THE ANCIENT PERSIA (IRAN)

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PAARSE
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Postby PAARSE » Tue Feb 06, 2007 5:02 pm

Norooz

In harmony with the rebirth of nature, the Iranian New Year Celebration, or NOROOZ, always begins on the first day of spring. Nowruz ceremonies are symbolic representations of two ancient concepts - the End and the Rebirth; or Good and Evil. A few weeks before the New Year, Iranians clean and rearrange their homes. They make new clothes, bake pastries and germinate seeds as sign of renewal. The ceremonial cloth is set up in each household. Troubadours, referred to as Haji Firuz, disguise themselves with makeup and wear brightly colored outfits of satin. These Haji Firuz, singing and dancing, parade as a carnival through the streets with tambourines, kettle drums, and trumpets to spread good cheer and the news of the coming new year.
The origins of NoRuz are unknown, but they go back several thousand years predating the Achaemenian Dynasty. The ancient Iranians had a festival called "Farvardgan" which lasted ten days, and took place at the end of the solar year. It appears that this was a festival of sorrow and mourning, signifying the end of life while the festival of NoRuz, at the beginning of spring signified rebirth, and was a time of great joy and celebration.


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The other ancient symbolic representation of NoRuz is based around the idea of the triumph of good over evil. According to the Shah-nameh (The Book of Kings), the national Iranian epic by Ferdowsi, NoRuz came into being during the reign of the mythical King Jamshid; when he defeated the evil demons (divs) seizing their treasures, becoming master of everything but the heavens and bringing prosperity to his people. To reach the heavens, Jamshid ordered a throne to be built with the jewels he had captured. He then sat on the throne and commanded the demons to lift him up into the sky. When the sun's rays hit the throne, the sky was illuminated with a multitude of colours. The people were amazed at the King's power and they showered him with even more jewels and treasures. This day of great celebration was named NoRuz, and was recognised as the first day of the year.

Happy Spring

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Postby PAARSE » Sat Mar 03, 2007 5:13 pm

Comment :

Ruler means Governor, over here

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Postby PAARSE » Tue Mar 06, 2007 5:00 pm

Chahar Shanbeh Soori

One of the symbolic rituals of the Noe-Rooz celebrations occurs on the eve of the last Wednesday of the year (Chahar Shanbeh Soori, literally meaning "the eve of Red Wednesday" or "the eve of celebration"). On this magical night, families gather piles of brush or wood and bonfires are lit in public places. They then leap over the flames shouting:

"Sorkhi-e to az man, zardi-e man az to!"

"Give me your vibrant red hue, and take back my sickly yellow pallor!"


The essence of this tradition is giving thanks for the previous year's health and happiness, while exchanging any remaining paleness and evil with the warmth and vibrancy of the fire.

According to tradition, the living are visited by the spirit of their ancestors on the last days of the year, and many children wrap themselves in shrouds, symbolically re-enacting the visits. They also run through the streets banging on pots and pans with spoons and knocking on doors to ask for treats. The ritual is called qashogh-zany (spoon beating) and symbolizes the beating out of the last unlucky Wednesday of the year. This could be seen as the Iranian version of the Western Halloween night.

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Postby PAARSE » Tue Mar 06, 2007 5:05 pm

Haji Firooz

The traditional herald of the Noe-Rooz season is called Haji Firooz. He symbolizes the rebirth of the Sumerian god of sacrifice, Domuzi, who was killed at the end of each year and reborn at the beginning of the New Year. Wearing black make up and a red costume, Haji Firooz sings and dances through the streets with tambourines and trumpets spreading good cheer and the news of the coming New Year.

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Postby PAARSE » Tue Mar 06, 2007 5:11 pm

Haft Seen

The Zoroastrians of ancient Persia celebrated the creation of life by offering their god, Ahura Mazda, seven trays filled with symbolic objects representing truth, justice, good thoughts, good deeds, virtue, prosperity, generosity and immortality.

