In front of
the tomb of Artaxerxes is a well-preserved and nicely-proportioned
buiilding called Ka'be Zardusht (Zoroaster's Sanctuary or Cube), which
is a square structure built of blocks of white hewn limestone.
Wherever knowledge is wanting, theories abound. This is true for this
Theory 1: Fire Temple: Similar building have been shown on
coins of a later period, which had on the roof fire altars with
flames. This is, however, unlikely since a much higher tower in
Firuzabad shows clearly the signs of a spiral staircase. It is
unlikely that the purpose of this structure was simply to puzzle later
archaeologists and we would assume that there would have been some way
for priests to get to the top. The building is specially unsuited as a
Theory 2: This building was used by the Zoroastrian high
priest to store the holy books of the Zoroastrian faith and recite the
text in front of the royal tombs. This is equally unlikely, since it
is not certain that the Achaemenian kings were Zoroastrian and since
the similar tower in Pasargadae, far removed from any fire altars,
tombs or holy district, makes no sense in such a context.
Theory 3: This was a royal tomb of an Achaemenian king before
Darius. A similar structure in Nurabad and the tower in Pasargadae
could support this theory. Another foundation of similar type is also
found on the other side of the Pulvar River close to Naqsh-e Rajab.
There are many other theories, none of which could give a satisfactory
answer to explain the purpose of this unique building. Shapur recorded
the treaty with the Romans and the successes of his government in an
inscription on the left side wall of the Ka'be Zardusht. The 500,000
drachma gold ransom received from Philip the Arab for Roman prisoners
is mentioned here.
The Ka'be, also called Zendan-e Suleiman (Solomon's Prison), has got
only one opening in an elegant doorway at the head of a flight of
stone steps opposite the tomb of Artaxerxes I. Each of the outer walls
is decorated with rows of vertical slots cut in the limestone;
addition ally, all but the door-wall are embellished with six recessed
dummy windows of black basalt. There is a single chamber inside with a
lofty ceiling spanned by four vast stones.