Anahita Temple of Kermanshah (Kangavar), Iran
Anahita Temple is the second largest stone-construction in Iran after Persepolis, located in Kangavar, Kermanshah. This temple has been attributed to Anahita, the goddess of water and the guardian angel of fountains. Anahita or Nahid also represents beauty, healing, and fertility. Evidently, the temple has served as a place for worshiping this divine figure. The remains of this edifice stands on the top of a hill on a platform and resembles Persian architecture and traditions of classical antiquity. It also exhibits Hellenistic architecture.
Controversial Story of Anahita Temple
The true identity of the main structure is controversial. Some scholars believe the construction used to function as a temple to worship Anahita. Others, on the other hand, refer to this building as an Unfinished Palace and attribute it to Khosrow Parviz, the last Sassanian King (reigned 590-628). Some have also referred to this site as the Temple of Artemis.
It is not easy to trace the history of this construction. The temple dates back to the classical era. Debate exists on the exact date of establishment of this erection, though. Excavations first began in 1986 but ceased later. This caused ambiguities in the historical survey of this archeological site. Some studies favor a date in the Parthian period (247 BC – 224 AD), and some prefer an Achaemenid date (700 to 330 BC). While yet others suggest a date from the Sassanian period (224 to 651 AD).
What Makes Anahita Temple Special?
- Anahita Temple is one of the 2 largest stone constructions in Iran.
- A miraculous architectural feature of the structure is that stones are fixed to each other with no mortar.
- Anahita Temple brings the Indo-Iranian mythology of Anahita, the divine figure of water, to life.
- The temple recalls ancient Persian traditions.
- The structure exhibits Persian-Hellenistic architecture.
- The building features an ancient Persian water-conducting system in a temple
The Architecture of Anahita Temple in Iran
Anahita Temple sits on a platform at the top of a hill. The hill is 32 m high and overlooks Kangavar plain. So, it offers a really scenic view. It has been very typical of Achaemenid era to build temples on the top of a hill on a stone platform. As a result, his strategic consideration leads to inaccessibility; hence preventing assaults on the structure.
The area of the edifice measures 6.4 acres. A two-sided staircase supports the platform. The walls of the building measure over 200 meters in length and are 18 meters thick. Above all, a rectangular structure lies inside the courtyard. Apparently, this building served as a temple for worshiping Anahita, the goddess of water. As you enter this structure from the northeastern side, you will see an engineering wonder from ancient times. In particular, stone ditches lie around a central major pool. These ditches were used to transfer water from the river to the central pond of the temple.
As climbing up the stairs back to the courtyard, take a closer look at the columns surrounding the temple. Although only bases have remained from these parallel pillars, they can inspire you with the magnificence of the edifice. A cemetery also lies in the eastern area of the building. The deceased buried here belong to the Parthian era (247 BC – 224 AD) and face the Anahita Temple. The construction has witnessed modifications over time. A mosque and a shrine are examples of modifications.
More About Anahita Temple
Attractions on the Way to and Around the Anahita Temple
Kangavar is located on the road from Kermanshah to Hamadan, identical to a trace of the ancient Silk Road, at a distance of circa 95 km from Kermanshah. Behistun, a stunning historical site, is on its way to Kangavar. So, make sure not to miss it. Besides the attractions in Kermanshah, there are also some fascinating cultural and geographical attractions in Kangavar.
These sites include Saraab River, Abdol Spring, Abdi Abad Spring, Seyfur Spring, Goudin Hill, Tavakol Ancient Bath, Grand Bath, Saari Aslaan Citadel, Imamzade Mosque, Kangavar Jame Mosque, Imamzade Bagher Shrine, and Seyyed Jamaleddin Derafsh Shrine. Moreover, Hill of the Jews, Elah dane Mine, Chehel maran Mine, National Garden Mine, Tower Hill, Kuche Brick Bridge, and Fash Village (the hub for manufacturing Iranian musical Instruments) are other examples. If you also long for western architecture in the east, on your way back to Kermanshah, consider visiting Garah Ban Village. This extraordinary village in the Zagros Mountains exhibits Russian architecture.
Restaurants Near the Temple
Are you planning to eat in Kangavar? Then, we have some suggestions for you:
- Hezaro yek shab (One Thousand and One Nights) Restaurant
- Gole Sorkh Restaurant
- Firooz Abadi Restaurant
- Mizban Restaurant
- Boroumand Kebab
- Classic Fast Food Restaurant
- Radical Fast Food Restaurant
Like to check out the Temple of Anahita?
Then hop on either our 16-day Deep into the Heart of Persia tour or Behistun, the History Museum tour.
I’m really impressed. Really interesting place.