Today, the tradition is continued through the setting of the table or spread with an arrangement of several items of which seven of them start with the Persian letter Seen (in English S). The Persian translation for the number seven is "Haft", hence, "Haft Seen" means "Seven S's". It is customary for the family to gather round the Haft Seen spread a few hours before the New Year.
At the exact moment of the New Year, the oldest person in the family continues the traditions by hugging and wishing each member well and offering sweets, pastries, and coins.


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The contemporary Haft Seen spread includes seven of the following items:

Sabzeh - wheat or lentils grown in a tray or dish prior to Noe-Rooz to represent rebirth,
Samanu - a sweet pudding made from wheat germ, symbolizing affluence,
Senjed - the dried fruit of the lotus tree which represents love,
Seer - which means garlic in Persian, and represents medicine,
Seeb - which means apple in Persian, and represents beauty and health,
Somaq - sumac berries, which represent the colour of the sun rise,
Serkeh - which means vinegar in Persian, and represents age and patience,
Sonbol - the hyacinth flower with its strong fragrance heralding the coming of spring, and
Sekkeh - coins representing prosperity and wealth.


The other items in the spread include:

Shirini - Sugar cookies and pastries,
Candles - representing enlightenment and happiness,
Mirror - representing the reflections of creation on the first day of spring,
Painted eggs - representing fertility,
A bowl with goldfish - representing life and the end of the Zodiac sign of Pisces,
An orange in a bowl of water - representing the earth floating in space,
Rosewater - thought to have magical cleansing powers and

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Postby PAARSE » Tue Mar 06, 2007 5:16 pm

Seezdah Bedar

The thirteenth day celebrations, Seezdah Bedar, stem from the belief of the ancient Persians that the twelve constellations in the Zodiac controlled the months of the year, and each ruled the earth for a thousand years. At the end of which, the sky and the earth collapsed in chaos. Hence, Noe-Rooz lasts twelve days and the thirteenth day represents the time of chaos when families put order aside and avoid the bad luck associated with the number thirteen by going outdoors and having picnics and parties.

At the end of the celebrations on this day, the sabzeh grown for the Haft Seen spread (which has symbolically collected all the sickness and bad luck) is thrown away into running water to exorcise the demons (divs) and evil eyes from the house hold. It is also customary for young single women to tie the leaves of the sabzeh, prior to discarding it, symbolizing their wish to be married before the next year's Seezdah Bedar. When tying the leaves, they whisper...

"Sal-e deegar, khune-yeh showhar, bacheh beh baghal!"

"By next year married, with my child in my arms!"


The festival of Noe-Rooz represents a major part of the Iranian peoples' rich culture and is one of the cornerstones of their civilization. It has remained intact for several thousand years bringing joy and hope to every Iranian, no matter where they reside.
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thank u

Postby Behrooz » Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:28 pm

hi,thank u!!!
u have written everything of iran.
i think people from all over the world should know about our beautiful country.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!

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Postby Dexter » Mon Mar 19, 2007 7:03 am

yeah, PAARSE has written almost everything about Iran & also the New Year customs.

Happy New Year to you & other members, too !!!:D

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PAARSE
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Postby PAARSE » Tue Mar 20, 2007 4:21 pm

Thanks, dear friends

I hope we protect our ancient traditions and monuments


Anyway,
Happy New Year
and
Have a year white as Milk,
soft as Silk,
sweet as Honey,
and full of Money

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babara
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Postby babara » Wed Mar 21, 2007 10:03 am

Yes, Thanks for your good information always,PAARSE!!

Happy New Year to all Iranian Too!!! :P :P

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Postby BritneyF » Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:34 pm

HaPpY NeW YeAr!!!every fellow country men!
I'm so happy to join u here :D
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Last edited by BritneyF on Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby BritneyF » Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:35 pm

Great job PAARSE! I appreciate your sense of mihanparasti!(sorry I've forgotten the word :oops: )
Do you agree if we find beautiful photos of Iran, put them here in this nice topic? :) :wink:

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Postby PAARSE » Fri Mar 30, 2007 4:16 pm

Susa (Šušim): capital of Elam, favorite residence of the Persian king Darius I the Great

