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Esfahan’s Juybareh, Old as Cyrus the Great


24 November 2006




Edited by Shapour Suren-Pahlav


LONDON, (CAIS) -- The forgotten district of Juybareh (jūybārә) in the ancient city of Esfahan is one of the oldest residential quarters in Iran that has been occupied since the time of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the second Iranian dynasty, the Achaemenids (550-330 BCE), which has received no attention whatsoever from the cultural authorities.


“According to historical accounts, the Jews from Babylon were brought here when Cyrus the Great freed them from captivity in 6th century BCE, and were settled here since then”, according to Mehdi Sajadi-Naeini a researcher and local historian.


“From 21 synagogues in Esfahan, 16 of them are located in the Juybareh district, the famous ones being, Esterā-khātūn, Golbār and Malāniān”, according to Sajadi-Naeini.


“Although, the exact date of these synagogues have not been established yet, there is enough evidence to suggest, some the synagogues date back to the pre-Islamic era”, added Sajadi-Naeini.


Since the Achaemenid times, the Jews brought from Western Satrapies into mainland Iran, had been dissolved into Iranian society, and subsequently they have become Iranian.


“It is heart breaking – some people, sometimes cannot understand that Judaism is my religion and not my nationality - I am an Iranian Jew, just like an Iranian Muslim, or an Iranian Zoroastrian” said Manuchehr Yaghubian, an affluent businessman from Juybareh.


His son Shahram added, “unfortunately the media is not helping too, especially the Western media –It seems Israelis have falsified a race and nationality out of our faith - some people think that I should have some connection with Israel – it is insulting, it is like me calling Iranian Muslims “Arabs”, just because their faith comes from Arabia or their holiest religious-place located in Arabia – I like to visit our holy places in Jerusalem, as much as a Muslim wish to visit Mecca – I am an Iranian as much as them”.


Unfortunately many of the ancient Jewish religious structures were destroyed and replaced with new ones. The district requires an archaeological survey to be carried out, to salvage and revive its’ pre-Islamic formation.

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