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Bam Citadel, Adobe in Scale of UNESCO Heritage

Bam Citadel, the largest clay and mud complex in the heart of the Spice Road in one of the oldest cities in Persia.
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Introduction to Bam Citadel

Bam, a city with more than 2000 years of memories hidden among the palm-trees, and flying high above the desert in the heart of Persia, is the largest clay and mud complex in the world. The complex highest point is Bam Citadel, which caused Bam Complex to be called Bam Citadel (in Persian: Arg-e-Bam). Bam City with high mountains and rich underground waters embrace two types of cold mountain climate and hot-dry climate.

History of Bam Citadel

Bam is one of the oldest cities in Persia. According to historian’s writings The construction of the Bam Citadel dates back to 4th to 6th B.C. It is good to mention that the city was known as the “Paris of Persia”. Henry Pottinger, an English explorer, considered Bam in his book as the industrial center of Kerman. Life in Bam, began six thousand years ago, in a period of history that there was a focus on a place called the Bam Citadel, which was located alongside one of the most important international highways of the ancient antiquity, called the Spice Road, which was one of the principal and important branches of the Silk Road, a trade route between East and West embracing strategic importance. It is assumed that the silk weaving industry was likely to reach Bam from China via the Spice Road (through India).

The inhabitants of the ancient city of Bam leave the city as a result of all the components a city needed for life, such as mosque, school, bazaar, and so on. People moved to the ancient city of Bam just for travel or farming. Bam Citadel was still the home of some people until 180 years ago.

Architecture of Bam Citadel

The fortress structure is a special architecture which demonstrates many uses, also it is one of the ancient features of Persian civilization in the central and near east plateau. Hertzfield, a former head of drilling in Persia, traces the architecture back to the second half of the millennium BC. The square history can be traced two thousand five hundred to three thousand years ago. After Alexander the Great, there were many examples of such landmarks in Persia. This style of construction was transmitted to other parts of the world, including Transnistria and East Asia.

Multi-Style Architecture

There is only one entrance to the citadel, which is attributed to the Ancient architecture, given the evidence and style of the entrance vault. Around the castle there were deep ditches that would protect the castle from the onslaught. The 38 watchtowers were located at certain distances on the fortress barracks, also there was a royal mansion built on a natural rock including five floors, all of clay and mud in the middle of the castle, in addition remaining columns and arches in Bam Castle, bakery shops, oil paintings and adobe shelves in the castle market showed its past prosperity. In the Islamic era, two mosques called the Jame Mosque and the Mosque of Prophet Muhammad and Hosseinieh consisted of a courtyard, a two-story porch and several rooms in Bam’s historic citadel were added to the complex, all of which were destroyed during the devastating earthquake of 2003. In Bam Citadel, there was also a turret, similar to other traditional stadiums of four porches, a dome and a pit, which were also destroyed.

The stories of Bam Citadel

There are some interesting stories about Bam Citadel in Ferdowsi’s famous book, Shahnameh. Ardashir Babakan attacking a fortress that Ferdowsi has repeatedly attacked to defeat the Haftan-Bokht (Haftvad) kingdom, the Haftvad fort on a mountain, said that this fort have been the first base of the Bam Fortress, since the mountain on which the Bam Citadel was built is the only rocky mountain in that area and no other mountain.

Bam as A UNESCO World Heritage

The unique features of the citadel and its ancient history caused Bam to be on the list of Persian national monuments on March 21st in 1966. The Citadel of Bam was listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List (Bam and its Cultural Landscape) in 2004.

Bam at Risk

Bam Citadel and its surrounding were completely destroyed by the earthquake. Around 26,000 people were died in the disaster. After Bam earthquake, some countries helped rebuilding some parts of the citadel with the motto of Bam Citadel owned by the people of the world, and in the interval between the Bam earthquake and the Bam Citadel joining the UNESCO World Heritage List, mobilize global and international experts came with the help of Persian experts, people such as Francesco Bandarin, head of the World Heritage Committee, Kuchiro Matsour, UNESCO Chairman, French Minister of Culture, then ICOMUS Chief and many other experts and cultural officials from around the world traveled to Bam to investigate this monument. Emergency Persia, at the 27th session of the UNESO World Heritage Committee was simultaneously listed Bam Citadel on the World Heritage List and the World Heritage List at risk.

UNESCO World Heritage Criteria of Bam Citadel

Criterion (ii): Bam Citadel is located at the crossroads of the important trade routes of southern Persia and is a complex that preserves the influence of different cultures.

Criterion (iii): The Bam Citadel and its unique cultural landscape are evidences for the existence of the civilization in the Central Asian region that traded in the desert environment.

Criterion (iv): The city of Bam is a very tangible example of cities using mud to build monuments, has been the home for great civilization in the Central Asian region.

Criterion (v): Bam’s cultural landscape is a unique example of human-nature interaction in the desert environment and the impact of the aqueduct in this development. It is a precise social system in which everyone’s responsibility is clear and has been consistent until recently.

Location of Bam Citadel

Bam is located in a desert environment on the southern edge of Persian’s high plateau, south of Shahdad area and close to Rayen castle and Shahzadeh Mahan Garden, also near the ancient city of Jiroft which dedicates the district to the location of history in Kerman province in southeastern Persia.

Where to eat near Bam Citadel

Visiting the largest adobe city in the world can make you quite hungry!

The Rose restaurant, which located close to the Citadel Hotel, is able to serve the tourists local dishes and vegetables. (10 km driving Bam-Zahedan road.)

The 4* Parsian Azadi Hotel is located in the historic city of Bam which is 15 minutes away by car to the Citadel of Bam and the hotel has a coffee shop, a restaurant and a cafe.

Langary Sandwich, Madar Fast Food, and Siah-o-Sefid Pizza are some of the places that you can consider for eating near Arg-e Bam.

Where to Stay near Bam Citadel

If you wish to stay in Bam for one night, you can choose to stay either in Bam Jahangardi Hotel to feel a traditional style of accommodation or the luxury Bam Parsian Azadi 4* Hotel to face a contradict by ancient site of Bam. Also you can find Arg-e Jadid Hotel to touch convenience and reasonable prices.

 How To Visit

After visiting the casern and coming downstairs, we suggest you to visit the photo gallery of the Citadel, before you get to the metal bridge to cross over. You definitely can hear the sound of music played in the gallery.

How to get to Bam Citadel

It takes about 15 hours from Tehran to reach Bam by car. The distance from Zahedan is 330 km. The journey from Zahedan to Bam takes about 4 hours by car.

Bus would be the best vehicle to travel all over Kerman and other neighboring provinces.

Kerman has no international airport, so if you have to fly to reach Bam, you should fly Kerman by one of the Domestic flights from Tehran to Kerman.

Bam has an airport and so you can board the plane to get there.

When to visit Bam Citadel

As a result of desertic environment the climate is mostly dry and warm, but in autumn and late winter which could be considered as early spring are the best periods to visit the monuments and Kerman province, also if you want to stay in the desert rather than Bam Citadel, you have to choose between autumn and winter.

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