Susa is one of the oldest cities in the world. Excavations have established that people were living at the acropolis in 5000 BCE and have shown the existence of urban structures about 4000, and it is reasonable that the town, situated on a strip of land between the rivers Karkheh (Choaspes) and Dez (Eulaeus), was already the political center of Elam in the fourth millennium.
It has partly been overbuilt with a modern castle that was used by the French archaeologists.
A second part of the city is now called the royal hill. From written sources, we know that there must have been ziggurat, which must have stood somewhere over here. A third part is the artisan's quarter, which was to the east of the buildings on this map. The ruins of a donjon on a steep hilltop in the southeast date back to the earliest period.
The Assyrian king Aššurbanipal destroyed the Elamite capital between 645-640 BCE. It is unclear what happened in the next century, but after this, Susa was one of the empires of the Achaemenid empire. The city was rebuilt by the Persian king Darius the Great (522-486). The Apadana palace was clearly his favorite residence. The Greek researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus, who wrote a lot about the Achaemenid empire, did not know of another capital.

King Artaxerxes II Mnemon (404-358) built a second audience hall on the opposite bank of the river, which is visible at bottom left of the picture.
The conical structure in front is more recent. Here, muslims venerate the tomb of the prophet Daniel, another figure related to the Persian court at Susa. In fact, there were other capitals (Pasargadae, Persepolis, and Ecbatana), but is evident that Susa was more impressive. An inscription in the palace, known as DSf, describes how Darius built his residence.
A great god is Ahuramazda, who created this earth, who created yonder sky, who created man, who created happiness for man, who made Darius king, one king of many, one lord of many.
Darius the King says: By the favor of Ahuramazda I built this palace.
Darius the King says: Ahuramazda, the greatest of the gods created me, made me king, bestowed upon me this kingdom, great, possessed of good horses, possessed of good men.
By the favor of Ahuramazda, my father Hystaspes and Arsames my grandfather - these both were living when Ahuramazda made me king in this earth.
To Ahuramazda thus was the desire: he chose me as his man in all the earth; he made me king in all the earth.
I worshipped Ahuramazda. Ahuramazda bore me aid. What was by me commanded to do, that he made successful for me. What I did, all by the favor of Ahuramazda I did.
This palace which I built at Susa, from afar its ornamentation was brought. Downward the earth was dug, until I reached rock in the earth. When the excavation had been made, then rubble was packed down, some 40 cubits in depth, another part 20 cubits in depth. On that rubble the palace was constructed.
And that the earth was dug downward, and that the rubble was packed down, and that the sun-dried brick was molded, the Babylonian people performed these tasks.
The cedar timber, this was brought from a mountain named Lebanon. The Assyrian people brought it to Babylon; from Babylon the Carians and the Yaunâ [=Greeks] brought it to Susa. The yakâ-timber was brought from Gandara and from Carmania.

The gold was brought from Lydia and from Bactria, which here was wrought. The precious stone lapis lazuli and carnelian which was wrought here, this was brought from Sogdia. The precious stone turquoise, this was brought from Chorasmia, which was wrought here.
The silver and the ebony were brought from Egypt. The ornamentation with which the wall was adorned, that from Yaunâ was brought. The ivory which was wrought here, was brought from Kush and from India and from Arachosia.
The stone columns which were here wrought, a village named Abiradu, in Elam - from there were brought. The stone-cutters who wrought the stone, those were Yaunâ and Lydians.
The goldsmiths who wrought the gold, those were Medes and Egyptians. The men who wrought the wood, those were Lydians and Egyptians. The men who wrought the baked brick, those were Babylonians. The men who adorned the wall, those were Medes and Egyptians.
Darius the King says: At Susa a very excellent work was ordered, a very excellent work was brought to completion.
Me may Ahuramazda protect, and Hystaspes my father, and my country.

The palace was clearly meant as propaganda, where every visitor would be impressed by the size of the empire. An inscription, D2Sa, records reconstruction works from the age of Artaxerxes I Makrocheir and Darius II Nothus.

After the fall of the Achaemenid empire and the reign of Alexander the Great, who married in Susa , the city became part of the Seleucid empire. It was now called Seleucia on the Eulaeus. A palace in Greek style was erected, next to Darius' palace. The administrative center, however, was in the southern part of the city, where nearly all Greek and Parthian inscriptions were discovered. In the Parthian age, the city minted coins. The city remained important until the thirteenth century CE. Excavation started in 1897.


