendān-e Solaymān, about 3 km west of Takht-e Soleymān indicates human occupation of the area as early as the first millennium BCE. At Takht-e Soleymān, archaeological excavations bear witness to occupation in the form of a small village dating to Achaemenid period next to the thermal lake. During the Parthian period a small fortification was built at the northern edge of the lake.

Based on numismatic and architecrural evidence several major construction phases at the Takht-e Soleymān can be dated to Sasanian period when a number of massive stone and baked-brick buildings where constructed, evidently all part of a large fire-temple and its associated facilities, hence the ancient name of the site Azar Goshnasp, i.e., “Fire of the Warrior Kings”. The massive fortification around the site can also be dated to Sasanian period.

The site continued to be inhabited after Sasanian times, especially during Mongol invasion that the region witnessed an influx of Turkic people and the site underwent yet another major construction phase under Abaqa Khān (1234–1282 CE), the second Il-khan of Persia.

Following a preliminary survey in 1937 by Arthur Upham Pope on behalf of the American Institute of Iranian Art and Archaeology, from 1959 and 1978 the Tehran Branch of the German Archaeological Institute (under Hans Henning von der Osten 1959-1960, Rudolf Naumann 1961-1976, and Dietrich Huff 1976-1978) carried out extensive archeological excavations and restoration work at Takht-e Soleymān and the nearby site of Zendān-e Solaymān in collaboration with the Antiquities Service of Iran. Minor excavations and restoration work has been undertaken at Takht-e Soleymān by the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization since 1980. The site was registered as a World Heritage Site in July 2003.

Coordinates: 36.603171°N 47.235949°E

For further information see: http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/takt-e-solayman

Entered by KA