Zoroastrianism is the first monotheist religion of the history of humanity where Ahura Mazda is the the creator of the Earth and the sky. The religion was founded in the 1st millennium B.C. Zoroastrian religion used to be the main fait of people living in regions between modern Iran and India. Zoroastrian religion combines some rules and ideas of Iranian Mazdeism and Hinduism.
The Zoroastrian religion is quite simple and it does not have lots of strict rules or prohibitions. One of the few rituals of Zoroastrians was bringing children to a Zoroastrian temple and presenting them to the sacred fire. The early Zoroastrians have done this ritual once, before the child reached the age of 12. After the arrival of Arab conquerors in Central Asia the Zoroastrianism had been replaced by new and more powerful Islam. And the Zoroastrian population of Central Asia was forced to accept Islam as their new faith. Finally, the Zoroastrians could keep their religion only in Yazd, Iran and in a few regions in India.
Zoroastrian Religion Facts & Details:
Towers of Silence and Burial Ceremonies
According to Zoroastrian rules the dead body can’t be buried because the earth/land is one of the 4 sacred elements of the religion. The dead body will be put on special places called “Tower of Silence” and animals as well as birds could eat the body until only the bones remained. The bones were put in special ceramic objects “Ossuaries” and p laced in Zoroastrian temples. The Ossuaries have not been made following any religious rules. They could be in no matter what form and decorated in any way without any restrictions.
Travelers who visit Uzbekistan can also see one Tower of Silence – Chilpik Kala which is quite well preserved. The Chilpik Kala is situated on the road between Nukus and Khiva. It is only 3 kilometres far from the main road and by climbing its walls one can enjoy very rich panoramic view of the Amu Darya River. Apart from Chilpik Kala there a few other Zoroastrian Heritage Sites in Uzbelistan. Some of them are: Toprak Kala, Ayaz Kala, Mizdakhan Kala etc. The Zoroastrian Heritage Tours in Uzbekistan can be very interesting because they offer you a great contrast of popular Silk Road cities and ancient Zoroastrian citadels.
Are there Zoroastrians in Uzbekistan?
Officially there are no Zoroastrians in Uzbekistan but the people have kept some Zoroastrian rituals and beliefs even after the arrival of Islam. Even if no one in Uzbekistan will represent himself as a Zoroastrian, the rituals of Zoroastrian religion can be seen in daily life of all Uzbeks. The Zoroastrian New Year – Navruz is widely celebrated in Uzbekistan and all neighboring countries. Simply, the Arabs who invaded Central Asia in the early 8th century could not definitely destroy the Zoroastrian culture and traditions and the Islam has been mixed with Zoroastrian spirit.