When I heard the name of Yazd Zoroastrian crypt, I first went to his photos to see what it looks like. What surprised me was that my perception of the crypt was one thing, and the crypt he was talking about was another. I read a little more about it and in the meantime I came across some documentaries about the Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd. In the 1978 documentary Bad Saba, directed by Albert Morris, there were images of Yazd crypts. At first glance, everything was scary to me, a circular space in a tower at the top of the mountain, like a cemetery where Zoroastrians put their dead to be eaten by birds. But the story gradually became interesting to me. I put aside my fears and went to the cause, I read about Zoroastrian religious beliefs and rituals.
You must be curious to know more about what I have read and seen. The Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd is a much stranger structure with a strange and practical architecture that many of you probably did not know existed. In this article from Alibaba Tourism Magazine , everything you need to know about the cave, its function and how to build it is explained, and finally A complete introduction to the Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd is provided.
Where is the Zoroastrian crypt?
Yazd, 15 km southeast of Yazd, Safaieh area, at the end of Shahidan Ashraf Boulevard, Dakhmeh Mountain
What is the best time to visit the crypt?
Considering that Yazd is one of the tropical cities of Iran, the best time to visit the crypt is from early March to May.
Why did crypts come into being?
Zoroastrians consider soil a sacred element and believe that the body of a dead person contaminates the soil. For this reason, the crypts were used as a place to place the dead so that they could be eaten by the birds and completely destroyed.
Where is Yazd Silence Tower?
The Silence Tower of Yazd is the same Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd, which was in fact two cylindrical towers for the dead.
What does crypt mean?
Talking about the Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd requires a lot of preparation, what the crypt is, what it means and when the use of the crypt began. The first thing we need to know about it is enough information about the word (crypt). You will probably find different meanings for this word by searching the vocabulary: “Moghan cemetery and the house that is empty, the master, the Zoroastrian cemetery, the crypt where the corpses of the dead are buried, the underground houses for the dead, and even today” The term is also used to refer to scary and dark places. If you read the rest of the article, you will find that all of these meanings are the same and will give you the same picture of the crypt.
If I want to talk about the use of crypts in the past, I have to start from the time of ancient Iran. Based on the evidence, it seems that in ancient times, corpses were left in an inaccessible place and there was no such thing as a crypt.
The use of the word dakhmeh dates back to the time of the Aryan tribes; At that time, in a Hindu-like ritual, corpses were cremated in a place called the crypt, where the word crypt means burial place.
In Zoroastrian times, cremation was obsolete and another method was used to destroy the corpse. In Zoroastrianism, death is a way to fight the devil, so the body should be placed where the devil is. In addition, they believed that burying the body in the soil would contaminate the sacred element of the soil. Became a place to place corpses.
According to the evidence, Reza Khan banned the placing of corpses in the crypt during the Pahlavi era, and burial replaced this method. It is interesting to know that even after the ban, this method was used in some cities such as Kerman and Yazd until the 1320s and 1340s, and the exact time of its end is not known.
Why did the Zoroastrians create the tombs?
Due to Zoroastrian beliefs about the impurity of corpses and the importance of the sacred element of the soil, it was not possible to bury the dead, so crypts were used. Zoroastrians placed corpses in crypts to be eaten and destroyed by animals and birds in the shortest possible time. Finally, the remaining bones were kept in a special place.
The construction of the crypt was either natural and due to natural events, or it was built by humans in a roofless place, outside the city and in the reach of carnivorous animals. At first, the crypts were located in such a way that both birds and Predators had access to the corpse, but the passage of time changed the structure of the crypts, little by little the crypts were built at high altitudes and were only accessible to birds.
There was a stone slab in the middle of the crypt, to which the corpse was tied to feed vultures and other birds, and the sunlight scattered it. Finally, the remaining bones were placed in a hole in the middle of the tower, which was called (Ostadan) or (Ostudan) meaning ossifier.
