Monday, December 31, 2007

Ferdowsi's Mausoleum, Toos

Ferdowsi Tousi, (935–1020) is considered to be one of the greatest Persian poets to have ever lived. Among the national heroes and literary greats of all time, Ferdowsi has a very special place. His life-long endeavour, dedication and personal sacrifices to preserve the national identity, language and heritage of his homeland put him in great hardship during his lifetime, but won him fame and honour for one of the greatest poetic masterpieces of all time: the Shahnameh.

The Shahnameh is an enormous poetic opus written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi around 1000AD, is the national epic of the Persian speaking world. The Shahnameh tells the mythical and historical past of Iran from the creation of the world up until the Islamic conquest of Iran in the 7th century.

Aside from its utmost literary importance, the Shahnameh written in almost pure Persian, had been pivotal for reviving the Persian language subsequent to the influence of Arabic. This voluminous work, regarded by Persian speakers as a literary masterpiece, also reflects Iran's history, cultural values, its ancient religions (Zoroastrianism), and its profound sense of nationhood. Ferdowsi completed the Shahnameh at the point in time when national independence had been compromised. While there are memorable heroes and heroines of the classical type in this work, the real, ongoing hero is Iran itself.

It has been called the "Persian Quran" by Ibn al-Athir, even though this title is not common knowledge among the Persian speakers but somehow indicates the importance of this book for all Persian speakers of the Iranian world, including Afghanistan and Tajikistan, to other Persian speakers of Central Asia, as well as in India, Pakistan and as far as China. [source:]

There is a translation of Ferdowsi's Epic of Kings on Iran Chamber Society. There is also an introduction to characters. If you wonder about the horse (made of sticks) in the picture, read on "Rakhsh".

I found Akhavan Sales's grave in Ferdowsi's park as well:

And I didn't remember Harounieh was just a few minutes away. It is commonly known as Haroun's Prison (one of the notorious Abbasid Khalifs), but it is a mosque (as it has a Mehrab) and perhaps a mausoleum (perhaps of Ghazali, another important Persian figure of 12th century). The architecture belongs to 13th century.

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