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Sarvestan


Sarvestan palace from the southeast. Photo Jona Lendering.
Sarvestan palace from the southeast
Sarvestan: town in eastern Fars, site of a small Sasanian palace.

The Sarvestan Palace was built by the Sasanian king Bahram V (r.420-438), and dominates an immense, empty plain. The name "palace" is a bit misleading, because the monument's function is not really understood. It may in fact have been a hunting lodge or even a sanctuary. The problem is complicated by the fact that there appears to have been a small building, just north of the palace; its function is unknown. 

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Palace court. Photo Jona Lendering.
Palace court

A visitor who would have arrived from the south, would have seen three iwans. After entering the central one, he would have reached a large square hall under a large dome, made of baked brick. After this, a visitor would have found himself on a rectangular courtyard, surrounded by the residential quarters. The building reminds one of the  the Qalah-e Dokhtar and the palace of Ardašir, both near Firuzabad; the difference is that the Sarvestan palace is open to all sides. The building, made of stone and mortar, must have had fine decorations, which partly survive.

Sarvestan palace from the south. Photo Jona Lendering. Sarvestan palace from the east. Photo Jona Lendering. Sarvestan palace from the north. Photo Jona Lendering. Sarvestan palace from the west. Photo Jona Lendering.
Sarvestan palace from the south Sarvestan palace from the east Sarvestan palace from the north Sarvestan palace from the west
The great dome of Sarvestan palace. Photo Jona Lendering. The great dome of Sarvestan palace. Photo Jona Lendering. The small dome of Sarvestan palace. Photo Jona Lendering. The small dome of Sarvestan palace. Photo Jona Lendering.
The great dome The great dome The small dome The small dome
The small dome of Sarvestan palace. Photo Jona Lendering. A small palace on a large plain. Photo Jona Lendering. Sarvestan palace, decoration. Photo Jona Lendering. The ruin hill north of Sarvestan palace. Photo Jona Lendering.
The small dome A small palace in a large plain A decorated apse The ruin hill north of Sarvestan palace
Reconstruction of Sarvestan.
Reconstruction

Getting there

Sarvestan town is about eighty kilometers east of Shiraz; the palace itself lies another ten kilometer beyond the town. A taxi will bring you there; it will take about an hour and a half.

A satellite photo can be found here.
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2010
Revision: 3 April 2011
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