Introduction to Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System
In the history of their rule, the Achaemenids have left astonishing monuments for the Persians. But some structures, in addition to beauty and splendor, are known for their engineering and calculated structure. One of these architectural monuments that lasted until the Sassanid era are the water structures of Shushtar. Its proximity to the Tchogha Zanbil Temple had made the city very prestigious among the Elamites, and in the end all these reasons led to the formation of the first Persian civilizations in Shushtar.
Achaemenid Water Engineering
The Achaemenids built this structure to make more use of running water. Over time, various sections were added to this brick structure to form the largest water museum in ancient Persia. What is interesting about Shushtar water structures is the completely engineered design of this building; bridges, dams, mills, canals and water tunnels are all built with the finest mathematical and environmental calculations in the middle of running water to provide the best water supply to the city and the water needed for agricultural lands. The mechanical engineering of Shushtar hydraulic structures is very important from a hydraulic point of view, although they date back to BC and took more than 300 years to complete, and they are fully in line with today’s hydrodynamic principles. The first stone structures of Shushtar were built by Cyrus the Great.
Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System construction in Ferdowsi Shahnameh
The construction of this water supply system and its proper use about 1700 years ago is so amazing that although these structures were rebuilt many times during the Sassanid, Seljuk, Qajar and even Pahlavi eras, but finally in 1342 AH, it was seriously damaged. But today, despite the damage done to the building, it is one of the most important parts of Shushtar and Persia. Ferdowsi narrates that Shapur, the king of the third Persian dynasty, after the defeat of the Roman emperor Valerian, and to compensate for the war damage he had caused, Branus commissioned a capable engineer to build water structures in Khuzestan. This engineer used Roman soldiers as construction workers and was able to block the abundant water flow of Khuzestan and Shushtar region with his various structures. These structures included a series of bridges, dams, mills and waterfalls, canals and tunnels that were considered essential for the water-rich region of Khuzestan.
Shushtar is a city in the foothills of the Zagros Mountains and in the fertile province of Khuzestan, a tropical city with a clever architecture that has a history of thousands of years and dates back to more than a thousand years ago and of course, locating alongside the clamorous Karoon River which has always been the reason of the province prosperity. Achaemenids left amazing monuments and buildings for the Persian people during their rule, but some of the structures are famous not only for their beauty and splendor, but also for their engineering and calculated structure. One of these reminding monuments of engineering architecture that lasted until the Sassanid era is The Hydraulic System of Shushtar of which the short distance to Tchogha Zanbil Temple made the city popular among the Elamites, which eventually led to the formation of the first Persian civilizations in Shushtar.
History of Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System
The Achaemenids built the hydraulic system to make more use of the running water. Over time, various sections were added to this brick structure to form the largest water museum in ancient Persia. The interesting issue about Shushtar Hydraulic System is the fully engineered design of the structure. Bridges, dams, mills, canals and water tunnels, all have been built with the finest mathematical and environmental calculations in the middle of the running water to provide the best water for the city and the water needed for agricultural farms. Mechanical Engineering of Shushtar Hydraulic System is very important. Although the lifespan of these structures dates back to before Christ and took more than 300 years to complete, it’s been built in line with modern hydrodynamic principles. The first stone structures of Shushtar were built by Cyrus the Great.
The construction of this water supply system and its proper use about 1700 years ago is so amazing that although these structures were rebuilt again and again during the Sassanid, Seljuk, Qajar and even Pahlavi eras, but in 1342 AH, it took a serious damage. These days, despite the damage to the building, it is one of the most important parts of Shushtar City and Persia.
Architecture of This Engineering Masterwork
The architecture of Shushtar Hydraulic System can be considered as one of the wonders of history. At that time, building such a huge structure with simple tools required a lot of knowledge. In order to completely seal the structure, the engineers of that time, in the heart of the stone and the mortar, created holes to keep the building well through thousands of years. One of the most important architectural tasks of Shushtar Hydraulic System was to divert Karun water to the other side. This was done with complete delicacy. The bottom of the creek was well sealed so that its base would not be destroyed over time. The water then had to be collected behind a high dam and eventually passed through holes created in the rock and mortar. It is interesting to note that the water was first passed through water mills and finally into streams and tunnels. At the end of the water, a beautiful waterfall flowed from the cliffs into small ponds to provide agricultural and drinking water for the villagers.
Ferdowsi tells that Shapur, the king of the third Persian dynasty, after defeating the Roman emperor Valerian and to compensate for the war he had caused, appointed Branus, a powerful engineer, to build water structures in Khuzestan. The engineer used Roman soldiers as construction workers and with his numerous structures, was able to close the flow of water to Khuzestan and the Shushtar region. These structures include the bridges, dams, mills and waterfalls, canals and tunnels, which seemed necessary for the water-rich region of Khuzestan.
