The history of the temple goes back to the Sassanid Empire, when Zoroastrianism was the main religion in this region. But when the army of the Caliphate broke into the South Caucasus in 643, the Fire Temple fell into decay. In the 15-17th centuries Indian fire worshipers, who came to the Absheron with trade caravans, began to make pilgrimage to Surakhani and new buildings started to be constructed.
An impressive place, which is fascinating with its secrets, mysterious and dark appearance, with live tongues of fire coming out of the earth, has attracted a lot of outstanding people such as Alexander II of Russia, Orientalists Dorn and Berezin, writer Dumas, chemist and inventor Mendeleev, artists Vereshchagin and Ivanov, French and English travelers Vieland and Jackson.
Zoroastrians monks highly rated mystical significance of the inextinguishable fire and came here to worship it. Dozens of hermits living in Ateshgah worshiped fire and led an ascetic life, torturing their flesh and cleansing their soul.
In the XVII century 26 cells and a caravanserai were built near the temple. Pilgrims, who visited the temple, had the opportunity to relax in the caravanserai.
The architectural complex is a hexagon with serrated outer wall and an entrance portal in the center of the courtyard which overlooks the main square temple – the altar was a place of pilgrimage for the fire-worshipers. Above the entrance portal there is the traditional Absheron guest room – “Balakhani”. The earliest construction of the temple – the caravanserai – dates back to 1713.
The complex was nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1998.
Since September 2012, with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the transformation of the landscape adjacent to the temple area and the construction of auxiliary buildings were carried out.
The temple is included in the UNESCO’s preliminary World Heritage list and considered as one of the most interesting monuments due to its historical value.
Built in the 17-18th centuries, the temple is located on a place well known for its natural burning-gas phenomenon.
Until now, this place is believed to possess an extraordinary energy. Today, Ateshgah is a newly reconstructed museum, which attracts the attention of many tourists.