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September 20, 2008 | By: alireza
Takht-e Soleyman , Azar Goshnasp Fire-Temple Complex

Takht-e Soleyman "The Throne of Solomon" or "Ganzak" city (Shiz) is the holiest shrine of Zoroastrianism and the former Sassanid Empire. On 3 July 2003, twenty-four sites were inscribed by the UNESCO as a collective World Heritage Site; one of these sites was the Takht-e Soleyman. It is located in the height of 3000 meter in 45 kilometers northeast of the city of Takab, West Azerbaijan province.

The place was obviously chosen for its natural peculiarity; an outcrop of limestone, about 60 m above the valley, built up by the sediments of the overflowing calcinating water of a thermal spring-lake (21° C) with about 80 m diameter and more than 60 m depth on the top of the hill (Damm).

The fortified site is situated in a valley, set amid a mosaic of cultivated fields 250 miles west of Tehran. The site includes the remains of a Zoroastrian sanctuary partially rebuilt during the Ilkhanid period, as well as a temple from the Sassanid ages that was dedicated to the Persian goddess Anahita (modern Persian Nahid). Like many other sites in Iran such as Firouzabad, the designs of the fire temple, the palace and the general layout are thought to have heavily influenced the development of Islamic architecture.

Legend has it that King Solomon used to imprison monsters inside the 100 m deep crater of the nearby Zendan-e Soleyman "Prison of Solomon". Another crater inside the fortification itself is filled with spring water; Solomon is said to have created a flowing pond that still exists today. A 4th centuryArmenian manuscript relating to Jesus and Zarathustra, and various historians of the Islamic period, mention this pond. The foundations of the fire temple around the pond is attributed to that legend.

Archaeological excavations have revealed traces of a 5th century BC occupation during the Achaemenid period, as well as later ParthianSassanid kings, and that of the Byzantine emperor Theodosius II (AD 408-450), have also been discovered there. According to legend, each potential Sassanid ruler journeyed there to humble himself at the sacred fire altar before ascending the throne. settlements in the citadel. Coins belonging to the reign of Solomon's Throne or Sulayman Mountain may also refer to a site located in Osh, Ferghana Valley in southern Kyrgyzstan. It was once a place of muslim pilgrimage. At the summit, there is an ancient mosque built by Bobur in 1510.

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