Shahr’e Yeri
Ardabil, Iran (Islamic Republic of)


© click to watch movie

Shahr’e Yeri, in a 400-hectare area, is located near Pirazman village of Meshkin Shahr, in Ardabil province. It consists of a fortress, three temples and Qush Tepe historical site. The fortress dates back to the third period of the Iron Age (2800 years ago), and the temple to the second Iron Age (3200 years ago). Shahr’e Yeri may have been one of the earliest inhabitants of Iran and stretched across 400 hectares which houses several small hills, one castle, two caves and close to 300 rock tombs. The site was first explored in the latter part of the 20th century.

The construction of a fortress on one of the temples indicates that the temple existed before the fortress. The fortress was constructed on the remains of a burnt city. According to Alireza Hajbari Nobari, archaeologist and head of the excavation team in Shah’e Yeri, the residents of Shahr’e Yeri lived in the city previous to the attack of the Urartu people to the region. Following the attack and devastation of the city, the new fortress was built on the remains of the previous residences. Tombs in different sizes as well as earthenware excavated from the site bears evidence that it was once a residential area. Evidenced by the excavation of graves in Shahr-e Yeri, the bodies were buried with special ceremonies and rituals and in compliance with religious beliefs. However, the majority of tombs are empty of skeletons due to illegal excavations at the sites. The tombs have been built into the rock hill in various sizes depending on their location. As per their religious beliefs, those people used to bury valuable objects such as jewelry, silver, gold, brass, earthenware and weapons along with their dead.

Further excavations indicate that the prehistoric inhabitants of the region used flint stones for making war and hunting tools. This stone has been identified in the layers of Neolithic epoch (about 9000 years ago).