Characteristics and Structure of Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System
Shushtar Hydraulic System indicate that the ancient tribes of Persia attached great importance to the water distribution system and, of course, to its saving. The architecture and resistance of this building during these years is one of its distinctive and unique features. In terms of the performance of this system or this large water system, you should know that everything starts from Gargar Dam and water deviates from the Gargar Dam.
Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System , As a UNESCO World Heritage
This historical monument, which according to the engineering science and tools of that time, is really a very strange phenomenon and has been called a “masterpiece of genius and creativity” by UNESCO. This inscribed work was on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2009.
UNESCO World Heritage Criteria of Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System
Criterion (i): This huge collection shows the role of water diversion canal technology and the construction of dams in the development of residential cities in ancient times. The Shushtar hydraulic system was designed and completed three centuries B.C with good performance and is still in use today. Due to its technical diversity and completeness, this collection is a testament to human genius in ancient times.
Criterion (ii): Shushtar hydraulic system is a combination of a variety of technologies that come together to form a large-scale, complete set. In the design of water supply canals, the specialties of the Elamites, Mesopotamian and Nabataean civilizations have been used, and in construction, Roman techniques have been used. Many visitors of these hydraulic systems have got amazed and had been inspiring to some. The effect of Shushtar Hydraulic System on the extensive exchange of hydraulic knowledge and its application in Islamic periods and various Persian governments can be seen.
Criterion (v): Shushtar is a unique example of the role of hydraulic technologies in the formation of desert and arid cities in ancient times. The diversion of the river downstream of the mountains, the usage of large urban engineering structures and the construction of water canals, caused the river to flow, including urban water supply, agricultural water supply, fisheries, factories, transportation, urban defense systems, etc….to be used. This collection is a cultural certificate that shows the formation of a human society in harmony with the natural environment 18 centuries ago.
Location of Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System
After getting to Shushtar city in Khuzestan province, it is located in the south of Gargar Dam Bridge and Shariati Street, between Gargar dam and Ayar tower dam. This monument is also close to Susa and Tchogha Zanbil Ziggurat, one of the oldest temples around the world. You even can get to visit the Apadana Castle, ruins left from the winter palace of Achaemenids. All these monuments are about 85 km far from the Shushtar Hydraulic System.
When to visit Shushtar Hydraulic System
Best time to visit Shushtar is late winter and early spring, because it is the most favorable weather during these times. Besides, summers in Shushtar are hot and it is difficult to bear the humidity, so it is not a good season to travel.
Where to stay near Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System
Tabib Shoushtari Traditional Hotel
Tabib Shoushtari 3* hotel is one of the tourist attractions of this city. This house, which is located in the historical neighborhood of Deldel, belonged to the Qajar period and the decorations used in the hotel provided a traditional and pleasant environment for a memorable trip.
Afzal Mansion Traditional Hotel
Afzal Mansion is one of the historical monuments of Shush that was built during the Qajar period by Rajabali Afzal. This ancient complex is the kind of ecological museum that is now ready to receive travelers.
Sarabi Traditional Hotel
Sarabi Traditional Hotel dates back to more than two hundred years ago, to Qajar period. This 3* hotel is located in the historical context of Shush city and its traditional atmosphere makes the stay in this hotel pleasant.
Where to eat near Shushtar Hydraulic System
If you are interested in tasting delicious mouth-watering of Shushtari and green plum stew, Mostofi House Restaurant is a great place to eat these foods. Don’t forget that there is a special bread in Mostofi House-restaurant served that is very popular, but this must be included that this bread is fatty and if you are on a diet, you will not be offered it.
This traditional restaurant is known as one of the best restaurants in Shushtar due to the excellent quality of its food.
Turquoise Restaurant and Daisy House
One of the best places to spend Daisy in Shushtar is Firoozeh Restaurant and the Daisy House. If you want to try Daisy in Shushtar, go to Firoozeh Restaurant. Plus Daisy, you can enjoy all the traditional dishes of Shushtar in this restaurant.
* If you travel to Shushtar, visit Malasani and enjoy one of the best ice creams of your life.
How to visit Shushtar Hydraulic System
You can disappear from the Shariati Bridge for hours, the beauty and complexity of Shushtar waterfalls and mills. Shushtar Moghaddam House is one of the other places of interest in Shushtar, which is located near the blue structures of Shushtar. We suggest the guests visit for a few minutes of the beauties of this restored historical mansion, which has now become the café of Moghadam House Gallery.
How to go to Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System
If you want to travel to Shushtar by your own car, you have access from Ahvaz, Dezful, Shush, Haft Tappeh, Choghaznabil and Masjed Soleiman. One way to reach the city is to take intercity buses, which are more suitable for closer distances. If you want to travel to Shushtar by air, since Shushtar does not have an airport, you have two options: Ahwaz Airport or Dezful Airport. Shushtar city also has a train station and you can travel to this city by train.