Atashgah (Niyasar)
Niasar, Iran
The Atashgah (Fire Temple) of Niyasar is a Sasanian stands on the summit of a hill outside the village of Niyasar, in the vicinity of Kashan, Iran. It is believed to have been built during the reign of Ardashir I, 224-242 CE, although this date is uncertain. The structure takes the form of a chahar-taq, or a cube with one arched opening on each side, surmounted by a dome. Its original function was to hold a sacred fire, and it would have been used both as a beacon for travelers and as a center for religious ceremonies. The building has been heavily restored. 

The temple is a simple square pavilion, with a dome carried on four heavy piers joined by arches. The arches were built simply by bridging the piers, without a keystone. Characteristic of Sasanian architecture, this technique is also seen at a larger scale at the Taq-i Kisra. The dome, which only covers the center of the pavilion, is raised on a low, square drum set in from the piers. Four small squinches brace the corners of the drum on the inside. There is a small window on each side of the drum. Rubble stone and plaster were reinforced with reeds grown on the site to construct the pavilion. The dome was constructed of rubble stone and gypsum mortar, with the support of wooden ribs.

Although fire temples were built with living quarters for priests, the temple at Niasar stands alone. The domed pavilion typology of the fire temples remained in use during the Islamic period, as exemplified by the garden pavilions (hasht bihisht) of the Safavids. 

Sources:

Beheshti, Oxana. Travel Guide to Esfahan, Kashan and More, 190. Tehran: Rowzaneh Publication, 2003.

Boyce, M. "On the Zoroastrian Temple Cult of Fire." Journal of American Oriental Society 95 (1975): 454.

Godard, Andre. The Art of Iran, 181-188. New York, Washington: Frederick A. Praeger, 1965.

Herzfeld, Ernst. Iran in the Ancient East, 301. London: Oxford University Press, 1941.

Keall, Edward. J. "Archaeology and the Fire Temple." In Iranian Civilization and Culture (Charles J. Adams, ed), 15-20. Montreal: McGill University, Institute of Islamic Studies, 1972.

Matheson, Sylvia A. Persia: An Archaeological Guide, 170. Park Ridge, NJ: Noyes Press, 1973.

Monneret de Vilard, Ugo. "The Fire Temples." The Bulletin of the American Institute for Persian Art and Archaeology 4 (1936): 175.

Yamamoto, Y. "The Zoroastrian Temple Cult of Fire in Archaeology and Literature." Orient 15 (1979):19-17.

Record updates:

  • May 16, 2019 (AKDC Staff): Edited data (changed preferred name, added new alternate names); modified description; added references.
Location
Near Niasar, on the Kashan - Dilidjan Road, 28 km out of Kashan, Niasar, Iran
Images & Videos
Events
believed to have been built during the reign of Ardashir I, 224-242 CE
Style Periods
Dimensions
21.4 square meters (area)
Variant Names
Atashgah (Niyasar)
آتشگاه نیاسر
Original
Atashgah-i Niasar
Alternate transliteration
Atashgah-i Niyasar
Transliterated
Ateshgah-e Niasar
Alternate transliteration
Building Usages
temple
religious
Materials/Techniques
stone