Formation of the Mithraic Temples in Northwestern Iran and Comparison with Roman Mithraeums

Document Type: Original Article


Conservation of Historical Buildings Department, Faculty of architecture and urban planning, Imam Khomeini International University, Qazvin, Iran


Mithraism was a mystery religion centered on the god Mithras that was practiced in the ancient world, including India, Iran, Anatolia, Etc. Despite numerous documents such as the most ancient religious books of the world including the Avesta and Rig Veda, and the oldest inscriptions Including: Boğazköy and Achaemenid inscriptions, and finding hundreds of temples in the territory of ancient Rome. There is still much uncertainty about its nature and Its origin. One of the ambiguities is how the temple of this religious tradition is built in Iran. The main question here is the possible similarity of Iranian temples with the European type or not. To investigate the question, the plans and architectural spaces and components of the Mithra temples in two civilizations that are altogether different in environmental and cultural conditions are compared using inductive methods and library studies. The research hypothesis emphasizes the difference between the Roman Mithra temples of Iranian types. Despite that, they have a unique root. However, they have some imagined similarities. Finally, it was found that different environmental conditions gave rise to a different understanding of religion, and so on. The main purpose of the article is to study and introduce several Iranian Mithra temples. The plan of the Roman temples is rectangular, but a study of the Iranian temples of Abāzar, Varjuvi, and Bādāmiyar (Qadamgāh) showed that most of them had a dome-shaped space with a circular plan and their walls lacked paintings and sculptures. Nevertheless, As Herodotus has already described. In the meantime, the Qarashirān Temple has square plan. Such Iranian temples lack authentic decorations inside and out. The results of the research show that: What was depicted in the European Mitra Temples was performed during a special ceremony in Iran. A point that all artistic and written sources acknowledge.