Tappeh Hessar. Of historical treasures in Damqan one must refer to the valuable Tappeh Hessar which was constructed before the birth of Christ. Tappeh Hessar with several layers of civilizations is hiding a long history in its bosom. Part of the layers in the Tappeh belong to the Mades dynasty which shared its civilization with Mesopotamia. Another layer covers the Achamanid, Parthian and Seleucid periods. Tappeh Hessar achieved its peak of glory during the Seleucid and Parthian periods. During the reign of Tirdates 1 (Arcase II), Damqan was the capital of the Parthian Empire in Iran. With the discovery of relics from that period one comes across another layer which is ascribed to the Sassanians. Historical excavations has shown that the history of Damqan starts thousand years before the birth of Christ. Recently the 7,000 year old body of a woman along with her fetus was discovered during the expansion of Tehran-Mashhad railway. Scientists have discovered metal in her teeth which leads us to believe that she was the goddess Tootam. Tootam worship was a religion which prevailed among the Iranians, Egyptians and Indians many thousand years ago.
Tarikhnameh, the oldest mosque in Iran
Tarikhaneh Mosque is in fact the oldest mosque in Iran belonging to the 1st century after arrival of Islam which still preserves its original shape. The prefix "Tari", a Turkish term, means God and "khaneh" means house so the word means the house of God. Tarikhaneh and Nayeen Mosque in Isfahan are the only mosques in the Islamic World which resemble the Medina Mosque. This mosque was built during the 8th century A.D. combining Roman, Iranian and Arabic architecture. This is an Arabic design but the building material and architecture is Sassanid. This leads us to believe that originally it had been a fire temple during the Sassanid period, and later the mosque was built over its ruins. One column resembling Sassanian architecture at the eastern wing is a proof of this assertion. Tarikhaneh Mosque is equipped with a square yard and a gallery with 18 columns facing the Qebleh and the three sides of the yard are surrounded by porticos. The minaret rising over the mosque is said to belong to Seljuks and the tiled inscription over the minaret is in fact the oldest tile work in Islamic architecture.
Much treasure has survived from the Seljuk period in Damqan. Pir-e Alamdar's Shrine (The Old Flagbearer's Tomb), Congregation Mosque, the minaret of Congregation Mosque, Tarikhaneh Mosque, Mansourkuh, Imamzadeh Jafar Tower and Chehel Dokhtaran Vault, etc. are buildings in which Islamic architecture from Seljuk period onward is notable. For the first time in Iran these buildings carry brick decorations to compensate for the monotonous and uniform rows.
Chehel Dokhtaran Vault is located at the center of Damqan and behind Imamzade Jafar, both of which belong to Seljuk period. A Kufi inscription in the edifice says the vault was built in 466 A.H. (1087 A.D.) and has survived without cracks although the city is lying on the earthquake belt. What is more interesting in the vault is its onion-like dome which is adorned by bricks with artistic images and an inscription. The building which used to be a family vault is 14.8 m high and in its famous inscription the deceased have sought divine mercy in their lasting residence.
Evergreen Cheshmeh-Ali. This is one of the permanent springs in Damqan, 30 km north of the city. Thanks to its verdant foliage and pleasant climate this region has been frequented by people from ancient times. During the Qajar period many buildings were constructed in Cheshmeh-Ali among which the Fat'hali Shah and Aqa Mohammad-Khan palaces still stand erect. Fat'hali Shah's palace is built in the middle of a lagoon placed between the first and second spring and Aqa Mohammad-Khan's palace is facing opposite the former palace. Cheshmeh-Ali has always interested the visiting tourists.