Ateshgah – Fire Temple of Baku

The historical architectural reserve – the Fire Temple – Ateshgah is situated in the center of the Absheron Peninsula in Surakhani settlement. The temple is situated in a place where from the ancient times until the XIX century natural gas oozed out of the surface being a reason of the Eternal Flames phenomenon. Historical roots of the temple go to the ancient centuries when Zoroastrianism was a ruling religion. About the construction of the first Ateshgah temple proclaims Mobed Mobedan’s writing on the “Kaaba of Zoroastr” (III century A.D.), which also informs that he founded sacred temples in Transcaucasia region and assigned the priests to serve there. Arab geographer Estakhri in 930 in his “The ways of states” book mentioned that not far from Baku, the settlements of Zoroastrians were existed. But eventually when Islam was asserted as the main religion in Azerbaijan local people desisted to visit the fire temples including Ateshgah which later had been decayed.

Centuries have passed, the Great Silk Road and trade connections of medieval centuries which passed through Azerbaijan connected again the Zoroastrians with the Ateshgah shrine after change of many generations. Traders who visited Azerbaijan after arriving to their homelands talked a lot about the unique phenomenon they had seen – appearance of flames on a ground. So, from the beginnings of the XVII century flow of pilgrims appeared in Surakhani. According to the German traveller E. Kaempfer which visited Azerbaijan in 1683: from the middle of XVII century pilgrims started to rebuild the temple again. In the beginnings of the XIX century the temple received the form which is represented today without any changes. The temple’s plan is five corner complex with an entrance portal surrounded with battlement type walls.

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