& CULTURAL NEWS OF IRANIAN WORLD©
Original Floor Found
13 July 2006
(CAIS) -- The original floor of Iran’s first mosque
called ’Tarikhaneh’ was unearthed during excavations to repair the outer
boundaries of a present-day mosque in Damghan, Semnan province.
brick-covered floor of the mosque was unearthed on the northwestern and
northeastern parts of the mosque.
According to Persian Service of CHN, discovery of the original floor prompted
experts to suspend repair works and embark on emergency excavations at the
Director of Damghan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Office, Maryam Davoudian said
that there is a narrow aisle on the northeastern part of the building which
looks like a waterway and the bricks spread on the floor date back to Ghaznavid
She said that the surface of the southwestern floor is exactly on the same scale
as the central floor of the structure and the symmetry of the floor can be
determined by measurement devices.
Archeologist Zarrin-Taj Sheibani from the Archeology Research Center, who is
specialist in Islamic archeology, visited the mosque and confirmed the discovery
of original floor in her report.
General of Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department in Semnan Province Abbas
Kashian said that he requested permission for emergency excavation at the site
from the Archeology Research Center. He said that repair of the monument will be
carried out after the emergency excavations.
ancient times the city of Damqan in its period of splendor, was the most
important city on the main Silk Road. In the Parthian dynastic era, the city was
the central capital of the Arsacids. The Greek had named the city (Hegatempolis)
which meant the city of a hundred gates.
The discovery of ancient monuments such as Tapeh-Hesar gives evidence of the
importance of this city. Such discoveries also give evidence of a four thousand
year old Aryan civilization in this region.
The intense prejudice of the Sasanian dynasty against their predecessor, the
Arsacid dynasty was the main cause behind the destruction of this immense center
of civilization, while ironically both dynasties declared to be the heirs of the
Achaemenid civilization. Of the one hundred gates which surrounded the capital
of the powerful Parthian empire, not one remains.
After the advent of Islam in Iran, the only Sasanid monument of this region, the
Tarikhaneh fire temple, was turned into a mosque. Tari-khana Mosque, 8th
century, is the oldest extant mosque in Iran and although in the simple Arab
plan it retains many elements recalling Iran's pre-Islamic heritage. The massive
piers and the shape of the arches follow Sasanian prototypes.
Although its foundation dates from the eighth century and it has been restored
on several occasions, the mosque still keep its original plan and impressive
The architectural changes of the interior of the Tarikhaneh are related to the
social changes in Damqan during the fall of the Sasanid Empire. The
transformation of the fire temple into a mosque goes back to the end of the
second century and beginning of the third century, when the House of Espahdan
Bavandi of Hezarjarib- a city in the province of Mazandaran converted the
Zoroastrian neighboring cities to Islam.
Twenty-six of the original forty columns are still standing and in spite of the
original structure being Zoroastrian, the architects who reconstructed the
interior to build a mosque, have captured the soul and simplicity of the first
Islamic mosques in Iran.