on the findings of the third archeological excavations in
the Yeri city, the inhabitants of the region broke with
their religious beliefs and holy prayer centers due to the
prevailing of a political religion.
Yeri City, in a 400-hectare area, is located near Pirazman
village of Meshkin Shahr, in Ardabil province, in which
some layers belonging to the Iron Age (3200 to 2550 years
ago) have been identified so far.
Based on the recent discoveries during the third season of
excavations in Yeri City, archeologists believe that the
inhabitants of the region broke with their religious
beliefs after the domination of Urartu civilization over
“The construction of the fortress wall over the prayer
house of Yeri City indicates that it was no more holy for
to the inhabitants of the region and that they did not
show religious beliefs towards it any longer,” says
Alireza Hajbari Nobari, archaeologist and head of the
excavation team in Yeri City.
The historical site of Yeri City is consisting of a
fortress, three temples and Qush Tepe historical site. The
fortress dates back to the third period of the Iron Age
(2800 years ago), and the temple to the second Iron Age
(3200 years ago).
The construction of the fortress on one of the temples
indicates that the temple existed before the fortress. The
fortress was constructed on the remains of a burnt city.
According to Nobari, the residents of Yeri City lived in
the city previous to the attack of the Urartu people to
the region. Following the attack and devastation of the
city, the new fortress was built on the remains of the
The main worship center of the site was unearthed in the
previous excavation season. It consists of stones on which
mouthless faces of human beings are carved. According to
Nobari, these stones were used as totems, worshiped by the
inhabitants of Yeri city before the collapse of the city
following the defeat against the Urartu people.
Urartus were a tribe who seized power in the mountainous
region of the east Minor Asia some 2900 to 2700 years ago
and founded a powerful government. Their territory
extended around Van Lake in today’s Turkey and Uromia
Lake in Persia. They started their conquest from the
north, Armenia, and entered Persia through Marand and
“Following their capture of the city, the Urartians made
the residents’ totems valueless and then preached the
existence of one unique God and a political religion in
the region,” said Nobari, noting the construction of the
fortress over the worship center by means of its stones as
sign of people abandoning their previous religious beliefs
and the center losing its sanctity.