عنوان مقاله [English]
Čahārṭāq is one of the common patterns of religious architecture in Sasanian period. In the Pahlavi books, this type of architecture is refered to as dome (gunbad). This form is either free standing or the core of a more complex building. The chronology and function of the Čahārṭāqs are still matter of debate by scholares. Our understanding of the formation and development of the Čahārṭāqs in the Sasanian period and its continuation during the early Islamic centuries is still very scanty. In addition, there is no solid evidence to explain the nature of ritual ceremonies conducted within the Čahārṭāqs and the rank of the fire (Vahrām, Adarān, Dādgāh) venerated therein. The study and investigation of Čahārṭāqs structure play an important role in recognizing the architectural and religious traditions of the Sasanian epoch. The study of architectural structures of fire temples alongside the historical sources can lead to know of behavioral patterns in these structures. Recent scholarship has shown that fire temples were always closed buildings and these structures were in the form of complex, and the Čahārṭāq were surrounded by corridors, walls or rooms. In the central regions of Iran-known as Iran Miānak, which is considered to be one of the seven kusts of Iranshahr-, many fire temples have been identified in Qom, Kashan, Natanz and Na’in. They include Nevis, Atashkouh, Niāsar, Khorram Dasht, Vigol, Natanz, Nakhlak, Shirkouh and Qaleh dār. These cultic places have been established at the outskirst of Dasht-e Kavir.The establishment of these fire temples is an indication of the significance and spread of Zoroastrian religion in this area during the Sasanian period. Their architectural structure is a combination of simple buildings to large architectural complexes. These fire temples, built in different geographic locations, have diverse architectural structures and plans. While they have their own independent identity, they share common patterns. Niasar Čahārṭāq is one of the most important fire temples of the Sasanian period in Kashan’s cultural sphere which, despite its reputation, has not thus far been well studied. This fire temple stands on the summit of the Karkas Mountain overlooking the present-day town of Niasar. On the ground of the literary evidence, it seems that this Chahar Taq was a fire temple founded by Ardashir Babakan. Some scholars have attempted to stylistically classify and describe this type of Sasanian religious architecture over the course of the last century. An effort has also been made to offer various interpretations regarding the function of Chahar Taqs. The surface architectural evidence suggests that the Niasar Chahar Taq might have been part of a much larger architectural complex whose remains can clearly be discerned at the present time. Thus, one can refute A. Godard’s theory that the freestanding Chahar Taqs served as a “single station”. The present paper aims to provide detailed descriptions of the architectural characteristics of the Niasar fire temple and its adjacent architectural remains. The paper will also attempt to analyze and discuss the date and function of the Niasar fire temple on the basis of literary texts and architectural comparative studies in particular with The Chahar Taqs in the neighboring regions. It seems that the Niasar Chahr Taq served as a local fire temple given its geographical setting, the architectural structure of the Chahar Taq, and the population texture of Niasar. Furthermore, the presence of the architectural structures adjacent to the Chahar Taq confirms the idea, previously advanced by D. Huff and L. Vanden Berge that the Sasanain Chahar Taqs were originally enclosed rather than open. This paper also seeks to provide a deeper contribution to our understanding of the nature and significance of the Niasar fire temple.