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Yazd's Zoroastrian Dakhma Registered as National Heritage


News Category: Cultural

 29 October 2005


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Head of Yazd Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department, Mohammad-Reza Hosseini said that the Zoroastrians mass graveyard in Yazd province was recently registered as a national monument.

According to a report released by the provincial department, this graveyard is one of the most ancient of its kind ever known.

"The mass graveyard, in which the Zoroastrians laid the bodies of their lost ones in old days, was endowed to the cause. Therefore, it was taken by Zoroaster's disciples as a sacred site.

"Up to a half century ago, according to the Zoroastrian rituals, dead bodies were laid at the site in order to be eaten by vultures.

"The bones left over from the corpses after being torn apart by vultures were then laid in a well situated in the middle of the mass graveyard," he added.

He noted that afterwards, the interior of the mass graveyard was cleaned and disinfected in a ceremony to be reused. Other mass graveyards in Yazd province include Cham graveyard in Taft, Firouzabad graveyard in Sadough and Ardakan graveyard.

"Unlike other provincial mass graveyards, this one is quite small and its entrance is located to the west instead of the east as is common, because of the limited space.

The Prophet Zarathushtra was born in the East of Iranian world, possibly in Balkh in 3,800 years ago. According to holy scriptures, at the age of 30, he was chosen as prophet by God (Ahuramazda) to invite the people to righteousness and the path of truth. His three principle divines are "Good Thoughts", "Good Words" and "Good Deeds". He was martyred by Turbratour at the age of 77, as he was praying along with a number of his disciples at Balkh Fire Temple.

His burial place is said to be at the modern Afghan city of Mazar-i Sharif (the burial of the noble-one). About 5,000 individuals out of the remaining 30,000 Zoroastrians residing in Iran live in the provincial cities of Yazd, Taft and Ardakan.