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Iran Royal Road Connects East to West

Iran Royal Road, as an enduring achievements of Persia, caused Persia to present its innovations and creativity to the world.
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Iran Royal Road Introduction

Communication, intimacy, and friendship are still the main issues that keeps the connection between people alive and becomes the reason for nation to interact with each other. To make that happen, Iran Royal Road had to be designed to create connections between lands so, relationships formed, friendships formed, all because of the roads as the main arteries of communication between nations.

Iran Royal Road, as one of the enduring achievements of Persia throughout history, caused Persia to present its innovations and creativity in this field as a transnational achievement to the international community. The means of communication at the beginning of the reign of Cyrus the Great were the same as the ways of the Medes, which later, as a result of the conquest of other lands, such as Asia Minor, Mesopotamia and the eastern parts of the Persian plateau, Useful measures have just begun.

Anahita Temple, achaemenid architecture, Kermanshah travel attraction
Anahita Temple depicts purity of Zoroastrians by their respect to the god of water in Kermanshah.

Herodotus Narrations of the Royal Road

According to Herodotus’ account of Cyrus’s expedition to Lady, it is clear that by order of Cyrus, for the first time in the history of the world, bridges were built over rivers in parallel with the construction of public buildings, such as caravanserais, traffic lights, and water, etc. have also taken action.

Darius the Great, at the end of the fifth century BC, integrated his vast realm with a unique network of roads. The most famous of these roads was the royal road that connected Persepolis to Pasargadae and Susa, as well as the region of Rey and Hegmataneh to other Achaemenid imperial cities as far as Mesopotamia and Sard in Lydia (present-day Izmir in Turkey). In Khuzestan, this road passed through Shush, Shushtar, and Ram Hormoz. The path was later used by the Roman Empire.

This road, which was built as fast as it is today, bypasses the big cities because the enemies could not easily reach the city gates from these highways. Royal couriers using fast horses could travel 2,500 kilometers between Susa and Sard in nine days and reach the port cities of Smyrna or Alas in 10 days.

Susa museum, Ahvaz travel attraction
Susa is an archive of archaeological remains of the Achaemenid era as one of the three
capital of the empire in Ahvaz.

The Fastest Messaging Road in Ancient World

This messaging network was so popular that even in the Middle Ages, its name, Angarion, became a symbol of speed. Herodotus describes how the network works: “At this time, there is no one who can move faster than these peaks and this skillful Persian network. It is said that there are ready men and horses across the road for the number of days of each trip, and one horse and one horseman are used in each trip. Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor night darkness can stop this horse from riding quickly to their destination. “The first courier lends the message to the second courier, the second one to the third one, as well as the handheld to reach the destination.”

Pasargadae, Achaemenid capital, UNESCO heritage, Shiraz travel attraction

The First Engineering Royal Road

We can claim that the royal road of Persia is the first engineering road in the world and also the first international highway in the world. This royal road was the best in this period, but it was not the only road. The Achaemenid state, due to its vastness, needed several ways to be aware of the situation of its satraps and colonies. That’s one of the reasons why the central government used several capitals. Land and sea routes flourished during this period, mostly for political reasons, but they were effective in boosting trade.

Iran Royal Road History

The Royal Roads of Persia were built centuries before and better than the famous Roman roads. Along these roads, which branched off from Susa, the administrative capital of the Achaemenids, officials of the imperial posts were moving. They took the king’s orders to the military commanders and satraps and returned the local reports to the center. Ordinary people – perhaps at a slower speed – could travel on all roads, and thus trade and the cultural development and innovations in ideology expanded.

Susa is an archive of archaeological remains of the Achaemenid era as one of the three
capital of the empire.

Achaemenid Period of the Royal Road

During the Achaemenid period, one of the most considerable issues for the government was to provide communication channels between different parts of the country. In the narrations of historians, one mentioned option is that in these communication routes, based on experience, they calculated the distance that a new horse was able to travel quickly and built printing houses and caravanserais during these distances. In these centers, which were probably all government, people were assigned to receive government correspondence and mail.

According to Professor Heid-Marie Koch, inscriptions of government officials were found in Persepolis, which indicated the number of rations of the officer and possibly his companions and servants. Many ancient Greek historians have praised the structure of the Achaemenid Empire. Herodotus spoke in detail about the condition of the roads and their equipment, and Xenophon, who personally walked these roads, confirmed Herodotus’ writings.

Persepolis National Gate, Iran Classic Tour Heritage
Persepolis embraces the most significant Achaemenid heritage. It is not only an archeological remain, but also a fact of the cultural legacies of Persians.

Imperial Majesties of the Road

Royal roads had steps and houses, printing presses and food warehouses; And this is what Herodotus describes in his famous description: Along the way, there have been royal stations and inns. The establishment of security patrols, which was the most significant issue in the travels of that time, contributed to the economic life and trade of the Achaemenid period.

Printing houses must have enclosed roofed facilities, which were temporary accommodation of humans and animals as possible. In these printing presses, the royal peaks were always ready to be replaced, and there were fresh horses for any situation. These printing presses acted as security centers in remote areas, and there were usually several villages around them. In his description of the Cold Road, Herodotus writes of Susa: “Royal roads passed through residential and safe areas,” which means that there was no danger of being hungry or trapped by bandits.

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