The Zoroastrian religion is one of the oldest monotheist religions that is still alive and, has many followers In Yazd and Kerman. Yazdi Zoroastrians are among the oldest inhabitants of this city. Zoroaster, an Iranian Prophet, lived between 500 and 5000 BC. After several thousand years past and three periods of complete destruction of Iran’s civilization by Alexander Macedonian, Arabs and Mongols, the followers of this religion in Iran are still more than 20 thousand people. In this article, Iran Travels wants to introduce you Zoroastrian tourist attractions in Yazd province. So, Stay tuned.
Yazd Zoroastrian story
Zoroaster is the only prophet that appeared among the Indians and Aryans . Before the advent of Zoroastrianism, the Persians and Indians worshiped a group of Aryan gods. These gods were the forces of nature. But Zarathustra rejected all these gods. From Zoroaster’s point of view, all the greatness of the goddess is specific to Ahura Mazda and HE is the only creator and the almighty God.
The life of Zarathustra and the origin of its religion are not exactly clear probably because of its greatness as well as the influx of different ethnic groups into Iran; so , after Alexander’s invasion and disintegrating the Achaemenid empire, Alexander burns the Avesta’s manuscripts in the palace; and after him the Selukians sought to overthrow this religion from all over the empire. After the annihilation of the Selukians and the Parthians and the coming of a Persian rule in Iran’s plateau, Artaxerxes Babcan gave Zoroastrianism a new life. He ordered that all the remaining copies be collected and several fireplaces appeared throughout Iran again. There are so many Chartaqies throughout the country from this era.
However the Sasanians also faced the Arabs and valuable manuscripts were once again burned in the fire by the Arabs, and the priests and princes escaped to the deserts of Iran; all the palaces, jewels and treasures of the Persian Empire fell to the Arabs. But none of Yazdgerd’s third daughters were caught by the invadors except one.
Zoroastrian shrines after the Arab invasion
Shahrbanoo, the daughter of Yazdgerd III, after being captured, married the third Imam of Shias, she returned to Iran after the happenings of Karbala and hid in the city of Ray which is now one of the common shrines between Zoroastrians and Shias.
Two other daughters of Yazdgerd, ParsBanoo and Mehrbano traveled to Yazd and near Arjnan, the village of Agdalah, the city of Ardakan, Yazd, said farewell to each other. “Mehrbanoo” died due to the difficulty of the road and hunger, and her body was buried in a garden now known as the Mehr farm.( The Zoroastrians of Yazd lit candles in her burial to keep her memory alive.)
Parsbanoo also escaped to the west of the city of Agda and hid in a mountain near the village of Zarjū. There is a rocky crack on this mountain that the Zoroastrians believe that is the place of disappearing of “Parsbanoo” and they built a shrine on that location. It is said that in the past, the dress similar to the scarf was stuck in the cave, which was kept as a consolation and a blessing.
Seti pir shrine
Ardeshir, the youngest son of Yazdgerd, with his mother Katayun, took refuge in the east of Yazd and its ruins. It has been said that Katayun disappeared in a well, behind the Yazd fence. This place has turned into a shrine called “Seti Pir”. Seti Pir shrine ( Asadan castle ) is closest shrine to the city of yazd, located on a sand hill in Maryam Abad, Imam Reza Boulevard, Yazd. Every month the Zoroastrians of Yazd gather on the day of the Passover, especially on Khordad 24th at this sanctuary, and pray to Ahura Mazda.
Shrine’s building is like a castle and the remains of four ancient towers, including 3 shrines, can be seen around it. Seti Pir (Asadan) has been preserved and managed by Forud, Hormozdiar, their fathers and their dependents up to this date. Asadan Castle is one of the tourist attractions of Yazd that was formerly a small mud cabin without a door in the middle of the desert. People need to bend their backs to enter the shrine so their heads wont hit the ceiling. Later, with the efforts of Zoroastrians, in three or four stages, the shrine was repaired and recovered.
Ardeshir also had a fate like his mother and disappeared in the middle of mountains. The “Narestaneh” shrine was built where he disappeared.
Nazbanoo, the other daughter of Yazdgerd III, was hiding in Tijang Mountain after she went to the south of Yazd. The holy shrine “Pir Naraki” was built to commemorate her.
Chak Chak Temple
The most important Zoroastrian shrine belongs the Yazdgerd’s youngest girl. “Nik Banoo”, along with her made, Gohar Banoo, took refuge in the Ardakan Mountains. Nik Banoo, on the hillside near Ardakan, noticed that the Arab army was approaching, so she fled to high mountains to hide from them. And when she diden’t find another escape route asked for help from her God and disappeared in that place where the 1000-year-old tree is today. There is also a sacred fountain in this location.
Other tourist attractions of Zoroastrians in Yazd
Kalantar village in Meybod
Mazrae Kalantar is a village with a historical background and the old water cisterns, water mills and historical pre-Islamic castles in the village testify to this claim. The village, with its traditional texture, seems to have been decorated with adobe domes since the beginning. The sun that has warmed and dried up the weather there has always been a company of the people in there. . In the spring and autumn, the cold returns to the village and in those days, the attraction of the Kalantar Village are multiplied in number. Most of the residents of Kalantar Village in Yazd are native Zoroastrians who still adhere to the traditions of the past and originality.
Fire Temple of Yazd
In the early 20th century, Reza Khan allowed the construction of a fire temple in Yazd so the Zoroastrians can also enjoy a magnificent temple. One of the reasons why this fire temple is important for Zoroastrians is to keep the sacred fire of Verhram on, which is more than 1500 years old and it is very sacred to Zoroastrian followers. Visitors can see the fire from behind the glass because the human’s breath should not contant with ths clean fire.
Silent Tower, Zoroastrian’s Crypt
Zoroastrian’s Crypt is one of the most interesting attractions of Iran that demonstrates old funeral customs.
In the past, Zoroastrians put corpses in these crypts to be eaten by the predators. There was no burying in the ground; because they believed that corpses are filthy and they believed in holiness of the ground, so they never tried burying filthy corpse in the holy ground!
This type of funerals continued for centuries, until the Pahlavi dynasty banned it fully and all of the crypts slowly converted to the shrines. However, there are too many questions and secrets about these crypts and this type of funerals. We will talk about them in more details in the following.
Markar Historical Complex
Markar, is a historical complex built by Pashootan Ji Dusabhai Markar in 1313, early of Pahlavi dynasty era. Pashootan Ji was a big-hearted Iranian who lived in India. He devoted most of his wealth for establishing educational and entertaining facilities. Markar complex consists of a time tower, school and a Zoroastrian museum. If you want to know more about Zoroastrian culture, you must try this!
Holy Tree of Abarkuh, Oldest Living Creature in the World
Some people believe that this tree is living for more than 4500 years and Zoroaster planted its seeds there himself.
Rituals of Entrance into Yazd’s Zoroastrians Holy Places
- Men and Women must be clean and tidy.
- The holiness of these places for Zoroastrians is just like mosques for Muslims; so women cannot enter them in some special periods.
- Zoroastrian men must wear a white hat and women must have a white scarf on their head. They must wear light-colored clothes and before entering, must take off their shoes.
- No one can get close to the holy fire, because it can infect your soul.