excavations in the historical city of Gur resulted in the
discovery of the remains of a mihrab (an altar) belonging
to the Sassanid dynastic era.
Historical city of Gur, located near Firuz Abad in Fars
province, is the first circle-shaped city of Iran, which
was established during the third century A.D. by the order
of Emperor Ardeshir Babakan, the founder of Sassanid
dynasty, and was one of the most important cities during
Recently, archaeological excavations in this historical
site have been started under the supervision of Professor
Dietrich, a German archeologist.
“Archaeological excavations are carried out in three
areas, including a minaret area, the seat, and the shell
keep of the city, which have resulted in some new
archaeological discoveries in this respect,” said Leila
Niakan, deputy of the archaeologists’ excavation team of
According to Niakan, the recent archaeological excavations
in the historical “seat area” of Gur led to the
finding of the remains of a mihrab belonging to the early
Islamic time in Iran.
“There are different ideas about the usage of the
‘seat area’ during the Sassanid era. Some believe that
this place was a castle, others say it was being used as a
fire temple. The discovery of the remains of this mihrab
will also reveal the usage of the seat area,” explained
This mihrab, which is one of the most ancient Islamic
mihrabs discovered in Iran so far, was built facing Mecca,
a city in Arabia, and was used in order to show the place
and direction of worship. Mihrab is an Arabic derivative
word of Persian Mehrab, i.e. Mithraeum, which has especial
place in pre-Islamic Iranian art
seems that Muslim invaders have incorporated Mihrab into
Islamic faith and Mosque architecture after invasion of
Iran in AD 7th century.
After Muslim’s invasion of Iran, many of Zoroastrian
fire temples converted to mosques and were not used for
other purposes besides worship. The discovery of the
remains of this mihrab dating back to the beginning of the
Islamic period in the historical site of Gur suggests that
the place might have been a holy fire temple which was
changed to a place of worship for the invaders.
At the present, some parts of the historical city of Gur
are under ploughing by the local farmers and nothing has
been done to prevent this cultural devastation. Recently a
base of a pillar and a staircase also unearthed when the
farmers were ploughing the land, which indicates the
important of the site.