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Posts Tagged ‘Mongol era’

Ancient Christian Cemetery Discovered Near Islamic Monument in Iran

Posted by Job on December 4, 2007

Ilkhanid-era Christian cemetery discovered near Islamic site of Soltanieh Dome
TEHRAN, Dec. 3 (MNA) — A Christian cemetery dating back to the Mongol era has recently been discovered near the Soltanieh Dome, an Islamic monument registered on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.

A single gravestone bearing ancient Armenian script led a team of experts from the Soltanieh Dome Cultural Heritage Center to the discovery of the burial ground, the Persian service of CHN reported on Monday. The artifact was unearthed by the team about two years ago during a demarcation operation for the dome site. “We were assisted in the deciphering of the script by a number of Christian historians. After examining the relic, they informed us that the artifact dates back to the Mongol era and that it was highly likely that a cemetery dating back to that time would be located in the vicinity,” the center executive manager Mohammadreza Qorbanzadeh said.

A translation of the inscription reads as follows: “Jesus, the only son of the father, when it is time to return, the sleeping soul of the late…” Other parts of the inscription are illegible due to erosion. “The cemetery, which is located near the Abbasabad region of the Soltanieh Dome and the ancient city of Soltanieh will add to our knowledge of the history of these sites,” Qorbanzadeh said.

The Mongol ruler Hulegu Khan (c. 1217-1265), who founded the Ilkhanid dynasty in Iran, selected the north central region of Iran for his center of government. Hulegu’s mother showed an inclination towards the Christian religion and as a result many Christian residents of Tabriz emigrated to Soltanieh (location of present day Zanjan), being an area over which he ruled.

In addition, Marco Giovanni Brambilla, an Italian professor at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University, during his studies on the city of Soltanieh, had previously surmised the existence of a Christian Mongol era cemetery in the region.


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