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Historic School Unearthed in Tus




02 September 2005



A team of archaeologists discovered ruins of a historic school during their excavations in the town of Taberan of Old Tus in Razavi Khorasan Province, the director of the team Mohammad Toghraii announced Thursday.


Old Tus is a vast region covering an area of about 60,000 square kilometers consisting of four towns: Taberan (present-day Tus), Nughan (within present-day Mashhad), Radkan, and Taruqaban (present-day Torqabeh). It is bordered in the north by the Hezar-Masjed Mountains and in the south by the Binalud Mountains.


“The archaeologists surmise that the school dates back to Khwarezm-shah dynasty (circa 1077–1231). If the hypothesis is proved, ruins of the school will be the oldest architectural remains of a school existing in Iran,” Toghraii said.


Located in Isfahan, Emamieh School is the oldest one still remaining in Iran, which dates back to 1349.


“The architecture of the school resembles Mongolian style. The initial studies indicate that the school has been reconstructed on its former plan. A number of inscriptions written in Kufic as well as some Achaemenid era bricks have also been discovered in the school,” he said.


Khwarezm-shah dynasty ruled in Central Asia and Iran, first as vassals of the Seljuqs and later as independent rulers. The dynasty was defeated by the Mongols in 1231 and their territories were taken over by them.


“War and bloodshed were dominant on the region during the reign of Mongols and no efforts were made for reconstruction of Khorasan. This fact increases the possibility that it might date back to Achaemenid era. In addition, the earthenware and shards unearthed in the school belong to different eras, which can prove that the school is for Mongol era,” Toghraii explained.


The Nizamiyah School of Khargerd in Khorasan Razavi Province was the oldest school that has been ever recognized in Iran. The French archaeologist Andrea Goddard discovered an inscription in the site, indicating the year of 1058, but he could not find any architectural remains from the school.


Nizamiyahs were educational institutions founded by the powerful Seljuq minister Nizam-ul-Mulk (died in 1092), an Iranian from Khorasan. The institutions were called Nizamiyahs in his honor. The most famous of them, the Baghdad Nizamiyah, was established in 1067.  



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