The city of Yazd is clearly associated with Zoroastrianism, dominant religious worship in Persia until the Arab invasion, which brought the Muslim religion around 633 AD.
Zoroastrianism follow the prophet Zoroaster and brings together influences of Greek culture and existing animistic religions in the region. With the arrival of the Arabs to Persia, Islam quickly replaced this religion. However there are about 30 to 100 thousand followers, mainly in the region of Tehran and Yazd.
The Zoroastrian symbol, faravahar (or fravahr), present in Persepolis ruins and which in a way is also adopted as symbol of Persia, represents the principles and teachings of the prophet Zoroaster: good thoughts, good words, good deeds.
- The figure of the old bearded man represents wisdom, experience and maturity of an elder;
- The raised right hand indicates that there is only one way forward in life, and that is the path of righteousness;
- The ring on the left hand represents loyalty and fidelity, basic principles of the Zoroastrian religion;
- The wings, divide in three lines represent the three basic principles “good thoughts, good words, good deeds” that enable the advancement and progress;
- The ring in the center symbolizes the eternity of the universe, the immortality of the spirit and the eternal nature of the soul, having no beginning or end, like a circle.
- The tail, divided into three lines, is “bad thoughts, bad words and bad deeds” that cause suffering and misery to humans;
- The two ropes together to tail represent the good and evil spirits, the forces of good and evil.
From Zoroastrianism last in Yazd the legacy of Ateshkadeh, the Sacred Fire, a flame that is kept burning for over 540 years, and that have been in different locations until in 1931 was built in Yazd the Fire Temple.
The fire as well as water, air and earth are sacred elements for Zoroastrian religion, which means that the bodies are not buried or cremated to avoid contamination of elements of earth and air. Thus, at funeral ceremonies the bodies were left in specific locations to be consumed by vultures. Dakhmeh-ye Zartoshtiyun (Towers of Silence) is one of these sites dating from 5AC and was used until the 60s, when the bodies of the Zoroastrianism followers start to be buried in concrete urns in a nearby cemetery. The site comprises two hills easily reached, where at the top, secured by a circular stonewall is a concavity where the bodies were deposited.
Despite the simplicity of the place, reigns a solemn atmosphere illuminated by the last day of sunshine, offers an unforgettable image.
- Fire Temple (Ateshkadeh): 50,000 rials
- Dakhmeh-ye Zartoshtiyun (Towers of Silence): is being built a wall around the space, is now charged admission ticket in Dakhmeh; however you can walk a little toward the left side to get around the wall and access the East tower in an existing path, a little harder than the main path; from the East tower can get off the normal route and get to the other tower.
Getting to the Fire Temple (Ateshkadeh):
The journey from Masjed-e Jameh Street to the Tempe Fire can be done on foot, taking about 45 minutes; yet within easy orientation and wide sidewalks, the route is not very attractive along big avenues with a succession of shops without interest.
Alternatively you can use one of the buses that pass Iman Khomenei Street (next to the Masjed-e Jameh Street) that pass by Behshsti Square.
Here cross the square to the bus stand located at the beginning of 10 Farvadin Street, where many buses going to Mahrab Square, stopping close to the Fire Temple entrance.
Getting to Dakhmeh-ye Zartoshtiyun (Towers of Silence)
“Towers of Silence” is the tourist name that appears in travel guides, but it’s unknown for local people that call this place by Dakhmeh.
To get there by taxi or more economically by bus.
- In Iman Khomenei Street, next to the Masjed-e Jameh Street is bus stop can stop many bound for Behshsti Square, but this distance can be done on foot.
- Standing in Behshsti Square, look for the stop located at 10 Farvadin Street, spend several bus bound for Mehrab Square, where lies a small local bus terminal.
- At the bus terminal in Mehrab Square, you must look for bus number 319 passing in Dakhmé; not worth asking for “Towers of Silence” because this name has nothing to do with the name given by local people.
Even if it is unknown the number of bus, you can always ask to people who are at the stop, or to the drivers of buses that stop by asking for “Behshsti”, “Mehrab” and “Dakhmé” … in general everybody It is willing to help!
The price of each bus ride is 5,000 rials, and is paid directly to the driver, not getting any ticket. Often they are not charged any ticket to tourists.