Ahwaz is situated in the central portion of the province and has a warm and humid climate. Ahwaz is the center and largest city of the province and is located 874 km. from Tehran. In ancient times it was called “Hormozd Ardeshir” and then “Soq-ol-Ahwaz”. Later on it was known as “Naseri”. Some historians have mentioned it as “Algeenis”.
There is a strong possibility that the city of Ahwaz is located on the site of the old city of “Taryana”. Ardeshir Sassanid I rebuilt Taryana and named it “Hormozd Ardeshir”. During his reign and that of his successors, the city prospered, and instead of Susa became the capital of “Suziana” (Khuzestan). At the time that the Arabs gained control of Suziana, Hormozd Ardeshir was renamed to Soq-ol-Ahwaz, which means the market of Khuzis or Hoories.
During the period of Omavi and Abbasides Caliphs, Ahwaz city flourished and became the center for the cultivation of sugar-cane. But at the end of the 3rd century A.H. due to upheavals of Saheb-ol-Zanj it witnessed a decline. Later on efforts were put for recapturing its fame, but in the mid-9th century A.H., the destruction of its large dam further more intensified the decline of the city from the former position that it was used to enjoy.
The construction of the Suez Canal, improved trade and shipping on Karoon River, and reformation of Bandar-e-Naseri as a port during the Qajar era, once again caused flourishing of Ahwaz, and its name was changed to Naseriyeh. During Pahlavi period, the city was re-gained its old name, i.e., ‘Ahwaz’. At present it plays an important role regarding the cultural, economic and industrial fields in Iran as well as being one of the highly populated areas of the province.
Choqa Zanbil (Ziggurat), Susa:
Choqazanbil is situated at a distance of 45 km. south east of Shoosh, and is the only remnant of an ancient city, that was constructed approximately in 1300 B.C. This city which was at the vicinity of 2 km. from Dez River was known as “Ontashgal”. The same is a reminder of the new Elamit civilization. It was surrounded by three interconnected sun brick made ramparts with the main entrance situated in the eastern side of the largest rampart.
The palaces and tombs of the Elamit monarchs are situated between the first and second ramparts. Between the second and the third ramparts, the remnants of the water supply and purification system for city is observed. The water purification system of Choqazanbil was to provide drinking water for citizens, and is obviously accounted as one of the most ancient water supply systems. In the center of the third rampart, the main temple (Ziggurat) is placed. This square shaped structure is constructed at the dimensions of 105×105 sq. along four main directions.
Choqamish Hill, Dezful:
Within a distance of 40 km. south east of Dezful a few clay hills have remained which are known as Choqamish. According to various studies and research work, it is believed that Choqamish Hill dates back to pre-invention of calligraphy to about 34 centuries B.C.
The primitive culture of its inhabitants has been verified by means of their special method clay modeling and beautifully designed earthenware. This culture dates back to about 6000 years B.C.
Acropol (Shoosh) Castle, Susa:
The Acropol or Shoosh castle was constructed by a group of French archeologists in the year 1897 A.D. in the highest region of the city. The same is very similar to the Bastille in France. This castle has been constructed by Dezful artists and by means of bricks obtained from Darius Castle and some engraved bricks in the Kufic script from Choqazanbil. This castle was in the hands of the French authorities before the Islamic revolution, after which it was utilized as the archeological center of Shoosh.
Valuable and important relics such as the famous statue of Queen Napirasustoon, Hamurabi Code and famed buff earthenware glass of Shoosh with a wild goat drawing have been discovered from the Acropol Hill. It took a period of 15 years to build this structure which stood as a defense fort against the attack of local clans and tribes. During Iran-Iraq war this castle was under the bombardment of Iraqi troops, and later on came under re-construction and repair.
Shaoor (Ardashir) Palace, Susa:
The remnants of this palace are situated along the western banks of the Shaoor River, opposite the mausoleum of the Prophet Danial (P.B.U.H). This palace has a square shaped hall with lateral installations. The columns or pillars are made of stone, and its walls are of sun baked bricks. This palace was constructed during the reign of Ardeshir II, and was used as his presidential palace as well as a seat of power.
Apadana (Darius) Palace, Susa:
This palace was constructed by the order of Darius the Achaemenian on the top of Elamit hillocks and is known as Darius (Apadana) Palace. The walls of the palace are made of sun baked bricks with a brick worked facade, and the pillars are of stone. Apadana Palace consists of a pavilion, haramsara (a section for court ladies), gateway, entertainment hall and three central courtyards. The internal walls of the palace are adorned with engraved glazed bricks depicting the winged-lion guard soldiers and adorned by lotus flowers, the remnants of which are on display in local museums and those in abroad. A major portion of this palace caught on fire during the reign of Ardeshir I, (461 B.C.), and finally during the conquests of Alexander, the said palace along with other Achaemenian palaces were completely ruined.
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