Damghan City: History reflected in architecture, art

IRNA – Damghan is one of the ancient cities of Iran which is still standing and inhabited. Here we introduce the ancient part and historical texture of Damghan and its highlights.

Known as the city of a hundred gates, Damghan was a safe capital for the Parthian Dynasty (247 BCE – 224 CE). Part of the ancient city walls that used to protect the city and its monuments are still standing there. It shows the military and political importance of Damghan during the period, destinationiran.com wrote.

Damghan is the capital city of Damghan county, Semnan Province, 342km east of Tehran. Merchants and businessmen have visited this city because it is located on the Silk Road. This is the reason why there are remnants of several caravansaries, castles, and towers in the historical quarter of Damghan.

In ancient times, Damghan was the main exporter of copper. Archeologists have also excavated many copper artifacts in the region, indicating the skill of the region’s craftsmen.

**Tarikhaneh Mosque

Damghan has numerous historical sites due to its significant geographical and historical aspects. Tarikhaneh Mosque is one of the most important sites located in the historical quarter of the city. The studies conducted on the mosque show that the building was initially used as a fire temple during the Sassanid era around 650 CE. Later, when Muslims dominated the area, they converted it into a mosque.

About two centuries after the advent of Islam in Iran, Muslims restored Tarikhaneh Mosque based on the Sassanid design and styles. The mosque consists of a large courtyard surrounded by covered porticos. The main shabestan (praying hall) of the mosque is planned with three rows of six circular columns. The architects had designed spectacular arches for this mosque based on the Sassanid styles.

The mosque has undergone some changes and modifications during different periods. The brick minaret of the mosque, which was added to the building during the Seljuk period, is a spectacular one providing a unique impression. The Tarikhaneh Mosque, dating back to the eighth and ninth centuries, is one of the most prominent examples of tangible cultural heritage in Iran.

**Tappeh Hesar

Of the historical treasures in Damghan one must refer to the valuable Tappeh Hessar which is thought to be a garrison. Prof. Hertzfeld, between 1931-1933, and Dr. Schmidt from 1933-1938, were the first archaeologists who explored the site.

Tappeh Hessar with several layers of civilizations has a long history. The layers include settlements of Medes Dynasty and Achaemenid era, as well as Parthian and Seleucid periods, when the site saw its best days.

Historical excavations have shown that the history of Damghan starts between 5th and 4th millennium BC. Carbon 16 isotope inspections in Tappeh Hessar have revealed an age of 7,000 years for some artifacts.

**Chehel Dokhtar Tower

Chehel Dokhtar tower is an old structure located at the historical texture of Damghan with exclusive features. It is known as a tangible cultural heritage of Iran.

The tower is a 15-meter structure with several unique Islamic architecture features that were built in the 10th and 11th centuries. It has a diameter of about 5.5 meters occupying an area of 23 meters. Other important features of the tower are its delicate brickworks and 10th-century Kufic inscriptions decorating its facade.

**Ismaili Forts

There are two Ismaili forts built on top of two mountains, north of the city, belonging to the esoteric sect of Ismailism. The first, being 5km off the city, is on the summit of Gerdkuh Mountain. The second, known as Mehrnegar Fort, is on Mansurkuh Mountain, 22km north of Damghan.


Cheshme-Ali, 30km north of the city, is one of the permanent springs in Damghan. Thanks to verdant foliage a pleasant climate this region has been frequented by people since ancient times. During the Qajar period many buildings were constructed in Cheshmeh-Ali among which the palaces of Fath-Ali, Shah and Aqa Mohammad Khan still stand. Fath-Ali Shah’s palace is built in the middle of a lagoon, between the first and second springs; across from Aqa Mohammad Khan’s palace.