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Pol-e Dokhtar


The bridge across the Kashkan at Pol-e Dokhtar. Photo Marco Prins.
Pol-e Dokhtar
Pol-e Dokhtar: Sasanian bridge on the river Kashkan, near the place where it empties itself in the Karkheh (ancient Choaspes).

Pol-e Dokhtar means "bridge of the daughter", and is probably named after a daughter of the builder of this bridge, the Sasanian king Shapur I (241-272). However, the word dokhtar also expresses the wish that the construction remains pure and "intact" like a virgin, and is not an uncommon name in Iran (at Bishapur is a "castle of the daughter").

Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine

The bridge across the Kashkan at Pol-e Dokhtar. Photo Marco Prins. The bridge across the Kashkan at Pol-e Dokhtar. Photo Marco Prins.

Pol-e Dokhtar. Photo Jona Lendering.

The bridge's dimensions are truly enormous: it is about 270 meters long and rises about 30 meters above water level.  Eight arches were necessary to span the river Kashkan, the upper course of the Choaspes (modern Karkheh). The Pol-e Dokhtar was part of the Royal road, which connected the Persian capitals Istakhr and Bishapur with towns in central and northern Mesopotamia, like Ctesiphon, Arbela, Hatra, Nisibis, and Edessa.

Although the bridge was repaired on several occasions, today, only one arch survives. It is wide enough to offer room for a modern road.

A satellite photo can be found here.
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2005
Revision: 1 April 2013
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