A temple of the Persian water goddess Anaita was found in Iraqi Kurdistan – photo

A temple of the Persian water goddess Anaita was found in Iraqi Kurdistan – photo

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In Iraqi Kurdistan, archaeologists excavating the mountain fortress of Rabana Merculi have suggested that it may also have been the sanctuary of the Persian water goddess Anaita.

This is stated in the results of a study that was conducted published in Iraq magazine, writes Arkeonews.

The Rabana-Merculi archaeological site is located in the Zagros Mountains. It consists of defensive structures along the perimeter, surrounding nearby settlements in the Rabana Valley and on the Merculi Plateau.

According to scientists, the fortress fell into disrepair during the Parthian era in the first century BC.

Michael Braun, a researcher from the Institute of Prehistory, Protohistory and Ancient Archeology of the Middle East at the University of Heidelberg, who, starting in 2009, conducted a lot of excavations on the territory of the monument, drew attention to the outskirts of the fortress. Architectural structures and the remains of a possible altar may indicate the existence of a place of worship for the goddess, he says.

Above the fortified entrance to Rabana, a rock relief depicts an anonymous ruler, most likely a local Parthian vassal king, who is credited with founding the site.

Inside the Rabana Valley, researchers discovered a religious complex that could have been dedicated to the goddess Anaita.

In the first mentions of her in the manuscript collection “Avesta”, the goddess is depicted as the heavenly source of all earthly waters and described as an incredibly beautiful woman with the ability to take the form of a cascading stream or waterfall.

According to archaeologists, the main evidence for the presence of a potential sanctuary of Anaita is a part of the Rabana-Merkula mountain fortress, architectural additions and a waterfall inside the complex.

“The proximity to the waterfall is significant because the association of fire and water played an important role in pre-Islamic Persian religion,” – said Michael Brown.

He also suggested that the sanctuary was absorbed by the cult of Anaita in the Parthian era and could have played a decisive role in the occupation of the mountain and, accordingly, the decline of the fortress.

“Even if the cult object cannot be conclusively linked to the water goddess Anaita, the sanctuary of Rabana still gives us a new perspective on regional sacred and geopolitical relationships in the Parthian era”– added Michael Brown.

We used to reportedthat the ruins of an ancient temple built in honor of the goddess Kubaba were discovered in Turkey.

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