Fire Temple

About 8 kilometers west of Isfahan, quite close to the shaking Minarets and the Zayandeh-Rud River, there is a conical hill with a fire temple at the top, flanked by vast verdant environs.

Constructed of mud-bricks with layers bonded with mortar and reeds for more strength, Atashgah (fire temple) of Isfahan is a Sassanid archeological complex while the ancient Zoroastrian fire temple is currently no longer in use.

The hill, which rises about 210 meters above the surrounding plain, was previously called Maras or Marabin after a village nearby.

One part of the complex, on the southern flank of the hill, are the remains of a citadel of about 20 buildings (or rooms within buildings). Several buildings have a classic char taq (four-arch) floor-plan, which is characteristic of Zoroastrian fire temples of the 3rd century, which housed sacred fires. Other buildings include what may have been storage rooms and living quarters for priests and pilgrims.

Another feature of the complex is the remains of a tower-like circular building on top of the same hill. This structure, which was once at least 20 meters high, is known by the locals as Borj-e Qorban (Tower of Sacrifice) and appears to have been a military watch-tower with a flare (i.e. a beacon) that could be lit to warn of an approaching enemy.

Atashgah presents a magnificent view of the Zayandeh-Rud River and the city of Isfahan for those who undertake the short but steep climb to the summit, making their visit to Isfahan even more enjoyable.

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