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Bishapur

Bishapur

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Bishapur (or Bishâpûr) is an ancient city situated south of modern Faliyan, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 on the ancient road between Persis and Elam
Elam
Elam was an ancient civilization located in what is now southwest Iran. Elam was centered in the far west and the southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of Khuzestan and Ilam Province, as well as a small part of southern Iraq...

. The road linked the Sassanid capitals Istakhr
Istakhr
Estakhr was an ancient city located in southern Iran, in Fars province, five kilometers north of Persepolis. It was a prosperous city during the time of Achaemenid Persia.-History:...

 (very close to Persepolis) and Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon, the imperial capital of the Parthian Arsacids and of the Persian Sassanids, was one of the great cities of ancient Mesopotamia.The ruins of the city are located on the east bank of the Tigris, across the river from the Hellenistic city of Seleucia...

. Bishapur is in the kazerun
Kazerun
Kazerun is a city in and the capital of Kazerun County, Fars Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 84,594, in 20,810 families....

.

Bishapur was built near a river crossing and at the same site there is also a fort with rock-cut reservoirs and a river valley with six Sassanid rock reliefs.

History


According to an inscription, the city itself was founded in 266 by Shapur I
Shapur I
Shapur I or also known as Shapur I the Great was the second Sassanid King of the Second Persian Empire. The dates of his reign are commonly given as 240/42 - 270/72, but it is likely that he also reigned as co-regent prior to his father's death in 242 .-Early years:Shapur was the son of Ardashir I...

 (241-272), who was the second Sassanid king, restored the borders of the empire to where they had been in the Achaemenid Persian period, inflicting a triple defeat on the Romans. In his native province of Fars, he built a new capital that would measure up to his ambitions: Bishapur, Shapur's City. Outside the city, Shapur decorated the sides of the Bishapur River gorge with huge historical reliefs commemorating his triple triumph over Rome. One of these reliefs, in a semicircular shape, has rows of registers with files of soldiers and horses, in a deliberate imitation of the narrative scenes on the Trajan column in Rome. At Bishapur the king also inaugurated the Sassanid imagery of the king's investiture, which would be copied by his successors: the king and the god are face to face, often on horseback, and the god - usually Ahura Mazda - is holding the royal diadem out to the sovereign.

The city, as the remarkable dam bridge in Shushtar, was built by Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 soldiers who had been captured after Valerian I's defeat in 260. However, it was not a completely new settlement: archaeologists have found remains from the Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

n and Elamite ages.

The city remained important until the Arabian invasions and the rise of Islam in the second quarter of the 7th century. There were still people living there in the 10th century.

Sumptuous decoration


The main part of the excavations took place in the royal sector, in the east of the city. A fire altar, sometimes interpreted as a shrine to Anahita, was erected near the palace. In the center there is a cross-shaped space with eight large square exedrae decorated with 64 alcoves. The French excavators believed it had been covered with a dome roof, but this reconstruction has been rejected. To the west lies a courtyard decorated with mosaics; to the east, a square iwan used as a reception room. Its walls must have been covered with small stucco ornaments: rows of medallions, bands of foliage, and topped with merlons inherited from Achaemenid architecture. All these decorative techniques were still used after the Islamic conquest of Iran. The floor was paved with black marble slabs, with a mosaic border. Along the walls runs a narrow band featuring a series of heads and masks, in a frontal or profile view, on a white background. At the top of each alcove there was a picture of women naked under their transparent veils: courtesans, musicians, dancers, women twisting garlands, together with a few richly attired noble ladies.

See also

  • Academy of Gundishapur
    Academy of Gundishapur
    The Academy of Gondishapur , also Jondishapur , was a renowned academy of learning in the city of Gundeshapur during late antiquity, the intellectual center of the Sassanid empire. It offered training in medicine, philosophy, theology and science. The faculty were versed in the Zoroastrian and...

  • Kazerun
    Kazerun
    Kazerun is a city in and the capital of Kazerun County, Fars Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 84,594, in 20,810 families....

  • Fars
  • Sassanid dynasty
  • Shapur cave
    Shapur cave
    Shapur cave is located in the Zagros Mountains, in southern Iran, about 6 km from the ancient city of Bishapur. This cave is near Kazerun....


External links


  • Bishapur, Photos from Iran, Livius.