Fire Temple of Yazd is one of the unique attractions that represent the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism. In this Fire Temple, an everlasting fire has been burning for more than 1,500 years inside a brick pavilion. This sacred fire is one of the nine flames of Atash Behram (Fire of Victory). Today, you have the chance to visit this sacred monument of Zoroastrians. In this post, we will talk about the significance, facts, and history of this Fire Temple. Also, we will be mentioning other Zoroastrian attractions in Yazd and the best time to visit this Fire Temple.
The Significance of Fire Temples
In Zoroastrianism, they believe that fire, water, air, and earth are the four pure elements. Therefore, preserving it was an important task. Notably, Zoroastrians are not fire-worshippers but rather worshipers Ahura Mazda. Thereby, guarding the fire is symbolic as it represents the light (or son) of Ahura Mazda. According to some researches, the number of Fire Temples started growing when the Sassanid choose Zoroastrianism as their religion. Gradually, the Zoroastrian priests began to differentiate between these fire temples. Eventually, there were three flames of eternal fire in the Islamic period. These Fire Flames were called Atash Behram, Ada-riin, and Diidgiih. As we mentioned earlier, the Fire Temple of Yazd holds one of the flames of Atash Behram. Along with Fire Temples, there are Fire Altars. The difference is that the sacred flame brought to the Fire Altar is only for brief religious ceremonies.
Fire Temple of Yazd’s Facts & History
According to an inscription in the Fire Temple, the building of this temple dates back to 1934. Back then, Reza Khan of Pahlavi ordered the construction of a Fire Temple for the Zoroastrian community in Yazd. Accordingly, a person named Jamshid Amanat took matters in hand. With several trips to India, he finally persuaded the Association of Parsi Zoroastrians of India to fund this Fire Temple. The everlasting fire in the temple, however, has a different story. This fire, burning since about 470 AD during the Sassanid Dynasty, traveled a long way to reach this temple. Below, you can see a summary of the process of bringing a flame of Atash Behram to this Fire Temple.
The history of one of the flames of Atash Behram in Yazd
- The Atash Behram’s flame came to being by gathering 15 holy flames.
- Zoroastrian priests purified the flame through a ceremonial ritual.
- The flame found its original home in Pars Karyan fire temple in Larestan.
- For about 700 years it was placed in Aqda in Ardakan (a city in Yazd).
- They then transferred the fire to Nahid-e Pars in the same city.
- After about 300 years, they brought the flame to a high priest in Yazd.
- Finally, they placed the flame in the Fire Temple of Yazd.
After all these years, the Zoroastrian priests have been preserving this holy fire. Today, though as a non-Zoroastrian, one cannot enter the sanctum area, you can visit this holy fire behind a glass. Below, we will get into the architecture and other parts of the Fire Temple that you can visit.
Points & Architectural highlights of Fire Temple of Yazd
As you enter the complex, you can see an Achaemenid-style Fire Temple with a pond in front of it. The design of the Fire Temple is an inspiration after the famous Persepolis in Shiraz. Also, the simplicity of the Fire Temple mirrors the Parsi Zoroastrian Temples of India. Interestingly, the pond in the middle of the complex represents the element of water (important in Zoroastrianism). Also, there are cedar and pine trees all around the complex that create a pleasing atmosphere.
The Entrance to the Fire Temple
Above the entrance of the Fire Temple, you can see a symbolic tile pattern of a bird-man. This bird-man is Fravashi that is associated with Ahura Mazda. According to some, as a symbol in Zoroastrianism, Fravashi represents the soul of each person. Moreover, each part of this symbol stands for something even more symbolic. As an example, the bird-man is holding a ring that represents loyalty. On separate tiles around the symbol, there are Persian words that are the three main Zoroastrian concepts. These concepts are Good thoughts, Good Words, and Good deeds.
Visiting the Holy Fire
They keep the holy fire within a bronze vessel protected by a glass wall. A Zoroastrian priest named Hirob preserves this fire by feeding it almond and apricot wood several times a day. For securing the purity of the fire, no human shall breathe upon this holy flame. That is why you can only visit the holy fire from behind the glass.
Other parts of the complex
- Vajavand Hall where you can visit a gallery to get to know more about Zoroastrian culture.
- A water reservoir under the hall (Jamshid Amanat build this hall and reservoir in the memory of his wife)
When and where can I visit the Fire Temple of Yazd?
The Fire Temple of Yazd is open to the public every day. Keep in mind that Non-Zoroastrians cannot enter the sanctum area. Also, the western entrance is open to the visitors, and the eastern entrance to the worshipers. The opening hours of the Fire Temple are:
- From 7:30 AM to 9 PM.
As for the location of the Fire Temple, it is on Ayatollah Kashani Avenue. You can reach this street by using the public bus service. Also, Taxis and online Taxi Apps are available in Yazd for getting around.
Attractions near the Fire Temple of Yazd
The Fire Temple of Yazd is in the heart of the ancient city of Yazd. That said, you can visit many historical attractions near this Fire Temple. Also, if you want to visit other Zoroastrian attractions in Yazd, you can visit the Tower of Silence. Accordingly, Tower of Silence is an uncanny Zoroastrian Cemetery in Yazd.
Famous Attractions near the Fire Temple of Yazd are:
- Markar Clock Tower
- The UNESCO Site of Dolat Abad Garden
- Amir Chakhmag Complex.
There are many more historical attractions that you can visit in Yazd. Interestingly, the old region of the city of Yazd became a UNESCO World Heritage city in 2017. You can explore the ancient old-styled alleys and mud-brick houses of this ancient city. Aside from these attractions, you can get more out of your trip to the exceptional city of Yazd. For more information, you can check out our blog post about Yazd, its points of interest & things to do.