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Dayr-e Gachin, Mother of all Iranian Caravansaries Gets ID Card


20 October 2004



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CAIS -- The project to survey, document and clean Dayr-e Gachin (also Deir-e Gachin), mother of all Iranian caravansaries, in the National Kavir Park is completed.

The monument was originally built in the Sasanian dynastic era (334-651 CE) as a fortified fire temple and its function was changed during the Safavid dynasty.

The caravansary has four iwans to help desert winds pass through the adobe building. It now has the most complete ID card ever issued for a caravansary and if funded, experts will renovate the age-old building, said Omid Ali Sadeghi, an expert with Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) in Tehran.

The caravansary’s area is 12,000 sq.m and it has 43 rooms, stately iwans, a backyard, 8 camel stables, 2 shops, one bath and mosque


According to Borhan-e Qate the construction was erected by Sasanian emperor Bahram V (r. 421-438 CE) while the Tarihkh-i Qum gives the name of Khosrow I (r. 531-579 CE) as the patron of the caravanserai. However, the archaeological facts tend to confirm the building may have been constructed before Emperor Khosrow, but rebuilt or repaired during his time.


Dayr-i Gachin is even reflected in Iranian legend. According to the anonymous Mujmal al-tawārīkh wal-qisas (c. 520/1126-7) Dayr-i Gachin, was the place that Bahman was swallowed by a dragon and he gave his kingdom to his daughter Chīhrazād, who was known as Humāy.


It may be worth mentioning a suggestion made by professor David Bivar that the name Bahman could here allude to the post-Achaemenid wars of the successors, when Eumenes, the former secretary of Alexander, fought a campaign north of Esfahan and was killed, probably in the neighbourhood of Dudihak. Although the death of Eumenes took place at some distance from Dayr-i Gachin, it appears from the narrative of his campaign that he may have operated widely across the desert of central Iran and his movements may have left traces in popular legends.






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