Introduction of Bishapur Ancient City, imperial Heritage
Bishapur Ancient City is on the royal road of ancient times connecting Persepolis and Istakhr to the ancient city of Susa from the Achaemenid era. After the war between Persia and the Roman Empire ended with the victory of Shapur I over Valerian, the Persian king (the second and one of the most powerful Sassanid kings) ordered the city to be built by a Syrian architect named Epsai in 226 AD. Although the town of Gur, Bishapur, and Ctesiphon was founded during the Sasanian period, archaeologists have found the remains from the Elamite and Parthian ages.
The Sassanids ruled for more than 400 years in a large region consisting of Persia, present Iraq, some parts of eastern Saudi Arabia, the Levant, the Caucasus, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Central Asia, Yemen, and Pakistan, where is added to UNESCO World Heritage List in 2018.
History of Bishapur Ancient City, Sassanid Heritage
Using the forms and motifs of other civilizations in art and decoration, based on the king’s desire, the historical city of Bishapur has been carefully designed and executed. The city with the gift that the stunning nature of Shapur plain in the green plain of Kazerun and the clear river of Cheshmeh Sasan had given to was competed with the most captivating and wealthy cities of the civilized world at that time, such as Antioch, the exquisite bride of the cities of Byzantium (Eastern Rome).
The Architecture of Bishapur Ancient City
Bishapur Ancient City layout was a rectangular square by a new design (Hippodamus), and people inhabited there till the 7th century AH. The two north-south and east-west streets divide the city into four sections, each with one of the city’s gates, and the main gate was on the west side where the remains of the bridge are today. The city is protected on four sides, to the north by Dokhtar Castle and tower-like walls, to the west side by Shapur River, to the east and south side by moats which protect the city.
About Tang-e-Chogan in the Historical site of Bishapur
The masterpiece of Sassanid carvings remains in Tang-e-Chogan, near the Bishapur Ancient City on the banks of the Shapur River. Six prominent roles are engraved on both sides of the carving of the Sassanid kings, of which six depict Shapur’s victory over Roman Emperor Valerian, and the other three relate to the triumph of Bahram II over the rebels. Also, the crowning of Bahram I by Ahuramazda and Shapur II’s victory over the rebels and enemies.
For the first time between 1935 and 1941, Georges Sal, and Dr. Ghirshman, sent delegates from the Louvre Museum of Paris to conduct archaeological excavations in the historic city. Erected a “double-walled” high-rise building, they renamed the Fire Place, introducing a large, covered hall called the Dedicated Palace, another place called the Place of Devotion, and a porch adorned with mosaics to the world of archeology and history.
The ancient city of Bishapur as a Museum:
Bishapur Ancient City includes two main parts;
The royal citadel included Anahita Temple, Hall of Ceremonies, Palace of Valerian, and Mosaic portal.
The public area included: Residential Houses, Caravanserai, Bazaar, and Bathhouses.
Sassanid Anahita Temple of Bishapur
The most important monument in the ancient city of Bishapur is Anahita Temple (water goddess). Water is praised among the Aryans and in the Zoroastrian religion, so it is the reason that they established worship houses for water, one of the most significant of which is the Anahita temple in Bishapur Ancient City. From an architectural and engineering point of view, it is a masterwork of the Sassanid era. The people of that era skillfully guided and divided the water of Shapur River, which is 2 meters from this place, with various devices.
Ceremonial Hall of Bishapur
There is a massive hall about 781 square meters on the southeast side of the Anahita Temple, known as the Ceremonial Hall. It gained a plan of four porches and was once a high dome in its centre.
Devotion place of Bishapur
This place is the historical document of Bishapur Ancient City planning; there are two high columns where the two main streets intersect with valuable inscriptions. These columns are 9 meters high seems like a magnificent statue of Shapur I in their midst.
Mosaic porch (Mosaic Yard) of Bishapur
Mosaic hall is one of the artistic glories of the Sassanid era, about 23 meters long and 20 meters wide. Today, you can find the fragments of such an exquisite porch in museums such as Louvre in France, Ancient Persia, and the Cicerone. Additionally, it is interesting to mention the colours used in these mosaics, and their designs are so striking that you think there is a carpet.
Bishapur Ancient City Historic Cave
Bishapur’s historic cave and its famous statue, the Valerian Palace, Islamic School, Bishapur Mosque, Sasanid Bridge, Tower and Barrow are other valuable monuments.