Hamshahri Online - Zahra Blandi: Before the arrival of Islam, Zoroastrians, believing that the bodies of their dead contaminate the soil, ritually placed the bodies on high hills so that they decomposed in front of the sunlight. The Tower of Khamishan or Studan Gebarha in Shahreri is an example of these towers that still remain on the northern slope of Bibi Shahrbanu Mountain.
Before the arrival of Islam in Shahreri, Zoroastrian clergy had a prominent presence in this region; Buildings from those days are left and interesting stories are told about them.
For example, the formation of Studan Gebarha, one of the buildings originating from Zoroastrian beliefs and left from those days, is one of those cases that has a story to be heard, and the researcher "Syed Mohsen Majdi" has obtained good information about it with his research during his years of activity: "At that time Zoroastrians, based on their customs and laws, believed that the four elements (water, wind, fire and earth) are sacred and polluting them is considered illegal and forbidden. They believed that the bodies of the dead could pollute the soil. Therefore, during ceremonies, they placed these bodies on stones that they had created in a round and tower-like shape so that they would be destroyed by the sunlight. In the meantime, the corpses were inevitably eaten by birds and other carnivorous animals, the only remains of the corpses were the bones, which were thrown into a well so as not to pollute the soil."
Majdi points to examples of these historical buildings in Yazd: "There were several types of these towers in Shahrari; Some of them were circular and cylindrical, some were circular without walls, and now, unfortunately, due to the explosions of the cement factory, some of them are buried under the carcasses and fragments of stones that were extracted by the cement factory, but a very large building known as "Silent Tower", "Gabarha's Master" or "Gabarha's Ossuary" is standing on the northern face of Bibi Shahrabano mountain, which has been restored over time.
A large building belonging to the pre-Islam era and the Sassanid dynasty can still be seen on the northern slope of the Shahreri Mountains. It has an entrance that makes it possible to visit it, but Majdi says in its physical description: "The current building is different from the original building and the photos taken during the Qajar period. The current building has an entrance door while the body used to be at the entrance, historical photographs and paintings from the Qajar period show that people entered the tower without an entrance door through a ladder and pulled the bodies inside with a rope or something similar. They were building a tower. In the middle of the courtyard of this building, there were small chambers and shallow graves where these bodies were placed to undergo the stages of decomposition and destruction.
This research further refers to quotes from the late "Syed Mohammad Taqi Mostafavi", an archaeologist, and "Javad Safinjad", a historian born in Shahrari: "This building is located in a place that is more than 3 meters higher than the general level of its immediate surroundings. It has a steep slope that is connected to the southern part of the mountain. The circular walls of this tower are different in different places. Due to the transportation of corpses during different times and transportation of dirt and rubble and various repairs that have been done over the years, the interior space has become higher than the exterior space; The inside of the tower and building is flat, the height of the wall from the inside of the tower is 4 meters and 65 centimeters and from the outside is 7 meters and 25 centimeters, which is the indicator that the inner surface of the tower is 2 meters and 60 centimeters higher than the flat ground. The width of the wall itself is very different from the bottom to the top. In the lower part, compared to the top, the wall is thicker, which reaches 30 centimeters. This difference is the slope that was given in old structures to prevent destruction and protection so that the wall does not bear too much pressure and is not easily accessible.
But why is this place known as Studan, Osveddan, or Silent Tower? Majdi says about this: "They collected the remains of the bodies, which included the bones of the corpse, from the top of the mountains and hills and poured them into jars so that they were placed with the same jar in a place called Stodan (bones), that is why it is known as Stodan or Bones. Is. There is also a story about the Silent Tower, which is related to the students of Yazd; Several years ago, a foreigner, while visiting Yazd students, when he heard their story, called these structures the Silent Tower. Since it looks like a circular tower and is the place of the dead and the dead, it is called "Silent Tower" and since then this name is liked by people and this term is used. But from the historical point of view, this building is known as the Bones or Studan of Gebarha. "We see more students in Yazd, and we can use their historical data and match them to the students here."
The customs related to this thousand-year heritage continued until the time of Pahlavi I, when it was ordered to stop due to reasons such as environmental pollution. Here, Majdi mentions the brick building that he found traces of only in old photos and says: "The old photos show that before entering the Studdan, there was a brick building of approximately 60 x 80 meters, which apparently carried out the preparatory work and customs that It was related to the corpses, and they used to do it there, and naturally, when this work stopped, that space was also closed. Due to its location in the open air, high altitude and atmospheric conditions, this building has been constantly renovated and it is said that the year 1373 was the last time that this building was renovated.