Ateshgah Temple, example of Azerbaijani ancient history

By: Laman Sadigova

Media representatives have made a press tour to the Fire Temple of Ateshgah last week.

The visit was organized by the Culture and Tourism Ministry of Azerbaijan and devoted to the upcoming first European Games in Baku.

Ateshgah Temple will be one of the most visited monuments during the European Games in Baku. A torch lighting ceremony was held there on April 26 to mark the inauguration of the journey of the Flame.

The State Historical-Architectural Reserve which is an open air museum located on the Absheron peninsula, 30 kilometers from the center of Baku, is also located on the outskirts of Surakhani.

The journalists were shown a renewed and restored exhibition with interactive historical materials, a streamlined approach to presenting some of Absheron’s artifacts and archaeological findings.

The Temple, revered by Zoroastrians, appeared at the place of “eternal” inextinguishable fires – burning natural gas output. This is why the temple is called “Ateshgah”, which means “House of Fire”, “the place of fire.”

The present church was built on the site of the ancient temples of the Zoroastrians fire-worshipers. These temples were built around II-III centuries. Built on the ruins of the temples of fire worshipers in the XVII-XVIII centuries, “Temple Ateshgah” is one of Azerbaijan’s most sacred monuments and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

In the XVII century 26 cells and a caravanserai were built near the temple. Pilgrims, who visited the temple, had the opportunity to relax in the caravanserai.

Kenul Jafarov, the head of sector of the ministry noted that the country is implementing important preservation projects in order to protect, restore and safeguard its national, spiritual and historical values and transfer them to future generations. A number of Azerbaijan’s historical monuments now figure in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Since September 2012, with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the transformation of the landscape adjacent to the temple area and the construction of auxiliary buildings were carried out.

The architectural complex is a hexagon with serrated outer wall and an entrance portal in the center of the courtyard which overlooks the main square temple – the altar was a place of pilgrimage for the fire-worshipers. Above the entrance portal there is the traditional Absheron guest room – “Balakhani”. The earliest construction of the temple – the caravanserai – dates back to 1713.

SOURCE: Azer News