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  • Date :
  • 3/12/2014

Resemblance of Zurkhane architecture to Mithraism[1] temples


In his research on Iranian ancient athletics, Dr. Mahdi Bahar says “Iranian ancient athletics have been there for many long years and, just like all other ancient traditions, its basis and foundations are lost in mist of history, and if we try to reach its source, such attempt is based on sings found here and there”‌. Zurkhane is very much like Mithraism temples. They reach surface through long stairs. All Zurkhanes built this way are below surface under other building thus having limited light. Another tradition was a bell dangled from the ceiling which was sounded by Morshed[2]  informing others in case of a great athlete entering Zurkhane. In Mithraism temples there was a bell sounded in time of showing the image of Mitra[3] at the beginning and the ending of ceremonies. If these presumptions about Zurkhane and Mithraism temples were true, we could conclude their bell was sounded in case of a high ranking religious figure entering the temple. The ranking in Zurkhane including KohneSavar, Morshed, Pishkesvat, SahebZang, SahebTaj, and Noche remind us of seven rankings among Mithraism followers which may have been of the same origins.

Translated by: Sadroddin Musawi


[1]The Mithraic Mysteries were a mystery religion practiced in the Roman Empire from about the 1st to 4th centuries AD

[2] Leader of ZurKhane playing the drum and coaching athletic moves

[3]Goddess in Mithraism 


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