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Archaeologists Puzzled Over the Ancient Monument


01 June 2004



Iranian experts are scratching their head over an ancient monument in west of the country as whether it was built as a fire temple in the Sasanid era or it was erected in the Islamic period.

Located in the western Iranian town of Qasr Shirin, the Chahar Qapi or Chahar Taqi monument as well as its other monuments such as the Khosrow Palace, Ban Qaleh and the Safavid caravanserai suffered damages during the eight year Iraqi aggression.

In 1998, a year after the end of the war when construction of war torn areas were undertaken, a group of history and archeology experts were dispatched to take care of the historical monuments in the area.

In the first phase, the debris was removed from the Chahar Qapi monument and limited digging was carried out. Yet, doubts surfaced about the monument’s age and its use as more diggings were carried out in the site in 1991.

Head of the history section of the archeology research center Naser Nowruzzadeh Chegini said the monument is built of stone and lime with a central dome chamber. The dome has been built using bricks. There are four entrances to the monument. The dome chamber is encircled with a hallway.

Explorations conducted so far in the Chahar Qapi monuments have rendered different information regarding its architecture and date.

Chegini who oversaw the removal of debris from the place soon after the war noted it could contribute a lot to the understanding of the architecture as practiced in the late Sasanid and early Islamic period.

However, he said, the discovery of porticos and columns around the monument is an indication that it might be built in the Islamic era. He is going to lead a study in the monument later this year.


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