Volume. 12234

Italian experts prepare topographic map of Sassanid city
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Part of the Sassanid city of Bishapur, Fars Province (Photo by Rob & Ale)
Part of the Sassanid city of Bishapur, Fars Province (Photo by Rob & Ale)
A team of Italian experts has prepared a topographic map of Bishapur, the ruins of a Sassanid city located near the town of Kazerun in Fars Province.
The map was prepared by UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator projection), Kazerun Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Office Director Mohammadreza Moini told the Persian service of IRNA on Thursday.
This study is a useful preliminary to the large research projects that will jointly be carried out by Iranian experts and the Italian team over the next five years, he said.
Nothing was mentioned about the identities of the members of the Italian team.
Little remains of the original buildings of Bishapur. It is composed of a royal section and a general area, which includes residences of ordinary people, a bazaar, a caravansary and a public bathhouse.
However, the city is important since it was one of the main administrative centers during the Sassanid era. Several unique mosaics have been discovered during the various archaeological excavations in the city. 
In addition, six bas-reliefs, each of which gives much useful information about the Sassanid dynasty, are located at the ruins of Bishapur.
One of the bas-reliefs depicts Sassanid king Shapur I, who ordered the construction of the city in 266. He consolidated and expanded the Sassanid Empire founded by his father, Ardashir I.
It shows him seated on a throne, witnessing a triumph of his army. In the top row, he is flanked by nobles of the court and the lower row contains soldiers who present captives and trophies of victory.
Another bas-relief portrays Bahram, a son of Shapur I. During his father’s reign, he governed the province of Atropatene. There is an inscription beside the bas-relief, which originally bore the name of Bahram, although his name was later erased by the Sassanid king Narses.
There is a suggestion that Roman prisoners, captured in the battle between Shapur and Valerian in 260, took part in building the city but only one of buildings shows a Western influence.
The city maintained its importance until the Arabian invasions and the rise of Islam in the second quarter of the seventh century. According to some archaeological excavations, Bishapur became a center of Islamic learning. People continued living in the city until the tenth century, but by then, the decline of the city had already begun.
Iran has applied for registration of the ruins of the Sassanid city of Bishapur on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

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