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Postby PAARSE » Sat Mar 31, 2007 7:09 pm

Ecbatana (ĕkbăt'ənə, ĕkbətä'nə) , capital of ancient Media, later the summer residence of Achaemenid and Parthian kings, beautifully situated at the foot of Mt. Elvend and NE of Behistun. In 549 B.C. it was captured by Cyrus the Great. It possessed a royal treasury and was plundered in turn by Alexander, Seleucus, and Antiochus III. The site has never been thoroughly excavated, since it is covered by the modern city, Hamadan, Iran, where the traditional tomb of Esther is still honored by the Jewish community. Ecbatana was the Achmetha of Ezra 6.2 and the Apocrypha. It is also called Hangmatana.

Location and environment

Ecbatana (48h°31' E, 34°h48' N; alt. 1,800 m) is in the Zagros mountains of central-west Iran at the base of the eastern slope of the Alvand range (q.v.; the classical Mount Orontes; Diodorus Siculus, 2.13.7; Polybius, 10.27; "Iasonius mons" of Ammianus Marcellinus, 23.6.39). The city controls the major east-west route through the central Zagros, the so-called High Road. Average annual precipitation is about 385 mm and temperatures range from -25h° C in winter to +35h° C in summer. On the wide, well-watered, fertile plain to the east, fruits and vegetables were traditionally cultivated near the city, while cereal production predominated in the next zone and pastoralism in the extensive periphery. In antiquity, the area was famed for its horses and wheat .

Median Empire Map

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Postby PAARSE » Mon May 14, 2007 5:12 pm

Cyrus The Great
Cyrus II, Kourosh in Persian, Kouros in Greek



Cyrus (580-529 BC) was the first Achaemenid Emperor. He founded Persia by uniting the two original Iranian Tribes- the Medes and the Persians. Although he was known to be a great conqueror, who at one point controlled one of the greatest Empires ever seen, he is best remembered for his unprecedented tolerance and magnanimous attitude towards those he defeated.

Upon his victory over the Medes, he founded a government for his new kingdom, incorporating both Median and Persian nobles as civilian officials. The conquest of Asia Minor completed, he led his armies to the eastern frontiers. Hyrcania and Parthia were already part of the Median Kingdom. Further east, he conquered Drangiana, Arachosia, Margiana and Bactria. After crossing the Oxus, he reached the Jaxartes, where he built fortified towns with the object of defending the farthest frontier of his kingdom against nomadic tribes of Central Asia.

The victories to the east led him again to the west and sounded the hour for attack on Babylon and Egypt. When he conquered Babylon, he did so to cheers from the Jewish Community, who welcomed him as a liberator- he allowed the Jews to return to the promised Land. He showed great forbearance and respect towards the religious beliefs and cultural traditions of other races. These qualities earned him the respect and homage of all the people over whom he ruled.

The victory over Babylonia expressed all the facets of the policy of conciliation which Cyrus had followed until then. He presented himself not as a conqueror, but a liberator and the legitimate successor to the crown. He also declared the first Charter of Human Rights known to mankind. He took the title of "King of Babylon and King of the Land". Cyrus had no thought of forcing conquered people into a single mould, and had the wisdom to leave unchanged the institution of each kingdom he attached to the Persian Crown. In 539 BCE he allowed more than 40,000 Jews to leave Babylon and return to Palestine. This step was in line with his policy to bring peace to Mankind. A new wind was blowing from the east, carrying away the cries and humility of defeated and murdered victims, extinguishing the fires of sacked cities, and liberating nations from slavery.

Cyrus was upright, a great leader of men, generous and benelovent. The Hellenes, whom he conquered regarded him as 'Law-giver' and the Jews as 'the annointed of the Lord'.

Prior to his death, he founded a new capital city at Pasargade in Fars. and had established a government for his Empire. He appointed a governor (satrap) to represent him in each province, however the administration, legistlation, and cultural activities of each province was the responsibility of the Satraps. Accoding to Xenophon Cyrus is also reputed to have devised the first postal system, (Achaemenide achievements). His doctrines were adopted by the future emperors of the Achaemenian dynasty.

