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Parseh J Archaeol Stud 2017, 1(1): 75-86 Back to browse issues page
Karkooy, Firouzbahram Fire Temple in Sakestan
Reza Mehr Afarin1, Zahir Vasegh-e Abbasi2
1- Associate Professor, Department of Archaeology, University of Mazandaran , Reza.mehrafarin@gmail.com
2- Ph.D Candidate, Faculty of Art and Architecture, University of Mazandaran
Abstract:   (7532 Views)
Sistan is a plain land in east of Iran and today an extensive part of it is located in Afghanistan. In Parthian period, the region was an important natural, economic and religious zone and the homestead of one of the greatest Parthian families, Soren Pahlav. In Sassanid period, Sistan was called Sakestan and due to its special region, it was ruled by the Sassanian prince Sakan shah who ruled upon vast Koost of Nimrooz. Sassanians not only centralized the political power but also they used Zoroastrianism as the official religion of the country and severely defended it so that state and religion became two inseparable brothers which support and uphold each other. At the commence of the new period, Sistan was attended by the Sassanian monarchies because of the new religious basements of it. In the few texts remained of Sassanid period Sistan is introduced as a very significant region. In Khorde Avesta, Atashbahram, in the twentieth paragraph, after three magnificent fires, fire of Karkooy is alluded (Doostkhah, 1375: 607). In Bondahesh also fire of Karkooy is mentioned related to the three magnificent fires (Faranbaghdadegi, 1369). In Islamic narratives Karkooyeh is known as a private temple of Garshasb and the author of “The History of Sistan” writes: Zoroastrians know it as a holy place and believe that Garshasb left his divine spirit there and made it a holy place by it.
Keywords: Sistan, Zoroastrianism, Fire Temple, Karkooy, Ancient relics

The remnants of Karkooyeh or Karkooshah fire temple is twenty kilometers in west-north of Zaranj and in the left of it there is a branch of Hirmand river near Miyankangi region. This ancient building is interrelated to the culture and history of the region and the identity of it is still remained firm. The people of the region know Karkooyeh fire temple very well and narrate lots of tales about it.
Some of European scholars and counselors like colonel Yeat in 1894 have visited this place. Sir Percy Siecs in 1899 considered this place as the capital and the main temple of Kiyaniyan and in 1905 Georg Peter Tit, the topographer of Gold Smith team studied the detailed architectural features of it.
The geographers of the first decades of the Islamic period considered Karkoo a noteworthyregion and Ibne Khordadiyeh in third century H.gh counted it as a county of Sistan. Before the occupation of Sistan by Arabs, Karkooy and Targhoon fire temples were extensively important temples. Arabs stifled the temples and suffocated the holy fires. Most probably the Muslim Arabs neglected the little temples and suffocated the great and important ones to evince the predominance of Islam (Tit, 1362: 122).
Among the geographers the most amount of information was presented by Simaye-Karkooyeh, Zakariya Mohammad Ibne Ghazvini who lived in seventh century the AH. But it is not clear whether he describes the structure as it is in his age or he narrates it from what he heard from the ancestors: “Karkooyeh is an old city of Sajestan. There are two domes in it. The people believe that they belong to the age of Rostam and at the top of them there are two curved horns like the ones of a thorn. They are the wonder of the land from the age of Rostam. Under the domes there are two temples for Magians. It seems that they put up somewhere as a temple near their houses and the fire never suffocates there. And there are servants for these temples who kindle the fire by turn and sit up far from it while covering their noses and mouths and silver tongs in their hands put wood in fire and before it subside put another one in it and this is the biggest temple for magians.”(Ghazvini, 1371: 321)
According to the local studies, some cultural materials like tiles were obtained from this region to estimate the history and record of establishment in this ancient and religious land. After the typology tests and sorting them, they were studied by comparison. It shows that Tepe Karkoo was established from the Parthian period and it went on till eighth century AH (Musavi Haji, Mehrafarin, 1386: v.3). There is nothing remained of the Sassanid fire temple but from the structure of this period (the main building of the temple) some parts of a brick wall is visible; the other parts of it are under ground and the remnants of the Islamic period. Detailed study of it and drawing the outline of the plan of the fire temple is possible only through later archeological excavations.

Natural factors like wind, rain, severe sunshine, flood and especially human beings always had a destructive effect upon the structure.
Illegal excavations are a main reason for the destruction of the establishment. These excavations which are done by smugglers and predators of the cultural legacy cause severe destruction of the temple.
Deep roots of Zoroastrianism in this region, wealth and strong settlement of it, the strategic situation and presence of the prince, caused the establishment of such a huge and important fire temple in this region. According to the texts and books of the historians and geographers of the first decades of the Islamic period it seems that Karkooy village of today is the same Karkooy (Sassanid holy fire temple) which is mentioned in Khorde Avesta and Bondahesh and the town which is talked about in the books of Ibne Hoghal, Maghdasi, Estakhri and Hamdollah Mostofi and was alluded to lots of time in the historical texts.

Keywords: Sistan, Zoroastrianism, Fire Temple, Karkooy, Ancient relics
Full-Text [PDF 439 kb]   (1188 Downloads)    
Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special Archeology
Received: 2018/05/6 | Accepted: 2018/05/7 | Published: 2018/05/7
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Mehr Afarin R, Vasegh-e Abbasi Z. Karkooy, Firouzbahram Fire Temple in Sakestan. Parseh J Archaeol Stud. 2017; 1 (1) :75-86
URL: http://journal.richt.ir/mbp/article-1-27-en.html

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فصلنامه مطالعات باستان شناسی پارسه Parseh Journal of Archaeological Studies
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