Pol-e Dokhtar


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

The bridge from the SW
The bridge from the SW

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 (r. 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 (in both Bishapur and Firuzabad is a "castle of the daughter").

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 Sasanian 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.

This page was created in 2005; last modified on 9 September 2020.