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Postby melip » Tue Jun 05, 2007 11:43 pm

WOW!!!your country is very beautiful, thanks for giving other people the chance to know your country!!!I just love it, hope someday can visit it!!

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Postby PAARSE » Fri Jun 29, 2007 3:06 pm

Anahita


The ancient Persian water goddess, fertility goddess, and patroness of women, as well as a goddess of war. Her name means "the immaculate one". She is portrayed as a virgin, dressed in a golden cloak, and wearing a diamond tiara (sometimes also carrying a water pitcher). The dove and the peacock are her sacred animals.

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Anahita was very popular and is one of the forms of the 'Great Goddess' which appears in many ancient eastern religions (such as the Syrian/Phoenician goddess Anath). She is associated with rivers and lakes, as the waters of birth. Anahita is sometimes regarded as the consort of Mithra

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Postby PAARSE » Tue Jul 31, 2007 4:53 pm

Mithra

Mithra (Avestan Miθra, modern Persian مهر Mihr, Mehr, Meher) is an important deity or divine concept (Yazata) in Zoroastrianism and later Iranian history and culture.

Mithra is descended, together with the Vedic deity Mitra, from a common proto-Indo-Iranian entity *mitra (pronounced the same way as Mithra).




Etymology
The proto-Indo-Iranian word *mitra- could mean either "covenant, contract, oath, or treaty", or "friend". A general meaning of "alliance" adequately explains both alternatives. The second sense tends to be emphasized in Indic sources, the first sense in Iranian. The word is from a root mi- "to bind", with the "tool suffix" -tra-. A contract is thus described as a "means of binding" .

The first extant record of Mitra/Mithra is in the inscribed peace treaty between Hittites and the Hurrian kingdom of the Mitanni in the area southeast of Lake Van, c. 1400 BCE. There Mitra/Mithra appears in the company of Varuna, Indra and the twin horsemen (Ashwini Twins), the Nasatyas, as the five beings invoked as witnesses and keepers of the pact, and all of whom the rulers of the Mitanni apparently worshipped. (Campbell, 1964 p 256).



In Zoroastrianism
The reforms of Zoroaster retained the multitudes of pre-Zoroastrian divinities, reducing them in a complex hierarchy to "immortals" who, under the supremacy of the Creator Ahura Mazda, were now either ahuras or daevas. In this scheme, Mithra is a member of the ahuric triad, protectors of asha, the order of the universe. Mithra is additionally the protector of truth and justice and the source of cosmic light. In Middle Persian Mithra came to be known as Meher.

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Relief from Taq-i Bostan in Kermanshah, Iran, showing Ardashir I of Sassanid Empire at the center receiving his crown from Ahura Mazda. The two stand on a prostrate enemy. Here at the left is Mithra as a priest, wearing a crown of sun-rays, holding a priest's barsam, and standing on a sacred lotus.


Mithra is not present in the Gathas of Zarathustra (Zoroaster) but appears in the younger Yashts of the Avesta (Campbell p 257). There, Mithra comes to the fore among the created beings. "I created him" Ahura Mazda declares to Zoroaster, "to be as worthy of sacrifice and as worthy of prayer as myself" (Campbell, loc. cit.). In the Yashts, Mithra gains the title of "Judge of Souls" and is assigned the domain of human welfare (which he shares with the Creator). Mithra occupies an intermediate position in the Zoroastrian hierarchy as the greatest of the yazata, created by Ahura Mazda (Ormuzd in later Persian) to aid in the destruction of evil and the administration of the world. He is then the divine representative of the Creator on earth, and is directed to protect the righteous from the demonic forces of Angra Mainyu (Ahriman in later Persian).

