Saturday, 12 January 2008

Takht-I-Soleiman (Throne of Soloman)

After a night in Zanjan ( and a late departure as our bus was a bit reluctant to start in the cold )we visited Takht -I Soleiman ( Throne Of Solomon). This site is the holiest shrine of Zoroastrian and a World Heritage Site. The ruins lie on a plateau arising from the deposits of a highly mineralised lake fed from an underground source with an extinct volcano ( Zendan-I Soleiman) nearby.The main Zoroastrian temple ( with its 'everlasting' flame) was built in 5th century AD on the top of remains of Parthian buildings, themselves constructed on older dwellings from first Millenium BC. In the late 13th century the site experienced a renaissance when it was a summer capital of mongol rulers but abandoned from 17th century. The designs of the fire temple, palace and layout of site are thought to have heavily influenced the development of Islamic architecture
I went to Iran expecting to be bowled over by the blue mosaics - I certainly enjoyed them but what got to me unexpectedly was the Zoroastrian sites ( more about Yazd in another post).
We felt really privileged to see Takht-I Soleiman in the snow - it wouldn't have had half the impact in the heat of summer. The combination of the sparkle from the snow and the reflections of the ruins in the steam rising from the sacred lake ( warm at about 37 c) made it spectacularly atmospheric. You could see how the ancients would have selected and venerated such a site.

View of Zendan-I-Soleiman from fire temple

Location of fire temple - Zoroastrians do not venerate fire as such but what it represents; goodness and purifying energy

Part of palace. Steam rising from the sacred lake.

Sunset over Zendan-I Soleiman ( most climbed up to the crater, I did a bad sketch instead tho' our bus driver cheered me on )

Moon rise


Olga said...

Wondrous stuff!

Stephanie Pettengell said...

Fascinating and I love the photo's

Helen Suzanne said...

absolutely amazing. Thank you for posting!