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Iran: Il-Khanid Architectural Relics Found in Takht-e Suleiman

Source: Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency

The latest excavation in the northern gate of Takht-e Suleiman, an ancient Zoroastrian fire temple northwest of Iran, has revealed architectural relics dating back to the late Il-Khanid era (1256-1336).

Located in a mountainous area of northwestern Iran and 42 kilometers north of Takab, Takht-e Suleiman (the 'Throne of Solomon') is one of the most interesting and enigmatic sacred sites in Iran. Its setting and landforms must certainly have inspired the mythic imagination of the archaic mind. Situated in a small valley, at the center of a flat stone hill rising twenty meters above the surrounding lands, is a small lake of mysterious beauty.

Archeologists started the fourth season of the third round of excavations two weeks ago and they seek to find how people entered the historical site. Meanwhile, they unearthed some structural remains belonging to the late Il-Khanid dynasty, indicating that Takht-e Suleiman boomed as a township after the decease of Abaghakhan, Il-Khanid ruler of the are, and people kept living there in colonies, said team leader Yussef Moradi.

"Ironically, after the death of Abaghakhan, people ruined his mansion and used its construction material to build and/or refurbish their own houses," he added.

Moradi expressed hope that his team would find more clues as they dig deeper. The latest excavation would last till late November.

Archaeological studies have shown that human settlements existed in the immediate region since at least the 1st millennium BC, with the earliest building remains upon the lake-mound from the Achaemenid culture (559-330 BC). During this period the fire temple of Adur Gushasp (Azargoshnasb) was first constructed and it became one of the greatest religious sanctuaries of Zoroastrianism, functioning through three dynasties (Achaemenid, Parthian, Sassanid) for nearly a thousand years.

After the death of Genghiz Khan the kingdom was divided amongst a number of feudal landlords until the conquest of Persia by Hulakoo Khan, the grandson of Ghengiz Khan (d.1226), in 1230. Persia was then ruled by the Il-Khans (literally the Lords of the world), of whom the most important from an architectural point of view was Oljeitu Khan (also known as Sultan Muhammad Khoda-bandeh - the slave of God) whose stucco prayer niche in the Masjed-e-Jomeh in Isfahan, shown above, is an impressive reminder of his interest in art. He was also the first ruler to espouse the Shi'ite belief.

He was succeeded by his infant son, Abu Sayed Behauder, and during his minority the country was plagued by disputes amongst the factious nobles. He died in 1335 of fever in Shirvan and another period of anarchy followed his death which was terminated by the arrival and savage conquest of Timur (1336-1404) to whose successors we give the name Timurids. During this period the governorship of Isfahan was given first to Sharaf Al-Din Al-Muzaffar, and then in 1314 to his son Muzbarriz Al-Din Muhammad. This in turn gave rise to a brief period of Muzaffarid rule in Isfahan

... Payvand News - 8/22/04 ... --

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