عنوان مقاله [English]
Religious monuments from ancient period have played an important role in the formation of spatial structure of cities and villages. Archaeological excavations and available historical evidence show that religious sites in historical periods, especially the Sassanid period, have been one of the centers of people for religious ceremonies. One of the important findings of archeological excavations in Isfahan province is a religious building called Vigol fire temple, which was found in excavations of M.Javari in 2010, in 10 kilometers southeast of Aran and Bidgol cities. The materials of this building are unlike with other buildings of its age and has cross-shaped and cruciform plan. In middle of the Vigol fire temple, a fire base consisting of two square platforms and a gypsum columnar stem with spoon-shaped grooves is made of gypsum and rubble. In this regard, the present article has been discussed and analyzed with the aim of recognizing and comparing the architectural aspects of Vigol fire temple with some fire temples in different regions. Therefore, the present study is based on the purpose of basic research and based on the nature and method, historical and analytical research; The required information has been collected through two methods of documentary and field studies and is trying to answer the leading questions: 1. Is it possible to prove its use as a fire temple based on the evidence left from the architecture of this building, and what kind of fire in this fire temple was lit according to historical sources? 2. Has the architectural plan of the Vigol fire temple followed a specific pattern? The results showed that the analysis and comparison of the architectural style of Vigol fire temple with other contemporary Sassanid examples shows the similarities of this work such as architecture or fire base in its construction has used a pattern similar to Sassanid examples and with the presence of neighboring architectural remains, including the twirling Corridor, can be considered the use of a fire temple for it. Also, due to the degree of fire in this period, the fire that was worshiped in this place was probably of the local fire type (Âdorân).
Keywords: Sassanid Period, Aran and Bidgol, Vigol Fire Temple, Vigol Fire Base, Cruciform Plan.
Sasanian dynasty (224-652) ruled a land which today consists of Iran and Iraq (the heart of Iranshahr) with the victory of Ardashir I over Artabanus IV (213-224). In this period, the central government’s focus on religious homogeneity caused the establishment of religious centers throughout the country, belonging to a belief system today known as “Zoroastrianism”. During Sasani Empire, in addition to the building of major, significant fire temples such as Adur Gushnasp in Takht-e Soleyman, Adur Burzen-Mihr, and Azar Farnbaq, various chahartaqs were built as well in which religious events were held. As an example, Vigol can be mentioned which belongs to the recently-excavated site of the south-east of Aran and Bidgol in the north of Isfahan. Vigol Fire Temple is one of the most prominent examples of Sassani religious architecture, and thus, the following questions are supposed to be answered in this study.
The Questions of the Study: This study aims to answer the following questions: 1. Based on the ruins of the architecture of this site, can it be considered to have been a Fire Temple? What kind of fire had been lit in there? 2. Does the architectural plan of Vigol Fire Temple follow a certain pattern?
Objective and Significance of the Study: The purpose of this research is to present the architectural features of Vigol Fire Temple and then to compare its archeological and architectural features with other Sasani fire temples. The significance of this study is that the study of this fire temple will lead to a better understanding of Aran and Bidgol regions (central Iranian plateau) during the reign of Sasanis.
Research Method: The present study is a historical one concerning its nature and method. Data collection has occurred through field study and document analysis.
Text of the Paper
Vigol archaeological site is located in the south east of Aran and Bidgol, in Isfahan province. It is about 100 hectares; two ancient castles were detected in the east and the west side of the site in the 2007 probe by Mohsen Javari. The other artifacts are left under the sands. The following will focus on one particular aspect of this site which is the presence of a fire temple.
Vigol Sasani Fire Temple
The most important finding in the excavation is Vogol building with a cross design in 11*10 meters. The direction of the building is along with the north-west/south-east axis. In building this structure, clay and mud is used as the sole material. The floor and the dado have been covered with a thin layer of red plaster up to 70 centimeters. The architectural plan has four entrances the sizes of which do not overlap and makes the plan even more similar to other chahartaqs from the Sasani period.
Vigol Fire Bases
Located in the center of the building is the fire base. This plaster base is strengthened by two lower platforms and also by the extra plaster and rubbles in its body. In the center of its body, there is a circular hole of 10*5 which is probably where they inserted a metal rod and installed the fire and its brazier. The square beneath this brazier is 180*180 centimeters, the platform above it 147*147, and the diameter of the lower base 133 which ends to 50 in the highest point. Generally speaking, understanding the dates and chahartqs and ascribing them to the Sasani period with a fire temple use is one of the difficulties in analyzing the religious architects of this era. To avoid mistakes and to have an accurate dating, a relative dating can be used and then compared to other contemporary buildings of that era.
In Sasani fire temples, different platforms are seen with various shapes and heights which are considered as the tools of the temple. The spoon-shape design thus create on the body of the Vigol base is comparable to the bases of Palangerd and Shian fire pots (which are both located in Islam Abad fire temples), Bandian in Dargaz, Emam Zadeh Mohammad Vali Beyg in Dargaz, Emam Zadeh Hasel Nezami, Cham Namesht, Darreh Shahr, Tooran Tapeh, Gorgan and the pot in Kaka village in Gonbad-e Kavus, Tapeh Kahriz, Aran and Bidgol, Tol Shahid, and Borazjan.
The analysis and comparison of the architectural style of Vigol fire temple with other buildings of Sasani reign which are mentioned in the Chronology, Use and Comparison section illustrate this structure’s similarity to other buildings of that time in various aspects such as the map. According to Dietrich Huff’s divisions, this complex can be considered a second-group Sasani chahartaq, since the walls of its circumambulation corridor have become visible in the excavation projects and most probably, this building can be presented as a religious center as a fire temple from Sasani era. The discovered fire base in Vigol like other fire bases of Iran in that time has two symmetrical cones on the top and bottom which are designed with spoon-like patterns or date-like designs created by a vertical threads ending to a circular shape. The fire of the Sasani fire temples divide into three groups: the victorius fire of Bahram, local fire or Adaran, and the court or domestic fire. Apparently, Vigol fire (or the ones in more simplistic fire temples) are from the Adaran type which based on Zoroastrian teachings, only their priests were allowed to enter.