As the protector of truth and the enemy of error, Mithra occupied an intermediate position in the Zoroastrian pantheon as the greatest of the yazatas, the beings created by Ahuramazda to aid in the destruction of evil and the administration of the world. He was thus a divinity of the realms of air and light, and, by transfer to the moral realm, the manifestation of truth and loyalty. As the enemy of darkness and evil spirits, he protected souls, accompanying them to paradise, and was thus a redeemer. Because light is accompanied by heat, he was the promoter of vegetation and increase; he rewarded the good with prosperity and annihilated the bad



In Iranian (Arian) culture

While in older Zoroastrianism Mithra is seen as a creation of Ahura Mazda, in later Persian culture, Mithra evolved to be an incarnation of Ahura Mazda [1], and in his role as 'Judge of Souls' as the rewarder of good and annihilator of the bad. Mithra was seen as omniscient, undeceivable, infallible, eternally watchful, and never-resting.

Similarly, while in the Sirozeh, Mithra is also referred to as Dae-pa-Meher, or Creator of Meher, this separation between 'Meher' and the 'Creator of Meher' dissolves in later texts and the distinguishing characteristics of Mithra and Meher blend. Mithra, reincorporated as "Meher", thus also becomes the representative of truth and justice, and, by transfer to the physical realm, the divinity of air and light. As the enemy of darkness and evil spirits, he protected souls, a psychopomp accompanying them to paradise. As heat accompanying light, Mithra became associated with growth and resultant prosperity.

Mithra worship spread first with the empire of the Persians throughout Asia Minor, then throughout the empire of Alexander and his successors.

By at least the 3rd century BCE, Mithra was identified as the progeny of Anahita, a mother-entity who is not mentioned in the Gathas of the very early Avesta texts, but is described in the fifth Yasht of the newer texts as "the wide-expanding and health-giving". The largest temple with a Mithraic connection is the Seleucid temple at Kangavar in western Iran (c. 200 BC), which is dedicated to "Anahita, the Immaculate Virgin Mother of the Lord Mithras".

The Parthian princes of Armenia were hereditary priests of Mithra, and an entire district of this land was dedicated to Anahita. Many temples were erected to Mithra in Armenia, which remained one of the last strongholds of the Mazdaist cult of Mithra until it became the first officially Christian kingdom.

Royal names incorporating Mithra's (e.g. "Mithradates") appear in the dynasties of Parthia, Armenia, and in Anatolia, in Pontus and Cappadocia.

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Postby PAARSE » Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:10 pm

Goor Dokhtar, Dasht-e-Arjan, Dashtestan



Goor Dokhtar (Dasht-e-Arjan)


The structure of 'Goor Dokhtar' is very similar to the mausoleum of Koorush the great in Pasargadae (about 600 BC.). This structure is made of 24 slabs of stones, according to the 'Orartoie' and Elamite principles such as the ziggurat of Choqazanbil. This valuable monument is registered on the records of the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran.

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Postby PAARSE » Wed Oct 17, 2007 6:00 pm

The Persian Gulf

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The Persian Gulf, in the Southwest Asian region, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.

This inland sea of some 233,000 km² is connected to the sea of Oman in the east by the Strait of Hormuz; and its western end is marked by the major river delta of the Arvand rood, which carries the waters of the Euphrates and the Tigris. Its length is 989 kilometres, separating mainly Iran from Saudi Arabia with the shortest divide of about 56 kilometres in the Strait of Hormuz. The waters are overall very shallow and have a maximum depth of 90 metres and an average depth of 50 metres.

Countries with a coastline on the Persian Gulf are (clockwise, from the north): Iran, Oman (exclave of Musandam), United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar on a peninsula off the Saudi coast, Bahrain on an island, Kuwait and Iraq in the northwest. Various small islands lie within the Persian Gulf.



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Postby PAARSE » Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:55 am

The Persian dance


Iranian dance history is characterized by many fascinating and also tragic incidents. It seems to be completely unknown to the outside world, partly because of the present political situation of the country that has toned down the interest for a profound research effort. The other reason is the current archaeological discoveries and excavations in Iran, during the past thirty years. They have made it possible to have access to material and evidence for the origin of Persian dance, ever since the appearance of the cult of Mithra about two thousand years before our calendar.
By virtue of these bases, Iran can be considered as one of the ancient world’s empires, which methodically and actively was devoted to the development of the art of dance. For this ancient nation, dancing has been an important social phenomenon and a religious ritual.


