By travelling across the country, you discover that every rock of Azerbaijan has an ancient history. Ateshgah is one of the places that come in the first page of not only Azerbaijan history, but also world history. The name “Ateshgah” comes from “atesh” – a Persian word which means fire. The whole name means “home of fire”. Worshippers of three different religions used Ateshgah as a temple.
The first religion appeared in this land was Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrian believed and worshiped to spontaneous fire. The history of the religion goes 2600 years back. At that time, there was not any temple building, and Zoroastrians worshiped to the eternal fire that came out from the ground spontaneously.
After a long time, in 15-17th centuries, Hindus and Sikhs used Ateshgah as a temple and constructed temple building here in order to protect the fire. The temple was a holy place for Hindus and Sikhs in the middle ages.
The temple has pentagonal shape and continuously burning fire inside. The reason behind the continuous fire is the natural gas coming out from the ground. The reaction between natural gas and oxygen in the air creates fire. Besides pentagonal temple, there are small rooms, which were used as living places for priests. Apart from the fire, one of the famous gods that was believed in the temple was the statue of Lord Shiva.
Nowadays, the temple is used as a museum. The museum contains various statues and inscriptions. The statues are designed to describe the life in the temple. Moreover, the inscriptions belong to the ancient period and are related to the religions. The inscriptions in Persian are related to Zoroastrianism, whereas inscriptions in Sanskrit and Punjabi are devoted to Hindu and Sikh gods.
In order to see this historical heritage, you need to go to Surakhani suburb, which is just 30 km far from Baku city.
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