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Iranian Zoroastrian Anthropology Museum opens in Kerman


02 July 2005



The Zoroastrian Anthropology Museum was officially opened at the Kerman Fire Temple in the southeastern Iranian city during a ceremony held on June 22 to commemorate the anniversary of the demarcation of the border between Iran and mythical Turan.


It is the first museum of its kind in the country.


The museum was established by the Kerman Zoroastrians Society with assistance from the Kerman Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department.


The museum features exhibits of costumes and equipment used by Zoroastrians during various periods of history and also displays some historical Zoroastrian religious texts. In addition, a number of Zoroastrian customs and religious ceremonies are depicted in the museum.


The ceremony attendees also participated in Tirgan, a festival held annually on the first day of summer for Tishtrya, the God of the Dog Star protecting the clouds that brought rain. Zoroastrians also celebrate the day because they believe that the legendary Persian hero Arash the Archer demarcated the frontier between Iran and the neighboring kingdom of Turan by shooting an arrow on that day.


At the end of the war between Iran and Turan, the Turanians had advanced close to the Mount Damavand area. The Turanians wanted to destroy the spirit of the Iranian people, so they ordered Iranians to shoot an arrow towards Turan, saying that wherever the arrow landed, that would be the new border between Iran and Turan.


Iranian national hero Arash volunteered to shoot the arrow. Arash was to shoot the arrow from the peak of Mt. Damavand (Iran's highest mountain, 30 kilometers northeast of Tehran; height 5671 meters).


On the bright morning of Tirgan, Arash faced north, strained his bow as never before, let the arrow fly and, exhausted, turned into energy and rode with the arrow. The arrow flew the entire morning and fell at noon -- 2250 kilometers away on the bank of the Oxus River in Central Asia.


The river remained the boundary between Iran and Turan for centuries until the Mongolian hordes poured in to push the Iranians southward in the 10th century CE. Arash's body was never found. Travelers who became lost on the mountain still tell stories claiming that they heard Arash's voice, which helped them find their way and saved their lives.  




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