Temple architecture

A mix of Iranian and Chinese architecture in the Dragon Temple

History of Dashkasan Temple

The temple dates back to the Ilkhanate era. Construction began after the death of Arghun Khan, a ruler of the Mongol Empire, but unfortunately remained incomplete.

Some archaeologists, however, believe that the temple was built in the Sasanian era and served as a temple for followers of the Mithraism religion. Apart from this, no other traces remained in the temple. The main feature of the temple is the same reliefs of two dragons, created in the time of Ilkhanate. Apart from the reliefs, other ornaments of the temple were also created during the Ilkhanate period.

Where is the Dragon Temple?

This temple is one of the landmarks of Soltaniyeh, located about 15 kilometers northeast of the city and about five kilometers from the village of Viyar. A straight unpaved road connects the village to the temple and you can easily reach the site with the usual cars. There are no signposts along the road though and you’d better get help from the locals.

The main feature of the Dragon Temple

The temple is one of the most spectacular rock carvings in Iran. The most prominent feature is the two dragon reliefs, which face each other in harmony and attract the attention of those interested in different styles of architecture.

At first glance, some tourists think it is a Chinese temple. Even the area surrounding the temple is called China in Iran!

The reliefs are five meters long and 1.5 meters wide and were created by a Chinese artist.

In Iranian literature, the dragon was once a symbol of repression and cruelty. With the entry of the Ilkanate into Iran, however, it took on a positive meaning in Iranian culture and transformed into a symbol of good, blessings and enduring government, like an ever-watchful guardian.

Dashkasan temple architecture

The temple is made up of several porches and ancient areas, with reliefs visible throughout the site. All the features in their entirety transformed the Dashkasan Temple into an unprecedented work of architecture.

Three niches have been carved into the heart of the rocks in the western and eastern sections of the temple, which are decorated with beautiful ornate vaulting (Muqarnas) and distinctive Persian designs featuring different designs.

It appears that the design and creation of the patterns took place under the influence of social status in Iran in the 8th century.

Archeology experts believe that the most advanced techniques of the time were used for stone cutting using steel.

The choice of the best location for the construction of the temple, among other places in the region, is indicative of the deep knowledge of the geology of the builder. Stone carvers may also have used certain carving techniques.

More photos of the Dragon Temple

Here are photos of different sections of the Dragon Temple, taken by the ISNA news agency: