Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tower of Silence

800 year old Dakhmeh

Because Yazd is the city of Zoroastrians, there are a lot of Zoroastrian-related sites to see. One of the important ones is Dakhmeh, or Tower of Silence. You may be familiar with the fact that Zoroastrians didn't bury bodies, but instead would place them in high places in order for them to be picked by vultures, karkas in Persian (sounds like carcass, no?). 

In Zoroastrian tradition, the dead body is considered to be unclean, and burying it would be polluting the earth. Additionally, animals such as wild dogs could drag the bodies around thereby polluting the ground as well. For these reasons, bodies were placed in a pit atop these raised structures for scavenging birds. 


The pit where the body was placed


Inside the pit- when these were used, the pit was deeper.

In Yazd, there are two dakhmeh side by side, and you can take a short hike up either one of them. I went up the one that is 400 years old. (The other is 800 years old.) Since one of them was funded by a man and the other a women, it was said that women were placed in the one funded by the woman and men in the other. However, since gender doesn't play the same role in Zoroastrianism as it does in Islam, this is not true. 


Entrance to the 400 year old Dakhmeh


View of the 800 year old Dakhmeh from the 400 year old one

These days, the dakhmeh are no longer used. Instead, Zoroastrians are buried in a cemetery right in front of them. 


View of the city and Zoroastrian cemetery from the 400 year old Dakhmeh

Zoroastrian cemetery








Ab anbar- Water reservoir 

Pontia

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