Damghan City: His­tory re­flected in ar­chi­tec­ture, art

Iran Daily - - Cultural Heritage & Environment -

Damghan is one of the an­cient cities of Iran which is still stand­ing and in­hab­ited. Here we in­tro­duce the an­cient part and his­tor­i­cal tex­ture of Damghan and its high­lights:

Known as the city of a hun­dred gates, Damghan was a safe cap­i­tal for the Parthian Dy­nasty (247 BCE – 224 CE). Part of the an­cient city walls that used to pro­tect the city and its mon­u­ments are still stand­ing there. It shows the mil­i­tary and po­lit­i­cal im­por­tance of Damghan dur­ing the pe­riod, des­ti­na­tioni­ran.com wrote.

Damghan is the cap­i­tal city of Damghan county, Sem­nan Prov­ince, 342km east of Tehran. Mer­chants and busi­ness­men have vis­ited this city be­cause it is lo­cated on the Silk Road. This is the rea­son why there are rem­nants of sev­eral car­a­vansaries, cas­tles, and tow­ers in the his­tor­i­cal quar­ter of Damghan.

In an­cient times, Damghan was the main ex­porter of cop­per. Arche­ol­o­gists have also ex­ca­vated many cop­per ar­ti­facts in the re­gion, in­di­cat­ing the skill of the re­gion’s crafts­men.

Tarikhaneh Mosque

Damghan has nu­mer­ous his­tor­i­cal sites due to its sig­nif­i­cant geo­graph­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal as­pects. Tarikhaneh Mosque is one of the most im­por­tant sites lo­cated in the his­tor­i­cal quar­ter of the city. The stud­ies con­ducted on the mosque show that the build­ing was ini­tially used as a fire tem­ple dur­ing the Sas­sanid era around 650 CE. Later, when Mus­lims dom­i­nated the area, they con­verted it into a mosque.

About two cen­turies af­ter the ad­vent of Is­lam in Iran, Mus­lims re­stored Tarikhaneh Mosque based on the Sas­sanid de­sign and styles. The mosque con­sists of a large court­yard sur­rounded by cov­ered por­ti­cos. The main shabestan (pray­ing hall) of the mosque is planned with three rows of six cir­cu­lar columns. The ar­chi­tects had de­signed spec­tac­u­lar arches for this mosque based on the Sas­sanid styles.

The mosque has un­der­gone some changes and mod­i­fi­ca­tions dur­ing dif­fer­ent pe­ri­ods. The brick minaret of the mosque, which was added to the build­ing dur­ing the Seljuk pe­riod, is a spec­tac­u­lar one pro­vid­ing a unique im­pres­sion. The Tarikhaneh Mosque, dat­ing back to the eighth and ninth cen­turies, is one of the most prom­i­nent ex­am­ples of tan­gi­ble cul­tural her­itage in Iran.

Tappeh He­sar

Of the his­tor­i­cal trea­sures in Damghan one must re­fer to the valu­able Tappeh Hes­sar which is thought to be a gar­ri­son. Prof. Hertzfeld, be­tween 1931-1933, and Dr. Sch­midt from 19331938, were the first ar­chae­ol­o­gists who ex­plored the site.

Tappeh Hes­sar with sev­eral lay­ers of civ­i­liza­tions has a long his­tory. The lay­ers in­clude set­tle­ments of Medes Dy­nasty and Achaemenid era, as well as Parthian and Seleu­cid pe­ri­ods, when the site saw its best days.

His­tor­i­cal ex­ca­va­tions have shown that the his­tory of Damghan starts be­tween 5th and 4th mil­len­nium BC. Car­bon 16 iso­tope in­spec­tions in Tappeh Hes­sar have re­vealed an age of 7,000 years for some ar­ti­facts.

Che­hel Dokhtar Tower

Che­hel Dokhtar tower is an old struc­ture lo­cated at the his­tor­i­cal tex­ture of Damghan with ex­clu­sive fea­tures. It is known as a tan­gi­ble cul­tural her­itage of Iran.

The tower is a 15-me­ter struc­ture with sev­eral unique Is­lamic ar­chi­tec­ture fea­tures that were built in the 10th and 11th cen­turies. It has a di­am­e­ter of about 5.5 me­ters oc­cu­py­ing an area of 23 me­ters. Other im­por­tant fea­tures of the tower are its del­i­cate brick­works and 10th-cen­tury Kufic in­scrip­tions dec­o­rat­ing its fa­cade.

Is­maili Forts

There are two Is­maili forts built on top of two moun­tains, north of the city, be­long­ing to the es­o­teric sect of Is­mail­ism. The first, be­ing 5km off the city, is on the sum­mit of Gerd­kuh Moun­tain. The se­cond, known as Mehrne­gar Fort, is on Mansurkuh Moun­tain, 22km north of Damghan.


Cheshme-ali, 30km north of the city, is one of the per­ma­nent springs in Damghan. Thanks to ver­dant fo­liage a pleas­ant cli­mate this re­gion has been fre­quented by peo­ple since an­cient times. Dur­ing the Qa­jar pe­riod many build­ings were con­structed in Chesh­meh-ali among which the palaces of Fath-ali, Shah and Aqa Mo­ham­mad Khan still stand. Fathali Shah’s palace is built in the mid­dle of a la­goon, be­tween the first and se­cond springs; across from Aqa Mo­ham­mad Khan’s palace.

Tarikhaneh Mosque wikimedia.org

Tappeh He­sar makan­bin.net

Che­hel Dokhtar Tower des­ti­na­tioni­ran.com

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