The Great Wall of Gorgan has enormous potential for tourism

November 9, 2022 - 22:54

TEHRAN–The Great Wall of Gorgan, which is one of the longest brick barriers of the ancient world situated in northern Iran, has enormous tourism potential, Golestan province’s tourism chief has said.

“Unfortunately, the defensive wall of Gorgan, with a history of 1,600 years, has been neglected until now, and I hope that this historical work will be removed from abandonment,” Mohammad-Javad Saravi said on Tuesday.

The Great Wall of Gorgan can rival Persepolis of Shiraz when it comes to tourism, but it has remained neglected until now, the official said.

“Tourists from 73 countries have stayed at the closest point to the wall, and we hope to effectively introduce this amazing cultural heritage to the world with the help of the government.”

Also known as Red Wall, which in some ancient texts is referred to as the Red Snake, this wall is the longest brick ancient barrier between Central Europe and China, longer than Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall put together and the third-largest wall in the world after the walls of China and Germany.

Most parts of the gigantic monument are still hidden underneath the surface through some segments that have so far been unearthed and even restored to their former glory. Archaeological excavations have so far identified ditches, brick kilns, earthen dams, water canals, 38 forts, and watchtowers attached to the wall, and more than 25 castles in the southern margin of the wall as well as several ancient sites from prehistoric, historic, and Islamic eras.

The gigantic barrier is also more than three times the length of the longest late Roman defensive wall built from scratch, the Anastasian Wall west of Constantinople. The combined area of the forts on the Gorgan Wall exceeds that of those on Hadrian’s Wall, about threefold.

According to UNESCO, the Gorgan Wall is remarkable not only in terms of its physical scale but even more so in terms of its technical sophistication. To enable construction works, canals had to be dug along the course of the defensive barrier to provide the water needed for brick production. These canals received their water from supplier canals, which bridged the Gorgan River via qanats. One of these, the Sadd-e Garkaz, survives to 700 m in length and 20 m in height but was originally almost one kilometer long.

The Gorgan Wall and its associated ancient military monuments provide a unique testimony to the engineering skills and military organization of the Sassanian Empire. They help to explain its geographic extent, from Mesopotamia to the west of the Indian Subcontinent, and how effective border defense contributed to the Empire’s prosperity in the interior and its longevity. These monuments are, in terms of their scale, historical importance, and sophistication, of global significance.

Golestan is reportedly embracing some 2,500 historical and natural sites, with UNESCO-registered Gonbad-e Qabus –a one-millennium-old brick tower– amongst its most famous.


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