Iran Traveling Center

Firouz Abad

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Firouzabad is a city in Iran. It is located in Fars province south of Shiraz. The town is surrounded by a mud wall and ditch. It had an estimated population of 67,909 in 2005.

Alexander of Macedonia destroyed the original city of Gōr. Centuries later, Ardashir I, founder of the Sassanid Dynasty, revived the city before it was ransacked in the Arab invasion of the seventh century.

Firuzabad is situated in a low-lying area of the region, so Alexander was able to drown the city by directing the flow of a river into the city. The lake he created remained until Ardashir I built a tunnel to drain it. He founded his new capital city on this site.

Ardeshir’s new city was known as Khor Ardeshīr, Ardeshīr Khurah and Shāhr-ī Gōr. It had a circular plan so precise in measurement that the Persian historian Ibn Balkhi wrote it to be “devised using a compass”. It was protected by a trench 50 meters in width, and was 2 kilometers in diameter. The city had four gates; to the north was the Hormoz Gate, to the south the Ardeshir Gate, to the east the Mithra Gate and to the west the Bahram Gate. The royal capital’s compounds were constructed at the center of a circle 450m in radius. At the center point of the city was a Zoroastrian fire temple 30m high and spiral in design, which is thought to have been the architectural predecessor of the great Samarra Mosque of Iraq.

The city’s importance was revived again in the reign of Azud al-Dawla of the daylamite dynasty, who used the city as his frequent residence. It is at this time that the old name of the city–Gōr, is abandoned in favor of the new. In New Persian spoken at the time Gōr had come to mean “grave.” King Azud al-Dawla, as the story goes, found it distasteful to reside in a “grave.” Per his instruction, the city’s name was changed to Peroz-abad, “City of Victory.” Since then, the city has been known by variations of that name, to include Firuzabad (Middle Persian Fīrūzābād).

Among the attractions of the city are the Ghal’eh Dokhtar, the Palace of Ardeshir, and the fire temple tower among the remains of Gōr.

The people of modern Firuzabad are mostly descendants of the Qashqai. They used to live along the Amu Darya River before fleeing before Genghiz Khan to Fars.

The 1800-year-old castle has lost some four meters of its original height over the last century and experts warn if urgent measures are not taken to enforce it, the castle may soon collapse.

Castle of Ardeshir e Babakan

Also known as the Atash-kadeh, is a castle located on the slopes of the mountain on which Ghal’eh Dokhtar is situated on. Built in AD 224 by Ardashir I of the Sassanian Empire, it is located two kilometers (1.2 miles) north of the ancient city of Gor, i.e. the old city of Firouzabad in Fars, in ancient Persia (Iran).The structure contains three domes, among other features, making it a bit larger and more magnificent than its predecessor the nearby castle of Ghal’eh Dokhtar. However, it seems that the compound was designed to display the royalty image of Ardashir I, rather than being a fortified structure for defense purposes. That is why perhaps it would be best to refer to the structure as a “palace” rather than a “castle”, even though it has huge walls on the perimeters (twice as thick as Ghal’eh Dokhtar), and is a contained structure. From the architectural design, it seems the palace was more of a place of social gathering where guests would be introduced to the imperial throne. What is particularly interesting about this palace is that its architectural design does not exactly fall into that of the Parthian or even Sassanian category; the design is a unique design particular to architects of Fars. The palace was built next to a picturesque pond that was fed by a natural spring, perhaps in connection with the Persian goddess of water and growth, Anahita. The spring is thought to have fed a royal garden, in the same way that Cyrus had his garden (bustan) built at Pasargadae. The pond was tiled on its sides, surrounded by pavement for guests of the royal court to enjoy the evenings by.

The structure is 104 m (340 ft.) by 55 m (180 ft.). The eivan is 18 m (60 ft.) high, although it has partially collapsed. The structure was built of local rocks and mortar with plasterwork on the insides. The style of the interior design is comparable to that of Tachar palace at Persepolis.

Ghal’eh Dokhtar” or the Maiden’s Castle

It’s a castle made by Ardeshir I, in present day, in 209 AD. It is located on a mountain slope near the Firouzabad-Shiraz road. This structure was built by Ardashir I. The name implies it was dedicated to the Goddess Anahita, to whom the term “Maiden” refers. After capturing Isfahan and Kerman from the Parthians, he (re)built the city of Gurnearby the castle in Firouzabad, making it his capital. After defeating Ardavan V (Artabanus V), the Parthian king, in a great battle in 224 AD, he built the Palace of Ardashir nearby the Ghal’eh Dokhtar structure. Ardashir’s grandfather was a prominent priest of the Goddess Anahita at the nearby temple of Darabgird, “City of Darius.”Built on a high bluff, which overlooks the river and roadway running south from Fars. The entrance to the castle is through a tall gateway in a large, rectangular tower. Inside this a broad stairway leads up to a rectangular hall, with blind niches on either side or two large buttresses at the east end. These supported stairways up to the next level, another large rectangular room, 14 x 23 m, with an arched recess, an iwan, at the east end and arched blind windows on either side. It was presumably roofed by an arched vault. Beyond this there are steps to a third level and a large rectangular room with circle squinches at each corner supporting a domed roof. This was buttressed by very thick walls on all sides, presumably to ensure its stability, and the cupola could be reached by a spiral staircase on the south side.

Despite damages sustained by the castle, its majesty still produces awe in visitors. The fortified palace is splendidly coherent and confident building contains many of the recurring features of Sasanian palace and civic architecture: long halls, arches, domes, recessed windows, and stairways. The construction is uniform of roughly shaped stone and mortar, but the surfaces were obviously all finished with a thick coating of plaster or stucco, giving a smooth and elegant appearance, which could have been decorated with ornamentation or painting.