Bishapur (Middle Persian: Bay-Šāpūr; Persian: بیشاپور‎, Bishâpûr) was an ancient city in Sasanid Persia (Iran) on the ancient road between Persis and Elam. The road linked the Sassanid capitals Estakhr (very close to Persepolis) and Ctesiphon. It is located south of modern Faliyan in the Kazerun County of Pars Province, Iran.

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.

The most important point about this city, is the combination of Persian and Roman art and architecture that hadn't been seen before Bishapur construction. Before Bishapour was built, almost all the main cities in Persia/Iran had a circular shape like the old city in Firuzabad or Darab. Bishapour is the first city with vertical and horizontal streets also in the city specially in interior design we can see tile work that's adapted from Roman Art

in Persian: بیشاپور
Bishapur (Iran) Sassanid Period 2
The ruins of Bishapur
Bishapur is located in Iran
Shown within Iran
Alternative nameBishâpûr
LocationKazerun, Fars Province, Iran
Coordinates29°46′40″N 51°34′15″E / 29.77778°N 51.57083°ECoordinates: 29°46′40″N 51°34′15″E / 29.77778°N 51.57083°E
BuilderShapur I
Founded226 AD
CulturesPersian (Sasanian era)


Bishapour palais Shapur
Ruins of Shapour Palace in Bishapur
Bishapur by Eugène Flandin
Bishapur in 1840; a painting by Eugène Flandin in the book "Travel in Persia" (Voyage en Perse)
Bishapour jarres
Jarres discovered in Bishapur

The name Bishapur derives from Bay-Šāpūr, which means Lord Shapur.[1]

According to an inscription, the city itself was founded in 266 AD by Shapur I (241-272), who was the second Sassanid king and inflicted a triple defeat on the Romans, having killed Gordian III, captured Valerian and forced Philip the Arab to surrender. 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 relief 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, has the remarkable dam bridge in Shushtar, built by Roman soldiers who had been captured after Valerian's defeat in 260. However, it was not a completely new settlement: archaeologists have found remains from the Parthian and Elamite ages.

The city remained important until the Arab conquest of Persia the rise of Islam in the second quarter of the 7th century AD. There were still people living there in the 10th century.

The city has a rectangular plan with a grid pattern of regular intra urban streets, resembling Roman city design. This design was never repeated in the architecture of Iran.[2]

Excavations and Research

The site was cleared by the Russian-French archaeologist Roman Ghirshman in the 1930s. The British archaeologist Georgina Herrmann has also written a book about the Sasanian rock reliefs in Bishapur which was published in 1980.[3]


Persian-Roman floor mosaic detail from the palace of Shapur I at Bishapur. Now this tile work is in National Museum of Iran

The main part of the excavations took place in the royal sector, in the east of the city. A water temple, interpreted as a Anahita temple , 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 Persia.

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


  1. ^
  2. ^ Salma, K. Jayyusi; Holod, Renata; Petruccioli, Attilio; André, Raymond (2008). The City in the Islamic World. Leiden: Brill. p. 174. ISBN 9789004162402.
  3. ^

External links

Al-Muhallab ibn Abi Sufra

Al-Muḥallab ibn Abī Ṣufrah Al-Azdī (Arabic: ٱلْمُهَلَّب ابْن أَبِي صُفْرَة ٱلْأَزْدِي‎), also known as "Abū Saʿīd" (Arabic: أَبْو سَعِيْد‎; c. 632 – February 702 CE, Khorasan), was an Azdi Arab warrior and general. He was an important participant in the political developments of his time and the object of many poets' praise. He is also regarded the progenitor of the Bu Said tribe, some of whom have been members Oman's ruling family since the 18th century.

Architects of Iran

Traditionally, Iranian architects were known as Mi'mars.

The Persian dictionary of Mo'in defines Mi'mar as:

That who devises the design and plan of a building, and overlooks its construction.

A Banna

That who is responsible for the building, developing, and repairs of a structure or edifice (Emārat).Classical words Banna, Mohandes, Ostad, and Amal which appear in classical manuals and references of Islamic architecture.

Although many scholars do not recognize the Mimar and the Architect to historically be the same, they do agree that their responsibilities overlap extensively. In this list, they are taken to be the same.

The list is in chronological order and selectively spans the Islamic age based on available records. There is little, if any, record of the numerous masters of architecture that built some of the early Islamic and pre-Islamic world's wonders of Iran. It is unknown who built the palaces of Bishapur, Firouzabad, Persepolis, Susa, or the many other spectacular ancient edifices of Greater Iran. No record of their names exists. Only the ruins of what they built give us a faint indication of what masters must have walked the face of this earth eons ago.

