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Kangavar

anahita_temple

Wolfram Kleiss

town in eastern Kermanshah Province, on the modern road from Hamadan to Kermanshah, identical with a trace of the silk road.

 Isidorus of Charax (1st century CE) referred to it as Congobar and mentioned a temple of An?hit? (Anaitis) there. The site has ruins of debated date and nature.

KANGAVAR (Kengavar, Kang?var), a town in the easternmost part of Kermanshah Province, on the modern road from Hamadan to Kermanshah, identical with a trace of the Silk Road, located at the distance of about 75 km from Hamadan and 96 km from Kermanshah. Isidorus of Charax (q.v.) in the first century CE referred to it as Congobar and mentioned a temple of An?hit? (Anaitis) there (Isidorus of Charax, nos. 6, 7; Ziegler and Sontheimer, col. 327; see AN?H?D). Early Muslim geographers referred to the site as a small place with a mosque (menbar) and a columned building made of rocks that was standing on a platform; they called it Qa?r-al-Lo?us, or Robbers’ Castle (E??a?ri, pp. 195, 197; Ebn ?awqal, p. 359, tr. Kramers and Wiet, p. 353; Moqaddasi, pp. 29, 393, 401; Ebn Rosta, p. 167; Ebn al-Faqih, p. 267). According to ?abari (I, p. 2649), the town received this appellation when, at the time of the Arab conquest, people here stole the pack animals of the Arab army stationed there on its way to Neh?vand. Eugène Flandin and Pascal-Xavier Coste (q.v.) identified the ruins on a hillside at the eastern edge of the settlement of Kangavar as the Temple of An?hit? and gave the first detailed drawings and plans of the site (Flandin and Coste, p. 411).

Up to the first half of the 20th century, scholars pleaded for an ideal reconstruction of a columned temple on the “Greek” ground plan standing on a high platform or terrace with a monumental staircase on the south side of the terrace (Ghirshman, p. 24, plate. 31).

This temple was dated to the 2nd or 1st century CE. During the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the ruins were the object of vast devastation as the site was used as a quarry to get building material for the expanding settlement of modern Kangavar. It has been excavated by Persian archeologists since 1968, who have tried to prevent further destruction and to get more precise knowledge of the ruins. So far a general plan of the complex can be drawn, but still it is not sufficient for determining the function and shape of the terrace and the buildings that stood on the top of it (FIGURE 1; see K?mba??-e Fard, 1972, pp. 2-12; Azarnoush, pp. 69-94).

anahita_temple

The natural hill of Kangavar is framed by a roughly quadrilateral massive platform built of unworked, large rubble stones, smaller stones, and gypsum mortar (PLATE I, PLATE II). The platform measures 224 m on the west side and 209 m on the south side, and its outer walls are 18 m thick (Fig. 1). The northeastern corner of the platform is not clear; perhaps a staircase on the eastern side of the 18-m thick wall has to be supposed. In the middle of the platform stands a 93-m long and 9.30-m wide central construction of rubble stone with mortar, and north of it there are further walls of so far unidentified function and date. Remains of an Islamic settlement were excavated in the northern part of the platform; some lime and gypsum-kilns in the southern and southeastern part destroyed parts of the stone platform, especially the southern side with the staircases. A Parthian cemetery was excavated in the hillside east of the platform, Parthian and Sasanian pottery was collected on the platform, and Islamic pottery was found in the excavated houses upon the northern part of the platform (K?mba??-e Fard, 1972). On the northwestern corner of the platform stands a mosque and an em?mz?da (q.v.), partly constructed in the Il-khanid and Safavid periods (Azarnoush, p. 72).

On the south side of the Kangavar complex the platform of a possible height of around 20 m is reached by two staircases, beginning in about 30 m distance from the southwest and southeast corners of the platform (FIGURE 1, PLATE II, PLATE III, PLATE IV). The staircases are 4.18 m (western) and 4.08 to 4.15 m (eastern) wide, and the steps measure 12 to 15 cm in height and are 27 to 30 cm deep (Azarnoush, pp. 69-94, pl. 13).

to be continued ...

Source: encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com

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