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Archaeologists Discovered a Temple with in the Sasanid Palace


16 July 2004




The discovery of one fire temple and several mansions in Sarvestan Palace, one of the most awe-inspiring monuments of the Sasanid era (226-651), has helped Iranian archaeologists to learn more facts about the historical complex.

Housing Iran’s oldest brick cupola, the palace was built during the reign of Bahram "Gur" (The Zebra-Hunter, 420-438 A.D.) as a leisure mansion. Mehrnevsi, his well-known minister ordered the construction of this palace. It has one entrance corridor (ivan) and the dome is located in the center of the building. Located in Fars Province, it is made of brick, stone and plaster.

Initially archaeologists could guess that there might be more architectural structures in addition to the main palace. “The site was just explored prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, after which the work stopped and we had no vivid picture of the palace,” said Amir Pirooz Daghoghi, head of the project. “The new research, however, has led us to unearth a temple and several construct, adding more pieces to the puzzle.”

The presence of a temple beside the main palace clearly indicates the significance of Sarvestan during the Sasanid era, he added, further saying, “The sanctuary’s area is 900 square meters, pointing to the eminence of the palace complex in that era. We also believe the mansion served as resorts for high-ranking officials and other dignitaries.”

The Sasanids established an empire roughly within the frontiers achieved by the Achaemenids, with the capital at Ctesiphon. The Sasanids consciously sought to resuscitate Iranian traditions and to obliterate Greek cultural influence. Their rule was characterized by considerable centralization, ambitious urban planning, agricultural development, and technological improvements.

Sasanid rule and the system of social stratification were reinforced by Zoroastrian religion, which became the state religion. The Zoroastrian priesthood became immensely powerful. The head of the priestly class (the Mobedan), Mobed, along with the military commander, the Eran Espahbod, and the head of the bureaucracy, were among the great men of the state.



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