Many of the structures remaining today possibly had more than one architect working on them. Only one is mentioned in the following list, and only their most famous work is mentioned. The list also contains the names of builders whom exact dates have been attributed to their buildings.

Battle of Bishapur (643–644)

The Battle of Bishapur took place during the Muslim conquest of Fars, a province of Persia, in the seventh century AD. The city was taken by the Muslim Rashidun forces after a siege.

Chahartaq (architecture)

Chartaq (Persian: چارطاق‎), chahartaq (چهارطاق), chartaqi (چارطاقی), or chahartaqi (چهارطاقی), literally meaning "having four arches", is an architectural unit consisted of four barrel vaults and a dome.

Colossal Statue of Shapur I

The Colossal Statue of Shapur I, a statue of Shapur I (AD 240–272), the second king of the Sassanid Empire, stands in the so-called Shapur cave, a huge limestone cave located about 6 km from the ancient city of Bishapur in the south of Iran. The statue is about 35 m from the cave entrance, on the fourth of five terraces, lying approximately 3.4 m below the level of the cave entrance. Its height of about 6.7 m and breadth across the shoulders of more than 2 m make it one of the most impressive sculptures from the Sassanian period.


Kazeroon (Persian: كازرون‎, also Romanized as Kāzerūn, Kāzeroūn, and Kazeroon; also known as Kasrun) is a city and capital of Kazeroon County, Fars Province, Iran. In 2017 its population was 143,869 in 68,810 families.

Its agricultural products include date palms, citrus orchards, wheat, tobacco, rice, cotton, and vines.

The nearby ruins of the ancient city of Bishapur 12 mi (19 km) N., include bas-relief depictions from the Sasanid era (ca. 224–651). A statue of Shapur I (AD 241–272) can be found in a large cave at the site. The ruins of the Qaleh-ye Gabri (Castle of the Gabrs, or Zoroastrians) are located on a mound SE of Kazeroon.

Muslim conquest of Pars

The Muslim conquest of Pars took place from 638/9 to 650/1, and ended with subjugation of the important Sasanian province of Pars to the Rashidun Caliphate.

Naqsh-e Rustam

Naqsh-e Rustam (Persian: نقش رستم‎ [ˌnæɣʃeɾosˈtæm]) is an ancient necropolis located about 12 km northwest of Persepolis, in Fars Province, Iran, with a group of ancient Iranian rock reliefs cut into the cliff, from both the Achaemenid and Sassanid periods. It lies a few hundred meters from Naqsh-e Rajab, with a further four Sassanid rock reliefs, three celebrating kings and one a high priest.

Naqsh-e Rustam is the necropolis of the Achaemenid dynasty (c. 550–330 BC), with four large tombs cut high into the cliff face. These have mainly architectural decoration, but the facades include large panels over the doorways, each very similar in content, with figures of the king being invested by a god, above a zone with rows of smaller figures bearing tribute, with soldiers and officials. The three classes of figures are sharply differentiated in size. The entrance to each tomb is at the center of each cross, which opens onto a small chamber, where the king lay in a sarcophagus.Well below the Achaemenid tombs, near ground level, are rock reliefs with large figures of Sassanian kings, some meeting gods, others in combat. The most famous shows the Sassanian king Shapur I on horseback, with the Roman Emperor Valerian bowing to him in submission, and Philip the Arab (an earlier emperor who paid Shapur tribute) holding Shapur's horse, while the dead Emperor Gordian III, killed in battle, lies beneath it (other identifications have been suggested). This commemorates the Battle of Edessa in 260 AD, when Valerian became the only Roman Emperor who was captured as a prisoner of war, a lasting humiliation for the Romans. The placing of these reliefs clearly suggests the Sassanid intention to link themselves with the glories of the earlier Achaemenid Empire.

Pars (Sasanian province)

Pars (Middle Persian: 𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩 Pārs, pronounced [ˈpaːrs]) was a Sasanian province in Late Antiquity, which almost corresponded to the present-day province of Fars. The province bordered Khuzestan in the west, Kirman in the east, Spahan in the north, and Mazun in the south.

Parthian style

The Parthian style is a style (sabk) of historical Iranian architecture.

This style of architecture includes designs from the Seleucid (310–140 BCE), Parthian (247 BCE – 224 CE), and Sassanid (224–651 CE) eras, reaching its apex of development in the Sassanid period.

Examples of this style are Ghal'eh Dokhtar, the royal compounds at Nysa, Anahita Temple, Khorheh, Hatra, the Ctesiphon vault of Kasra, Bishapur, and the Palace of Ardashir in Ardeshir Khwarreh (Firouzabad).The Parthi style of architecture appeared after Alexander the Great's conquest of the Achaemenid Empire in the 3rd century BCE, and historically includes the Sassanid, Parthian, and post Islamic eras, up to the 9-10th centuries. The remains of the architectural style of this period are not abundant, and although much was borrowed and incorporated from Greek designs and methods, architects and builders of this age employed many innovative concepts of their own as well.

