It was hard leaving the chill environment of the Zein-o-din but the journey north continued. Our next destination was Yazd known to be the center of Zoroastrianism. We of course had a few Zorastrian highlights to see before the end of the day. These included the ancient burial platform called the Tower of Silence on the southern end of town; the Yezd Atash Behram; and the Dowlat-abad Windtower was our last stop before checking in to our hotel – the Orient Hotel.
Tower of Silence or Dakhma – Yazd
The Sassanid era was were the practice of placing the dead on top of the the Tower of Silence began in 3rd — 7th century BC
The dead body was thought unclean and to bury it or burn it would pollute the earth either way. The body was instead placed high on top of the tower and left to the elements until all that was left were bleached bones of the departed. The remaining bleached bones were placed in a center well which contained lime and phosphorus. The bones then turn to dust.
Today, this practice in Iran has been abandoned due to the shortage of vultures, population growth in the areas close to the towers themselves and falling out of favor with modern Zoroastrian followers. The burial ceremony is quite elaborate and for more details check out this link.