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Bishapur


The so/called temple of Anahita. Photo Mahin Bahrami.
Photo Mahin Bahrami (*)
Bishapur: important Sasanian city in Iran, founded by king Shapur I, and built by Roman POWs.
    
History Castle City Palace "Temple" Cave
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City Walls

The construction of Bishapur was ordered by the Sasanian king Shapur I (), but it was built by Roman POWs, captured after the defeat of the Roman emperor Valerian in 260. Perhaps, they belonged to the Sixth legion Ferrata, because this unit disappears from our sources after Valerian's defeat. 
Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
The walls of Bishapur. Photo Marco Prins.
Many aspects of Bishapur's architecture look Roman and do not belong to Iranian building traditions. An example is what specialists call the "Hippodamian street plan", which means that the city looks like a gridiron. You can recognize it on this satellite photo. Another "Roman" aspect is the use of mosaics in the palace.

The walls of the city form a rectangular shape with a SW-NE orientation. The northeastern section, near the parking place, has been restored. On many other places, the foundations of towers can still be discerned; they are round, which suggest that they were designed as a battery for the use of catapults.

Gate. Photo Jona Lendering.
Once, the walls were ten meters high, which is unusual for a city in a peaceful territory. (It is hardly plausible that Shapur wanted to defend his city against the Romans, which he had so gloriously defeated.) The walls protected 50,000-80,000 people.

At the northeastern end, the remains of a city gate can still be seen.


History Castle City Palace "Temple" Cave
Relief I Relief II Relief III Relief IV Relief V Relief VI
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 7 Dec. 2009
Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other