Sunday, November 16, 2003

Temple of Anahita In Iran

Anahita, or Nahid, was a major deity in the pre-Islamic Iran. She was the protector of water and the goddess of beauty, fertility and fecundity. During the Parthian period Anahita's worship become so popular and venerable that Tiridates I was crowned in her temple. The worship of Anahita in the Kangavar region was particularly so popular that in the first half of the first century AD the Greek geographer, Isidore of Charax, was the first to mention the Temple in his book by the name of Konkobar, refering to it as the "Temple of Artemis".
The temple is located in Kangavar, a small town of great antiquity lying halfway between Hamedan and Kermanshah. Architecture of this temple coincides with palaces and temples built during the Achaemenian period, 550 BC to 330 BC, in western Iran, like Persepolis and palace of Darius in Susa. Large pieces of stone are cut and shaped into blocks of rock. They are placed on top of each other; their shape usually causes them to interlock to form a wall or platform by a mountainside. The colums themselves have an Ionice shape which was vastly used by Greeks in structures like Parthenon ( im not sure who copeid who).
According to classic historians, the temple of Anahita at Ecbatana was a vast palace, four-fifths of a mile in circumference, built of cedar or cypress. In all of it, not a single plank or column stood but was covered by plates of silver or gold. Every tile of the floors was made of silver, and the whole building was apparently faced with bricks of silver and gold. It was first plundered by Alexander in 335 BC, then further stripped during the reigns of Antigonus (BC 325-301) and Seleucus Nicator (BC 312-280).
The site has been dated to the Parthian period based on a number of archaeological pieces of evidence such as pottery, carved stones, and brials typical of the period. Today, houses and streets have been built on its surface and only part of the temple has remained intact being adjacent to the Imamzadeh Mosque.

Map of the location of Kangavar in Iran:
Ancient Drawings:
How it looks Today: