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Takht-e-Soleiman, Treasure of Ancient Iranian History

With over 2,000 years of history, the magnificent archaeological treasures of Takht-e Soleiman signifies cultural heritage of ancient Iranian civilization.
Takht-e Soleiman and its archaeological artifacts, as one of the most notable and celebrated centers for Iranian civilization, has put behind its glorious days of prosperity, and is now lying in peace, quite in the outskirts of Afshar’s mountains, 45 kilometers. northeast of Takab, West Azarbaijan.
The historical region is only reachable through Zanjan-Bijar or Miandoab-Shahindej road toward Qara Bolagh, northeast of Takht-e Soleiman. The historical monument has never been put researched thoroughly by Iranian archaeologists and foreign experts - perhaps because of the long distance.
Takht-e Soleiman used to be a magnificent castle for ancient Iranian preachers called “Mogh” who used to reign during the Ashkanid and Sassanid eras. The historical monument was ruined after suffering from constant attacks by the Roman, Arab and Mongol invaders.
The castle has been constructed around a lake surrounded by stone hedges. In an oval shape it is stretched about 400 meters to the south and 200 meters to the west. The magnificent stronghold consists of a collection of swimming pool and lake, a place of worship, entrance gates, tall columns, hall, place of swearing, fire temples, mineral hot spring, and watch towers. With its purple and blue color, the pool, known as Takht-e Soleiman Lake, is one of the wonders of this historical site. It is about 80 meters wide and 120 meters long. With a depth of 110 meters it flows like a hot spring, pumping out about 100 liters of water every second. From the southern part, the castle looks like a gate with ruined walls - the 3-roofless rooms that used to be a place of worship for ancient Iranians.
Historians believe that the Mongol ruler, Abaqa Khan, Jenghiz Khan’s grandson, converted to Islam after invading Iran and built a mosque on top of the castle, which was ruined in later times. The 7-meter column at the entrance used to be the hall of Khosro Parviz which now has only one column left. About 20 years ago scaffolding was set up around the column to stop it from more damage and possible collapse. Sign of ancient repair jobs are clearly visible on many parts of the column. Known as “Madayen Hall”, the hall used to be a palace for many Iranian monarchs. Series of steps have remained at a memorial site in the northern part of the castle that used to be a place for giving oath.
Diverse Islamic tile-works decorating the walls are so much in place that can be classified into many different architectural schools, the important of which are golden stone tablets, engraved tile-works with blue backgrounds, and gold-plated pictures of mythical animals such as phoenix and dragon. Known as Azar Goshasb and Anahita, the private and public fire temples also narrate their own unique fable. In the book “A Glance at Azarbaijan” written by Muhammad Javad, it is said that Javidan Fire Temple used to burn forever because it was built on top of an oil well - hence the name Javidan (never-ending).
The castle used to be the capital of Azarbaijan in the Sassanid era. The main fire temple had four columns and one dome with crescent ceilings and plaster works. People used to pray in the temple for solving their problems. Anahita Fire Temple which has now only eight columns left, was brought up to the surface by a group of archaeologists from Iran and Germany.
Soleiman Prison, 5 km from the castle, has architectural works in stone and clay that date back to the first millennium B.C. Legend has it that the place used to be a prison for locking up demons on a mountain top during the days of Prophet Soleiman. There used to be an inactive volcano on its top as well. The terrible prison was about 100 meters high and used to discharge an unpleasant smell of gas.
Takht-e Soleiman has two entrance-gates from the south and the north. An archaeological team has been dispatched for the restoration of the ancient palace by West Azarbaijan Cultural Heritage Department.
Currently, the team is focusing on the restoration of the monument , as well as documentation of its artifacts, earthenware, and tile-works. Most of these recovered treasures will be on display at museums in the near future. Over 1,200 artifacts have been discovered from Takht-e Soleiman that have a great historical value for the country.
Lack of regular transportation as well as accommodation facilities are among the major problems for many tourists visiting the ancient complex. Local tourists likewise complain about their little knowledge on the site because of improper advertising methods. This is despite the fact that foreign tourists have more information about the place than their local counterparts.
The governor-general of Takab is convinced that the archaeological and historical treasures in the region should be a good incentive for attracting public and private investments on the industry of tourism in this particular region.
With a population of 85,000 inhabitants, Takab is located in the east-west of ‘West Azarbaijan Province’

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