Julian; A new fire temple from Sassanid era in Abdanan

Document Type : Research Article


1 Ph.D in archaeology.Associate Professor, Department of Archaeology, Bu-Ali Sina University. Hamedan, Iran.

2 Ph.D in archaeology. Assistant Professor, Department of Archaeology, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran


The highland county of Abdanan, located in south of Ilam province, Kabir-Kuh, covers north of this region like a wall. In 2001, a team from the Archaeological Expedition Department of Bu-Ali Sina University conducted a regional survey at this area. Totally, 51 sites were discovered during this survey, through which Julian is one of the most remarkable ones. The newly-found Julian Chahar-Taqi is a fire temple belonging to the Sassanid era. Like many other fire temples of that time, Julian was built with pieces of stone and plaster. This Chahar-Taqi, as the remaining part of the heart of a larger structure, consists of four stone walls of different sizes surrounded by a round passageway. This article seeks to describe this Chahar-Taqi as a fire temple and show its similarities with other similar structures (fire-temples) in Iran. Considering its vast area and specific architectural characteristics, the discovered fire temple of Julian could be studied and discussed from different points of view. However, it is important to note that the study of Julian is in its preliminary basis, and the above subjects are particularly the results of the writer’s field research. More details about the structure and the city of Julian can only be obtained by future surveys and excavations.

It is worth mentioning that the fire of Adoran was praised in Julian fire temple. Preliminary studies enabled us to classify this structure along with some other discovered and excavated fire temples in Iran such as Mil-Milgah, Shian, Negar, Farashband, etc. Also, it may be worth to look at the significant influence of the construction plans for fire temples of this period, especially the ones that were built in the last years of the Sassanids. Examples of such fire temples include Takht-e Soleymān fire temple, which is one of the most important official temples of the Sassanid era.

By Zoroaster’s teachings, the only people allowed to enter the sacred fire temples were high-ranking Moubads (The Magi or the Zoroastrian priests). Beh-Dins, Moubads, and common worshippers would gather in passageways and in front of entrances, watching the ceremony held by the Moubad from apart. Our knowledge about the details of this ritual and the involved processes are based on common Zoroastrian ritual traditions. Even though such ceremonies of today have lost the magnificence of the Sassanid era but there might not be any major difference because of the fact that Zoroastrians always try to preserve the original tenets of their rituals.

Another point about Julian is that it was occupied during the first centuries after the advent of Islam. This is mostly evident through discovered archeological signs specially clay pot pieces. However, it is not clearly understood whether the fire temple were still used, abandoned, or changed during the Islamic era. In addition, the discovery of significant archeological structures belonging to the Sassanid and the early Islamic eras in Pishkouh and Posht-e Kouh regions shows that Lorestan and Ilam provinces may include important clues to describe and analyze this fire temple and most others discovered in Western Iran