Roman Ghirshman

Roman Ghirshman (Russian: Роман Михайлович Гиршман, Roman Mikhailovich Girshman; October 3, 1895 – 5 September 1979) was a Russian-born French archeologist who specialized in ancient Persia.

A native of Kharkiv, in the Kharkov Governorate of the Russian Empire (present-day Ukraine) Ghirshman moved to Paris in 1917 to study Archeology and Ancient Languages. He was mainly interested in the archeological ruins of Iran, specifically Teppe Gian, Teppe Sialk, Bagram in Afghanistan, Bishapur in Fars, and Susa.

In the 1930s, Girshman, together with his wife Tania Ghirshman, was the first to excavate Teppe Sialk. His studies on Chogha Zanbil have been printed in 4 volumes, and he also led excavation teams at Kharg Island, Iwan-i Karkheh, and the Parthian platforms in Masjed Soleiman, near Izeh, Khuzestan.

With 300 papers and 20 books published, Ghirshman was one of the most prolific and respected experts on ancient Iran. Some of his works on Susa have not even been published yet, but have served other archeologists such as Jean Perrot and Hermann Gasche in subsequent follow-up studies in the 1960s and 1970s in Iran.

Sasanian architecture

Sasanian architecture refers to the Persian architectural style that reached a peak in its development during the Sasanian era. In many ways the Sasanian Empire period (224-651 CE) witnessed the highest achievement of Persian civilization, and constituted the last great pre-Islamic Persian Empire before the Muslim conquest. In fact part of Sasanian architecture was adopted by Muslims and became part of Islamic architecture.

The Sasanian dynasty, like the Achaemenid Empire, originated in the province of Persis (Fars). They saw themselves as successors to the Achaemenians, after the Hellenistic and Parthian dynasty interlude, and perceived it as their role to restore the greatness of Persia.

Sasanian art

Sasanian art, or Sassanid art, was produced under the Sasanian Empire which ruled from the 3rd to 7th centuries AD, before the Muslim conquest of Persia was completed around 651. In 224 AD, the last Parthian king was defeated by Ardashir I. The resulting Sasanian dynasty would last for four hundred years, ruling modern Iran, Iraq, and much territory to the east and north of modern Iran. At times the Levant, much of Anatolia and parts of Egypt and Arabia were under its control. It began a new era in Iran and Mesopotamia, which in many ways was built on Achaemenid traditions, including the art of the period. Nevertheless, there were also other influences on art of the period that came from as far as China and the Mediterranean.The surviving art of the Sassanids is best seen in its architecture, reliefs and metalwork, and there are some surviving paintings from what was evidently a widespread production. Stone reliefs were probably greatly outnumbered by interior ones in plaster, of which only fragments have survived. Free standing sculptures are fewer than in Parthian art, but the Colossal Statue of Shapur I (r. AD 240–272) is a major exception, carved from a stalagmite grown in a cave; there are literary mentions of other colossal statues of kings, now lost. There are important Sassanid rock reliefs, and the Parthian tradition of moulded stucco decoration to buildings continued, also including large figurative scenes.

Surviving Sassanid art depicts courtly and chivalric scenes, with considerable grandeur of style, reflecting the lavish life and display of the Sassanid court as recorded by Byzantine ambassadors. Images of rulers dominate many of the surviving works, though none are as large as the Colossal Statue of Shapur I. Hunting and battle scenes enjoyed a special popularity, and lightly-clothed dancing girls and entertainers. Representations are often arranged like a coat of arms, which in turn may have had a strong influence on the production of art in Europe and East Asia. Although Parthian art preferred the front view, the narrative representations of the Sassanian art often features figures shown in the profile or a three-quarter view. Frontal views occur less frequently.

Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars Region

Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars Region (Persian: چشم‌انداز باستان‌شناسی ساسانی منطقه فارس‎) is the official denomination given by UNESCO to eight Sasanian-era archaeological sites situated in the southeast of Fars Province, Iran. It was recognized on 30 June 2018 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Shapur I

Shapur I (Middle Persian: 𐭱𐭧𐭯𐭥𐭧𐭥𐭩‎; New Persian: شاپور‎), also known as Shapur the Great, was the second shahanshah (king of kings) of the Sasanian Empire. The dates of his reign are commonly given as 240/42 – 270, but it is likely that he also reigned as co-regent (together with his father) prior to his father's death in 242 (more probably than 240).Shapur I's rule was marked by successful military and political struggles in the northeastern regions and the Caucasus, and two wars with the Roman Empire during the second of which he captured the Roman Emperor Valerian and his entire army at the Battle of Edessa. His support for Zoroastrianism caused a rise in the position of the clergy, and his religious tolerance accelerated the spread of Manichaeanism and Christianity in Persia. He is also noted in the Jewish tradition.

