Introduction to Zoroastrians Fire Temple
The city of Yazd embraces countless attractions, each of which has a philosophy and a reason for its emergence. The Zoroastrians Fire Temple is one of the city-sights in Yazd that contains a pleasant and peaceful atmosphere and is historically, culturally, and architecturally inspiring. The element of fire has played a significant role in human life; in the past, a fire temple was a place where residents of a town or village kept a fire burning so that fire could be available to them whenever they needed it. After the arrival of Zoroastrianism in Persian, fire temples found a religious status, and the most prominent religious shrines were built for fire.
History of Zoroastrians Fire Temple
Zoroastrians Fire Temple has historically consisted of two parts. The mansion and the fire. The Yazd Fire Temple was built during the first Pahlavi era when Reza Khan expressed his satisfaction with a fire temple’s construction in Yazd so that Zoroastrians could also enjoy a magnificent place of worship. The place is also known as the Fire Temple of Varham and the Fire Temple of Bahram. According to historical records, the religious place, where the 1500-year-old fire of Yazd is, was built in 1934 with the consent of the king, Reza Khan Pahlavi, and a group of Zoroastrians on a 7,000 square meter land. A man named Hamabai devoted a lot of money to this project. The Amanat brothers and several other well-known Zoroastrians also provided large tracts of land to the king to build a fire temple as soon as possible. Persian engineers layout the building, and Arbab Jamshid Amanat, one of Amanat’s brothers, oversaw and supervised the construction; finally, people moved the ancient sacred fire to the fire temple in 1939.
The holy fire of Zoroastrians Fire Temple
There were three fires in the monument, which because of their antiquity and splendor, were called the fire of Varham, meaning fire of victory. According to them, the fire of Varham fights with lies, hypocrisy, and destruction. One of the fire temples responsible for protecting the fire of Varham is known as the fire temple of Azar Faranbagh, which was in the Kariyan, Fars. Unfortunately, the officials and bodyguards of the fire were forced to move it to the grand fire temple of the city due to the enemies’ attack on Yazd in the tenth century. However, the fire temple was destroyed in 1102 and forced the Zoroastrians to relocate the holy fire.
They went to the Eshkaft Cave between Aqda and Pars Bano in Yazd province to protect the fire of Varham from enemies for 30 years. The residents of Yazd also moved the fire from village to village for 200 years so that it would not fall into the hands of strangers. The Turkabad Village near Ardakan was built in 1327, and most of the Zoroastrians of Yazd, especially the priests (Zoroastrian clerics), moved to that area. The Zoroastrians Fire Temple was also transferred to Turkabad, kept and protected in the village for 300 years.
Although Zoroastrian clerics transferred the holy fire to Sharifabad at the beginning of the Zoroastrian separation in Turkabad village, they returned it to Yazd in 1775. The Zoroastrians were forced to keep the sacred fire in the house of one of the great priests, Azargoshnasp shooter, privately. Ultimately, it became possible to place it in the current fire temple during the Pahlavi era.
Visit the Holy Fire of Zoroastrians Fire Temple
You can visit the fire of the stunning fire temple; But like other religions, there is a hierarchy before worship. To enter the place, Zoroastrians use white hats and scarves, as well as light-coloured clothes. It is also necessary to observe orderliness and cleanliness. Also, no one should blow in this fire and contaminate it. All visitors amaze by the fire burning for many years. They also smell the fire while looking through the glass.
The fire is kept in a large bronze container above ground level, inside a glass enclosure. The sacred fire is located in a large room away from the sun. Additionally, there are rooms for worship and rituals around the fire room. The authorities of the valuable Zoroastrian mansion have entrusted the task of keeping the temple’s fire to a safe and trusted person known as Hirbod, the head of the Zoroastrians Fire Temple. He adds a piece of dry wood to maintain the fire several times a day that is more resistant than other woods, such as almond and apricot wood.
Architecture of Zoroastrians Fire Temple
The Zoroastrians Fire Temple were designed simply and built without any indulgences or decorations. The Zoroastrian fire temple of Yazd layout is based on the hierarchy and spatial zoning of fire temples in India (the Parsis); however, the architectural style is like other constructions built in the desert areas of Iran. The mansion is in the centre of the courtyard, surrounded by evergreen trees. The pond in front of the main building is one of the characteristics of fire temples, the presence of water close to fire temples. The main building of the fire temple is 21 meters above the ground, and you have to go up to eight steps to reach the entrance.
Sights of Yazd Fire Temple
Faravahar or Forouhar or Fravashi is a force or part of Ahura Mazda, the only God in the Persian Zoroastrian religion. According to such a belief, the force or energy exists before the creation of any creature and ascends to the celestial world with its death.
The painting of Forouhar and the stone capitals have created a unique virtue in the space, dazzling the eyes of every viewer. It seems that some artists from Yazd province had done the tiling in Forouhar’s painting above the entrance of the Zoroastrians Fire Temple. In front of the main building, stone capitals are decorated with flowery stones, which is the art of Isfahan craftsmen; They carved the stones in Isfahan and then transferred them to Yazd. Upon entering the temple, you will see walls embellished with images of Zoroaster and quotes from the Avestan Bible.
The hall and the water reservoir built by Jamshid Amanat in the fire temple complex were in memory of his wife in 1939, but it was destroyed due to erosion after many years. However, in 2002, engineer Parviz Varjavand renovated the hall, and since then, the building has been known as Varjavand Hall. The hall has become an exhibition where you can learn more about Zoroastrians, their traditions, and religious customs. Models have been made there, each wearing traditional Zoroastrian costumes. Zoroastrian prayer and the Navjote or Sedreh Pushi ceremony (the ceremony performed for teenagers who have reached the age of puberty to attend their religious rituals) are well displayed in the exhibition. So you can follow the custom, learning more about the Zoroastrian religion there.
Reservoir or Ab Anbar
The reservoir is on the lower floor of Varjand Hall. In the past, it was responsible for storing and supplying water to the residents of the fire temple. Now at the entrance of Ab Anbar, you can see an exhibition of related images of Zoroastrians, such as their particular customs and ceremonies. At a corner of the exhibition, you have to go down the stairs to enter the reservoir. The end of the staircase was blocked in the past, but after the necessary renovation, tourists can visit the place today.