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Firuzabad


The northwestern iwan. Photo Marco Prins.
The northeastern iwan
Firuzabad: Sasanian city in Persis.
  
City Palace Castle Relief 1 Relief 2

The palace of king Ardašir I, the founder of the Sasanian Empire, was built opposite the city he had founded, Ardašir Khureh ("fame of Ardašir"). Although one had to cross a river, it was easy to travel from here to the town or to the nearby castle, which is called Qalah-e Dokhtar.

The palace consisted of several parts. In the northeast was an iwan that opened to a garden with a pool (a doline). This façade may have looked like the Parthian palace at Ctesiphon. Behind the northeastern iwam, you will find two - originally three - large rooms with domes, followed by a large court in the southwest, which was surrounded by many residential rooms. The entire complex was more than hundred meters long (104, to be precise) and fifty-five meters wide. The walls were decorated with stucco, which were inspired by the architecture of Persepolis.
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View from the gallery through the northeastern iwan, to the pool. Photo Jona Lendering.
View from the gallery through the northeastern iwan, to the pool

The supporting walls are sometimes more than four meters wide, which is understandable, because there were corridors and galleries on the first floor, which make it is possible to walk around the domes. These are the oldest examples of this type of architecture in Iran. It is possible - perhaps even likely - that they were inspired by western models, and that would not be without parallel, because the representation of Ahuramazda on the nearby Second Relief is also inspired by western art. 

One of the domes. Photo Marco Prins.
One of the domes

However, unlike most Roman domes of this age, the domes at the Firuzabad palace were not made of concrete but of brick. From the point of view of the history of architecture, they are more advanced than, for example, the Pantheon in Rome.

A satellite photo of the site of the palace is here; compare the map of the area between the city and the castle.

Northwestern façade of the palace. Photo Jona Lendering. The palace, seen from across the river.  Photo Marco Prins. The pool and the northeastern iwan. Photo Marco Prins.
Northwestern façade The palace, seen from the city The pool and the northeastern iwan
Central room, from the first floor. Photo Jona Lendering. Doors between the courtyard and the central room. Photo Jona Lendering. Gallery on the first floor. Photo Jona Lendering.
Central room, from the gallery Doors between the courtyard and the central room Gallery on the first floor
Wall decoration at the courtyard. Photo Jona Lendering. Stucco decoration in the northwestern room. Photo Jona Lendering. Arch in one of the main rooms. Photo Jona Lendering.
Wall decoration at the courtyard Stucco cavetto in the northwestern room, inspired by Persepolis Arch in one of the main rooms
One of the domes, seen from the gallery. Photo Jona Lendering. One of the domes, seen from the gallery. Photo Jona Lendering. One of the domes, seen from the gallery. Photo Jona Lendering.
One of the domes, seen from the gallery One of the domes, seen from the gallery One of the domes, seen from the gallery
Courtyard, seen from the roof. Photo Jona Lendering. View from the coutyard to the domes. Photo Marco Prins. One of the rooms surrounding the courtyard. Photo Marco Prins.
Courtyard, seen from the roof View from the courtyard to the domes One of the rooms surrounding the courtyard

City Palace Castle Relief 1 Relief 2
© Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2005
Revision: 23 April 2011
Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other