Shapur cave

Shapur cave/ Shapour cave (Persian: غار شاپور‎) is located in the Zagros Mountains, in southern Iran, about 6 km from the ancient city of Bishapur. This cave is near Kazerun in Chogan valley, which was the site of polo (Persian čōgān چُوگان), in the Sasanian period.

In the cave, on the fourth of five terraces, stands the colossal statue of Shapur I, the second ruler of the Sasanid Empire. The statue was carved from one stalagmite. The height of statue is 7 metres and its shoulders are 2m wide, and its hands are 3m long.About 1400 years ago, after the invasion of Iran by Arabs and collapse of the Sasanid dynasty, this grand statue was pulled down and a part of one of its legs was broken. About 70 years ago, again, parts of his arms were also broken. The statue had been lying on the ground for about 14 centuries until 1957 when upon orders of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi a group of his military men to raise it again on its feet and fix his foot with iron and cement. The project of raising the statue, building the roads from Bishapur to the area and paths in the mountain, stairs and iron fences on the route to the cave took six months in 1957.

The length of cave entrance is about 16 m., with a height of less than 8m Behind the statue, in the depth of the cave, are three ancient water-basins. At both sides of the statue, the rock-walls of the cave were prepared for reliefs by leveling, but the reliefs were never made. It is said that in addition to this giant statue of Shapur I, the tomb of this great man is also situated somewhere in this cave. Another legend— according to the local belief—indicates that Shapur, being defeated in a battle, ran into this cave and was lost ever since and his body/remains have never been recovered.There are two inscriptions in the cave, one translates Shapur's own inscription on the role of Rajab. The other is about the restoration of the statue by the army.


Shiraz ( (listen); Persian: شیراز‎, Šīrāz, [ʃiːˈrɒːz] (listen)) is the fifth-most-populous city of Iran and the capital of Fars Province (Old Persian as Pars). At the 2016 census, the population of the city was 1,869,001 and its built-up area with "Shahr-e Jadid-e Sadra" (Sadra New Town) was home to 1,565,572 inhabitants. Shiraz is located in the southwest of Iran on the "Rudkhaneye Khoshk" (The Dry River) seasonal river. It has a moderate climate and has been a regional trade center for over a thousand years. Shiraz is one of the oldest cities of ancient Persia.

The earliest reference to the city, as Tiraziš, is on Elamite clay tablets dated to 2000 BC. In the 13th century, Shiraz became a leading center of the arts and letters, due to the encouragement of its ruler and the presence of many Persian scholars and artists. It was the capital of Persia during the Zand dynasty from 1750 until 1800. Two famous poets of Iran, Hafez and Saadi, are from Shiraz, whose tombs are on the north side of the current city boundaries.

Shiraz is known as the city of poets, literature, wine (despite Iran being an Islamic republic since 1979), and flowers. It is also considered by many Iranians to be the city of gardens, due to the many gardens and fruit trees that can be seen in the city, for example Eram Garden. Shiraz has had major Jewish and Christian communities. The crafts of Shiraz consist of inlaid mosaic work of triangular design; silver-ware; pile carpet-weaving and weaving of kilim, called gilim and jajim in the villages and among the tribes. In Shiraz industries such as cement production, sugar, fertilizers, textile products, wood products, metalwork and rugs dominate. Shirāz also has a major oil refinery and is also a major center for Iran's electronic industries: 53% of Iran's electronic investment has been centered in Shiraz. Shiraz is home to Iran's first solar power plant. Recently the city's first wind turbine has been installed above Babakuhi mountain near the city.

Temple of Anahita, Kangavar

The Anahita Temple (Persian: معبد آناهیتا or پرستشگاه‌ آناهیتا‎) is the name of one of two archaeological sites in Iran popularly thought to have been attributed to the ancient deity Anahita. The larger and more widely known of the two is located at Kangāvar in Kermanshah Province. The other is located at Bishapur.

The remains at Kangavar reveal an edifice that is Hellenistic in character, and yet display Persian architectural designs. The plinth's enormous dimensions for example, which measure just over 200m on a side, and its megalithic foundations, which echo Achaemenid stone platforms, "constitute Persian elements". This is thought to be corroborated by the "two lateral stairways that ascend the massive stone platform recalling Achaemenid traditions", particularly that of the Apadana Palace at Persepolis.Another Iranian construction with Hellenistic characteristics is the Khurra mausoleum in Markazi Province.

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