Zoroastrian and Mithraic Sites of the Caucasus

The Caucasus has acted a vital conduit between the Iranian plateau-Eastern Anatolia axis and Eastern Europe. The photo survey below illustrates the legacy of Iran’s ancient Zoroastrian religion and the Cult of Mithras in the Caucasus.

Baku Fire Temple-UNESCO[Click to Enlarge] The main fire altar at the Atash-kade (Zoroastrian Fire-Temple) of Baku in the Republic of Azerbaijan (known as Arran and the Khanates until 1918) (Picture Source: Panoramio). This site is now registered with UNESCO as a world heritage site. 

 

Garni Temple-Armenia[Click to Enlarge] The Temple of Garni in Armenia. An example of Classical Armenian architecture bearing a Hellenic inspiration, this Temple was first ordered to be built in dedication to Mithras by Tiridates I in approximately 66 CE. The god Mithras in time became merged with the Sol Invictus (Unconquered Sun) of the Roman Empire (Picture Source: Skyscraper City).

 

Tbilisi Ategsha (Fire Temple)[Click to Enlarge] Remains of an “Atash-kade” (Zoroastrian fire-temple) undergoing repairs in Georgia. The cultural ties between Iran and the Caucasus  stretch back for thousands of years (Picture courtesy of Dr. David Khoupenia with caption from Kaveh Farrokh’’s lectures at the University of British Columbia’s Continuing Studies Division – also presented at Stanford University’s WAIS 2006 Critical World Problems Conference Presentations on July 30-31, 2006). For more on the topic of Zoroastrian fire temples in Georgia see Payvand News of Iran: The Northernmost Zoroastrian Fire Temple in the World (in the Republic of Georgia).

 

Baku Fire Temple-UNESCO-2[Click to Enlarge] Another view of the UNESCO registered Atash-kade (Zoroastrian Fire-Temple) of Baku (Picture Source: TravelPro).

 

Citadel of ArmaziA close-up view of the ruins of the citadel of Armazi in Georgia. It is possible that the term “Armazi” is derived from Iranic “Mazda” or “Ahura-Mazda”, the primary spiritual deity of the Zoroastrian faith (Picture Source: Iranboom).

 

Armenian Church built on Fire Temple[Click to Enlarge] Pictures of a Medieval Armenian Church at Goshavank sent to Kavehfarrokh.com by Professor George Nercessian (see article: “Professors Curatolia and Scaria: Dome Architecture and Europe“). This was built on the remains of cyclopean walls, where a Zoroastrian fire temple (Armenian Atrushan =Iranian Atar-Roshan) originally stood. There are many similar sites in Armenia where Churches were built on top of Zoroastrian fire temples (Pictures courtesy of Professor George Narcessian). For more on the topic of Armenian-Zoroastrian fire temples consult CAIS: The Armenian Fire Temple of Ani.