THE CULT OF MITHRA
AND THE ORIGIN OF PERSIAN DANCE



The origin and rise of Persian dance as an independent and distinctive art form is estimated to be parallel with the birth of Mithraism and its spread. This cult centrally revolves around the ancient Persia’s sun and light God, Mithra, who is the main figure in this mystery religion that during the late antique era spread over the entire Roman Empire. Numerous temples and depictions of the legendary Mithra have been located and excavated in the three continents of the ancient world; Asia, Africa and Europe. The latest discovery has been done in London as late as 1954.
The most important ritual in this cult has been the worship of Mithra, as he is sacrificing a bull. This act was believed to promote the vigour of life. The consecration to this belief was accomplished among other rites through the baptism in the blood of a bull, followed by a ritual dance performed only by men. This ceremonial act is considered as the earliest known form of Iranian dance, and the origin of the magic dance of the antique civilisations. It is typical for sacred Persic (Persian) dance, so called “Danse Persique Sacrée”.
In several occasions he has indicated and in detail described the cultural and social habits of Persians. He has mentioned the wide cultural exchange that Persians had with the ancient world. “From every corner of the known (antique) world, the most appreciated artists were imported to the imperial court in order to practice their artistic abilities in the presence of the majestic Emperor and his court.”


ACHAEMENIANS,
AN ART PATRONIZING IMPERIAL DYNASTY



The cultural exchange with the ancient civilizations, particularly with Egypt and Greece has been extensive and proceeded during several centuries. In various works by Greek historians “Persian dance masters” (choreographs and pedagogues) have been mentioned as they have appeared in antique Greece, and Greek “sportsmen, poets and dancers” have been sent to the Persian Empire.
This cultural exchange has been described as one of the distinctive characteristics of ancient Persian culture, which gave rise to the term of “acculturation”, meaning the acceptance of new cultures. This was an evident quality for the legitimation and survival of an empire that ruled over numerous nations, from Egypt in North Africa, to India in Far East. It was the world’s first religiously tolerant empire and consisted of a multitude of different languages, races, religions and cultures.
Achaemenians, the first ruling dynasty of the Persian Empire, contained several enthusiastic emperors who encouraged the advancement of different art forms. Ketzias, another Greek historian writes about the popular and talented female dancer, Zenon from Crete, who was Artaxerxés II:s (Ardeshir Shah II) court dancer and “the apple of the King’s eye”.
Another Greek historian, Polukleitos, reports that at the marriage of Alexander the Great with the Persian woman “Roxana” in Susa, which continued in five days, he was amused by Greek musicians, singers and dancers who were engaged at the Persian Imperial Court.
Ketzias has specifically mentioned a sort of Persian dance, which was performed in connection with the ceremonies of Mithrakana (Mehrgan) in which even the King participated. “The King in India never appears if he is drunk. But unlike him in Persia, the Emperor drinks precious wine and devotes himself to the Persic dance during the ceremonies arranged in honor of Mithra”. Douris from Samos reports about the same royal tradition: “Only in one occasion the King drinks wine and dances Persic dance and it is when worshipping Mithra.”
Xenophon emphasizes that this kind of Persic Dance (Danse Persique) has been very usual and as popular as “riding” because “Persic Dance, like a sport, strengthens the muscles”!
The importance of the art of dance among Persians can clearly be viewed relatively numerous Greek history books. Different forms of dance have existed as they were performed on ceremonial, ritual or entertaining occasions. “For acquainting their horses with the tumultous scenes of war, the Persians used to execute a “military dance”, which meant that in a collective arrangement, clashing the weapons together rhythmically and dancing with their horses".
“… the man from Mysie performed a Persic dance by clashing his shields together, bending himself forward and rising up again. He did all that harmonically and proportionally to the rhythm of the flute.”
Dancing was a well-developed and protected art form during the existence of other dynasties of Persian Empire, for instance Parthian and Sasanian. According to the Greek texts, there have been detailed descriptions for different forms of dancing, like fire dance, sword dance and even horse dance, which meant dancing while riding on horseback.


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