The tombs were usually made of stone at the top of the mountain, in the form of cylindrical towers with a circumference of about 100 meters, and it was not possible to use sacred soil in its construction. Evidence shows that most of them did not have doors and the entrance to the crypt was through a ladder. The tombs were built in a place far from people and with precise calculations.
The interior of the crypt is divided into different sections, from the wall to its central hole. The first part was from the wall for the dead men, the second and third parts were for women and children, respectively.
The ritual of building a crypt
The construction of crypts also had a special ritual that must be observed. Among these ceremonies, we can mention the custom of hammering 4 large nails, 36 medium nails and 260 small nails on the ground. The makers wrapped a special cotton thread around the nails and recited a number of special Zoroastrian prayers. After this stage, they had to sit in the middle of the crypt and recite a certain dhikr 300 times, with each dhikr a small stone was thrown into the crypt to increase the number of stones to 300. After performing these rituals, the crypt was built in this place.
A look at the Zoroastrian crypt in Yazd
15 km southeast of Yazd, in Safaieh region, two stone crypts have been built, which are known as the Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd, the silent tower of Yazd and the tower of silence. The names of these crypts are Mankeji Hatria crypt and Golestan crypt. Mankeji Hatria Tomb is an older building built in the shape of a circle with a diameter of 15 meters and its name is derived from the name of an Indian Zoroastrian. Golestan crypt, which has a shorter life than Monkey Hatria, was built during the Qajar period. The diameter of Golestan crypt is 25 meters and its height is 6 meters from the hill surface.
As I explained, in the past, the Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd as a place to leave the dead It was used to keep the sacred element from contaminating the soil. The bodies of the dead were destroyed by the birds in a short time, and their bones were thrown into the hole in the middle of the crypt in the master.
This religion has been practiced among Zoroastrians for many years, and the tombs were so important that about 140 years ago, Mankeji Limji Hatria, a representative of the Iranian Zoroastrian Improvement Association, was sent from India to Iran to discuss the Zoroastrian situation and the situation. Take care of the crypts. During the reign of Nasser al-Din Shah, he repaired and rebuilt a number of crypts, including the Zoroastrian crypt in Yazd. The use of these crypts continued for some time until this ritual was completely abolished in 1310 in Tehran, in 1320 in Kerman and in 1340 in Yazd.
With the passage of time and the obsolescence of this ritual, the Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd as circular structures, with walls The longevity and function they had in the past attracted many domestic and foreign tourists. At present, this building is one of the sights of Yazd.
What is the architecture of the Zoroastrian crypt?
The Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd has a simple and at the same time complex structure. It is interesting to know that the structure and general shape of all the crypts are the same and its size is usually determined based on the needs of the city, population and conditions. In the following, I will introduce the different parts of the Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd to you:
Due to the fact that the crypts were built at a great distance from the place of residence and settlement, a road was built to reach the crypt, part of which was open to the public and the other part was only for the passage of the crypt officials. At present, the road has been paved and to visit the Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd, it is enough to follow the stepped path.
Stone or song door
Not all crypts usually have doors, but some crypts had rock or stone doors to protect the bodies in the crypt.
The inscription of the crypt
Existence of inscription has been one of the common parts of historical monuments in the past. At the top of the Yazd Zoroastrian shrine, he also placed an inscription with information on it.
The inner surface of Yazd Zoroastrian crypt is a circular space without a roof, the sloping floor of which is covered with large stones and is divided into three main parts:
- The ring of the dead man that is closest to the wall and is attached to it.
- The female circle of the dead, which is the middle circle and is located after the male dead circle.
- The children’s ring of the dead is the last circle of space inside the silent tower, which is close to the center of the crypt.
In the center of the Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd, there is a deep well called Ostudan or Estehdan, which means ossuary or place of bones. The well was connected to several deep wells around the crypt. The master was usually filled with stone and cement so that the contamination would not spread out of the well until the bone was placed. After the dead were dismembered, the remaining bones were thrown into the master to be reduced to dust over time.
