|Kavar bridge: Sasanian bridge along the road from Shiraz to Firuzabad, spanning the Qara Aqaj River.
In 224 CE, the Persian ruler Ardašir I defeated his Parthian overlord, king Artabanus IV. This
event marked the beginning of the Sasanian Empire. Ardašir's castle and
his palace near modern Firuzabad now became very important places,
and the road to Istakhr
and beyond had to be improved. The bridge across the Qara Aqaj river is
said to have been built in these years. It is indeed likely that some
kind of bridge existed.
However, the present bridge is built on arches, and the
construction workers used mortar. Both suggest that Roman engineers
were somehow involved. This is possible and even likely, because we
know that many Romans were taken captive during the campaigns ofArdašir's son Shapur I. They certainly built the bridge at Shushtar, and may well have built the one at Kaver too. This would suggest a date after 260.
The fact that the arches were moderately pointed suggests
repairs in the Early Islamic age, when the road from the sea along
Firuzabad to Shiraz became more important. There were certainly repairs
by the Safavid and Qajar kings, but the two central arches
The bridge, which can be seen about one kilometer south of
modern Kavar, was about 125 meters long and had six arches. Made of
natural stone and mortar, it stood about ten meters high and was four
A satellite photo of the remains of the ancient bridge can be seen here.
Thanks...to Stefan Michels.
Jona Lendering for
Revision: 28 June 2011