(Persia Digest) – The Zoroastrian tower of silence [dakhmeh] is an ancient burial place near the city of Yazd, in Iran’s central province of Yazd.

The tower of silence is located on a hill called “Dakhmeh” near the Safa’ieh region in Yazd. Zoroastrians buried their dead here according to their beliefs up until forty years ago, to be eaten by the vultures circling the hill. A well called “ostodan” is at the centre of the tower where the remaining bones were collected. These towers of silence were built outside the cities with precise calculations to stop the wind and rainfall from carrying the burial place pollutions into residential areas. They were constructed with raw bricks and clay to prevent the earth from being polluted by decaying corpses.

The Yazd tower of silence in 15kms to the southeast of the city, in the Safa’ieh region, on a sedimentary hill called “Dakhmeh”. Two hollow, circular tower-like constructions were built here – the old one named after its designer, the Indian Hatria, constructed in 1856 and measuring 15 meters in diameter, and the new one called Golestan, built in 1931 and measuring 25 meters in diameter.

The inner surfaces of the tower of silence are circular, covered with large stone slabs. It has three burial sections for children at the centre, women in the middle, and men on the outer circle. Adobe, brick, and rock structures on the northern side of the hill belong to the Safavid era.

Photos: Marzieh Soleimani

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