Zargar Village

Zargar in a village located not so far from Tehran which its residents have the looks of both Aryans and the Vikings. These villagers are Shiite Muslims who either work on farms or breed livestock.

What distinguishes them from other Iranians is that their mother tongue is Romani, also known as Zargari by locals.

The elderly people remember an old man living in their village in the past who kept a record of his accounts in Russian.

But after he passed away, Russian slipped into oblivion, and now villagers speak Romani and write in Latin. The origin of their language is more like a myth.

These villagers themselves do not know to which part of the world they originally belong, what has brought them to Iran or how they have ended up being Shiite farmers speaking a different language in the heart of Farsi-speaking Iran.

One narrative says that Roma people moved to Iran centuries ago from the north.

Another suggests that they were originally Iranian and were recruited as soldiers for Shah Abbas’ Qizilbash army because of their bravery.

Still another says some 200 Roma were captured during a war between Iran and the Roman Empire and were pardoned by the Persian king.

Later they took up residence in an area in the vicinity of what is Qazvin today.

Zargar Village

Zargar Village

The people of Zargar are renowned for their faithfulness; they do not divorce or betray.

The woman whose husband dies will never remarry, and the man who has a wife will never look for another woman.

And if anyone does wrong, s/he will be rejected from the village; meaning that although the person is physically living in the village, no one will pay attention to him or her.

This is the tradition of Zargari people as they are intolerant of those who slip.

Although legends attribute them to distant lands and relate them to parts of Europe, the people nonetheless love Iran and call themselves Iranians. Their culture somehow looks like Europeans.

Zargar people believe that having external walls around their yard is impolite for others and there are no specific boundaries constructed around.

Zargar Village

Zargar Village

Soltaniyeh Dome

The Dome of Soltaniyeh is the biggest brick dome in the world and the Mausoleum of Ilkhan Oljaytu.

The structure is a very exquisite mosque which is well-known in the world from the viewpoint of architecture, interior design and space.

The mausoleum of Oljaytu was constructed in 1302–12. Situated in the province of Zanjan, Soltaniyeh is one of the outstanding examples of the achievements of Persian architecture and a key monument in the development of its Islamic architecture.

It is an octagonal building, each side of which is almost 80 meters. The Soltaniyeh Dome is built in the Arg city or old fortification of Soltaniyeh, the capital of Oljaytu, an Ilkhan ruler.

The very large 50-m-high dome is the earliest extant example of its type, and became an important reference for the later development of the Islamic dome.

Similarly, the extremely rich interior of the mausoleum, which includes glazed tiles, brickwork, marquetry or designs in inlaid materials, stucco, and frescoes, illustrates an important movement towards more elaborate materials and themes.

The Dome of Soltaniyeh

Soltaniyeh Dome

The Mausoleum of Oljaytu thus speaks eloquently to the Ilkhanid period, which was characterized by innovations in structural engineering, spatial proportions, architectural forms, and decorative patterns and techniques.

The structure is the oldest double-shell dome in Iran. The dome is blue and is covered in turquoise blue faience. The inside roofs of the rooms are decorated with colored bricks and plasterwork.

There is a tall dome on each sides of the building which are about 120 meters each. On the upper part of the building, pavilions and rooms have been constructed.

On the sides of the ceiling, Quranic verses and names of God have been written in beautiful manifest handwriting, which is both a symbol of Iranian art and also a sign of the submission of Iranians to the last divine religion.

The dome, which is the largest in the world after Santa Maria and Hagia Sophia, has three sections of the main entrance, mausoleum and crypt.

The decoration and structure of the mausoleum is in fact a turning point in the architecture of that era, creating a new style in architecture distinct from that of the Seljuk era.

Some historians have recorded that Sultan Mohammad Khodabandeh built the great structure and dome to transfer the remains of the household of the Prophet, that is Imam Ali and Imam Hussein from their mausoleums to that place. However, he gave up the idea after a dream he had.

The Dome of Soltaniyeh

Soltaniyeh Dome

Rumi

Molana Jalal al-Din Balkhi, known in the West as Rumi, was born in early thirteenth century. in Balkh Province, Afghanistan, on the eastern edge of the Persian Empire.

Rumi descended from a long line of Islamic jurists, theologians, and mystics, including his father, who was known by followers of Rumi as “Sultan of the Scholars.”

When Rumi was still a young man, his father led their family more than 2,000 miles west to avoid the invasion of Genghis Khan’s armies.

They settled in present-day Turkey, where Rumi lived and wrote most of his life. His father was a preacher and religious scholar, and he introduced Rumi to Sufism.

Rumi continued his theological education in Syria, where he studied the more traditional legal codes of Sunni Islam, and later returned to Konya as a seminary teacher.

It was there that he met an elder traveler, Shams Tabriz, who became his mentor.

The nature of the intimate friendship between the two is much debated, but Shams, everyone agrees, had a lasting influence on Rumi’s religious practice and his poetry.

Molana Jalal al-Din Balkhi

Rumi

Rumi’s mourning for the loss of his friend led to the outpouring of more than 40,000 lyric verses, including odes, eulogies, quatrains, and other styles of Eastern-Islamic poetry.

The resulting collection, Divan Shams Tabrizi or The Works of Shams Tabriz, is considered one of Rumi’s masterpieces and one of the greatest works of Persian literature.

In his introduction to his translation of Rumi’s The Shams, Coleman Barks has written: “Rumi is one of the great souls, and one of the great spiritual teachers.

He shows us our glory. He wants us to be more alive, to wake up… He wants us to see our beauty, in the mirror and in each other.”

For the last twelve years of his life, beginning in 1262, Rumi dictated a single, six-volume poem to his scribe, Husam Chelebi.

The resulting masterwork, the Masnavi Manavi, consists of sixty-four thousand lines, and is considered Rumi’s most personal work of spiritual teaching.

Rumi described the Masnavi as “the roots of the roots of the roots of the (Islamic) Religion,” and the text has come to be regarded by some Sufis as the Persian-language Qoran.

Great Wall of Gorgan

The ‘Red Snake’ in northern Iran, which owes its name to the red colour of its bricks, is at least 195km long.

A canal, 5m deep or more, conducted water along most of the Wall.

Its continuous gradient, designed to ensure regular water flow, bears witness to the skills of the land-surveyors responsible for marking out the Wall’s route.

Over 30 forts are lined up along this massive structure.

It is also known as the Great Wall of Gorgan, the Gorgan Defence Wall, Anushirvân Barrier, Firuz Barrier and Qazal Al’an, and sometimes Sadd-i-Iskandar, (Persian for dam or barrier of Alexander).

The wall is second only to the Great Wall of China as the longest defensive wall in existence, but it is perhaps even more solidly built than the early forms of the Great Wall.

Larger than Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonin Wall taken together, it has been called the greatest monument of its kind between Europe and China.

Red Snake

Great Wall of Gorgan

The system is remarkable not only in terms of its physical scale, but even more so in terms of its technical sophistication.

In order to enable construction works, canals had to be dug along the course of the defensive barrier, to provide the water needed for brick production.

These canals received their water from supplier canals, which bridged the Gorgan River via qanats.

The forts were filled with barracks of standardized design, suggesting that the Sassanian army was well organized.

Further evidence for a high level of organization of the Sassanian armed forces is provided by hinterland campaign bases, each of ca. 40 ha size.

In one of them, rectangular enclosures in neat double rows have been found, the remnants of a tent city, probably of a mobile field army.

The Gorgan Wall and its associated ancient military monuments provide a unique testimony to the engineering skills and military organization of the Sassanian Empire.

They help to explain its geographic extent, from Mesopotamia to the west of the Indian Subcontinent, and how effective border defence contributed to the Empire’s prosperity in the interior and to its longevity.

These monuments are, in terms of their scale, historical importance and sophistication, of global significance.

Red Snake

Great Wall of Gorgan