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Lasting Legacy of the Just King

Visual Essays


Soroushian, Dr. Mehrborzin

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Unique amongst religious schools of thought is the one proclaimed by Zarathushtra Spitaman in emphasizing the need to take care of earth’s ecology, to cultivate the earth and to protect the environment.  Ancient Iran, despite the arid climate of central Iran was a land fully cultivated, and where one village ended, another one started.[i]  

Poised against the majestic background of the Hezar mountain range -photo- in the Kerman province of Iran, and distinct for the natural charm of its surrounding and its diverse agricultural produce, one old village stands as a lasting legacy of a great King and the humanistic cultural heritage that gave raise to the rulers of Ancient Iran.

The village, known for the longest time by its Arabic name 'Gharyat-ul-Arab' - in Persian Deh Tazian - literally "The Village of the Arabs", and recently (1982)  renamed as Gulzar - flower field - stands as a lasting legacy of the great  Sassanian king, Khosrow 1st, also known as Khosrow the Just, who ruled some 15 centuries ago.

It is believed that Khosrow 1st, intent on getting the Arab tribes to take interest in Agriculture and to become self-sufficient and more dependent on the land for their subsistence rather than warfare, moved the members of one such tribe from their domicile on the South-western boundary of the Sassanian empire to this village on the Eastern side. The idea might have been that after acquiring agricultural skills, the migrants would go back and apply their newly acquired know-how towards development of their own homeland. Whatever the original intent might have been, the migrants stayed on and assimilated the Persian culture surrounding them and never went back. However, ever since they have been drawing their livelihood from the land, and by so doing they bear witness to the legacy of the Just King and his cultural norms.  The inhabitants of the village who have adapted the last name of Saeed are believed to be descendents of the Persian officials who were stationed in the village by King Khosrow’s administration, and were referred to as Sepahis.

The current mosque in the village is believed to have been built on the site of the old Zoroastrian fire temple that used to serve the village.  This forced conversion stands a legacy of the destruction and intolerance that marked the Arab invasion of Iran a century and half after the arrival of the first Arab inhabitants of Gharyat-ul-Arab.

[i] Nurturing Mother Earth – A Zoroastrian Preoccupation

The snow capped Hezar Range mountain viewed from the outskirt of the village in late fall 2003.

A view of the field where beet crop is grown by villager farmers.

Some of the older village farmers still use donkeys for transportation. Many have started using motorcycles and cars.

View of one of the main streets of the village.

Lush apple orchards to be found in the village is a dependable source of that crop for the citizenry of Kerman city.

Apple orchards produce abundance of fruit for local consumption.

Village youngsters returning from school.

Ruins of an old resting areas "Caravanserai" outside the village coming from the direction of Kerman.