Buildings around the Zoroastrian crypt Yazd
At the foot of the mountain on which the historical tombs of the Zoroastrians are located, at a distance of 200 meters from the tomb, there are buildings made of clay and mud, which are known as (kheila). Khilas were two-story buildings with several rooms, each belonging to one of the Zoroastrian tribes of Yazd, and had the amenities needed to hold religious ceremonies.
In the past, the dead were bathed in a special room with their relatives and transported to the crypt after religious ceremonies. Returns.
Common terms in funerals
Learn more about common terms such as housekeeper, lord, and firefighter to learn more about funerals.
The term “ruler” refers to a person who was in charge of all matters related to the dead, from bathing to carrying it to the top of the tower. The person in charge of the crypt must remain in the same area for the rest of his life and not be allowed to move, as some of the deaths may have been due to the spread of infectious diseases, and Salar was associated with all of these diseases. So it was better to keep people away from where they live. Around the crypt, a building that belonged to the person in charge of the crypt or ruler was known as the housekeeper.
One of the concepts that is important in getting acquainted with the Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd is fires. The arsonists were usually two people who, after taking the dead to the crypt, lit and kept the fire burning for three consecutive nights in the room in front of the crypt. The chamber had a window facing the crypt that allowed light to shine into the crypt.
Zoroastrians believe that a person’s psyche is still with his body for three days after death and will go to heaven after three nights. The ceremony is also held to allay fears.
How to bury the dead in crypts
The burial ceremony of the dead in the Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd has several stages from the moment of death until the body of the deceased reaches the crypt.
After a person’s death, Zoroastrians traditionally wear white clothes and no one mourns, because they do not consider death the end of life.
Reaching the ghosts
In this ritual, the body of a dead person is also called Nesa, and people who take Nesa from home to the crypt are called Nesaksh. People around the deceased took Nessa by surprise and performed their religious rites and ceremonies. As I said before, each village had its own charm. It was also considered a place for locals to rest, because the village was a long way to the crypt.
The corpse enters the tent
After the ceremonies, the body was handed over to Salar. Salar takes it to the crypt, opens its shroud and leaves the crypt. The birds left nothing of Nessa for a short time.
After the corpse was completely destroyed and the number of dead in the crypt reached 10,12, the remaining bones were collected by the crypt collector and thrown into the master. It is interesting to know that in certain periods the crypt was cleaned with lime and sulfur. During this cleansing, the remaining bones were reduced to ashes and washed with rain.
The best time to visit the Zoroastrian crypt
Due to the fact that Yazd is located in the tropics of Iran, the best time to travel to Yazd and visit the Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd is from early March to late May. If you are escaping from the heat, be aware that the average temperature of this city from June to the end of September is between 29 and 30 degrees.
Visit the crypt
It is possible to visit the Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd in the first half of the year from 8 am to 7 pm and in the second half of the year from 8 am to 5 pm.
For information on the latest entrance ticket costs for Iranian and foreign nationals, you can refer to the website of the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts of Yazd Province.
Where is the Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd?
Yazd, 15 km southeast of Yazd, Safaieh area, end of Shahidan Ashraf Boulevard, Dakhmeh Mountain
Access to the Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd is possible by public transport such as buses. To reach it, all you have to do is take the buses of the Martyrs of the Altar-Fajr Line or the Martyrs of the War-Mulla Sadra Terminal and get off at Ishar Square station. If you are using a personal car, you can get help from the location of the crypt on Google Map.
Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd on Google Map
Forward to Yazd
There are so many sights in Yazd that the introduction of each of them is a convincing reason to visit Yazd, but accept that the Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd is very exciting with this strange background that I have described to you.
There are some famous tombs from the Zoroastrian era in Iran that are no longer used but have many visitors every year. Among these caves, we can mention the crypt of Bandar Siraf, but it can be said with confidence that the Zoroastrian crypt of Yazd is one of the most famous tourist buildings. So be careful that if you plan to travel to Yazd this time, do not miss the crypt of the Zoroastrians of Yazd.