The Baku Ateshgah (from Persian: آتشگاه Atashgāh > ) or "Fire Temple" is a castle-like ancient Hindu religious structure in Surakhani, a suburb of greater Baku, Azerbaijan. "Atash" is the Persian word for fire (آتش).
The pentagonal complex, which has a courtyard surrounded by cells for monks and a tetrapillar-altar in the middle, was built during the 17th and 18th centuries. It was abandoned after 1883 when oil and gas plants were established in the vicinity. The complex was turned into a museum in 1975 and now receives 15,000 visitors a year. It was nominated for World Heritage Site status in 1998 and was declared a state historical-architectural reserve by decree of the Azeri President on 19 December 2007.
The Persian toponym Atashgah ( with Russian/Azerbaijani pronunciation: Atashgyakh/Ateshgah) literally means "home of fire." The Persian-origin term atesh (آتش) means fire, and is present in several languages as a Persian loan-word including in Azerbaijani and Hindustani. Gah (گاہ) derives from Middle Persian and means "throne" or "bed". The name refers to the fact that the site is situated atop a now-exhausted natural gas field, which once caused natural fires to spontaneously burn there as the gas emerged from seven natural surface vents. Today, the fires in the complex are fed by gas piped in from Baku, and are only turned on for...... Read More