Sassanid archaeological landscape to become major tourist destination

July 24, 2020 - 20:41

TEHRAN – Parts of the Sassanid archaeological landscape in Kermanshah province are being excavated, restored, and documented to be prepared as a major tourist destination in western Iran.

Series of [archaeological] excavation and restoration projects have been commenced in Sarpol-e Zahab region and its villages, which is home to important Sassanid era architectural remains, CHTN quoted provincial tourism chief Omid Qaderi as saying on Tuesday.

Ruined forts, fortresses and strongholds, bridges, temples, and bas-relief carvings are subjects for the project that aims to prepare them for being a major tourist destination route in western Iran equipped with needed travel infrastructure, the official explained.

The provincial tourism department aims to define a vast route for domestic and foreign sightseers by incorporating new destinations with already-established ones such as Taq-e Bostan, Bisotun, and the Temple of Anahita.

Inscribed into the base of a towering cliff, Taq-e Bostan comprises extraordinary Sassanian bas-reliefs of ancient victorious kings divide opinions. Late afternoon is the best time to visit, as the cliff turns a brilliant orange in the setting sun, which then dies poetically on the far side of the duck pond.

UNESCO-tagged Bisotun is a patchwork of immense yet impressive life-size carvings depicting the king Darius I and several other figures. UNESCO has it that Bisotun bears outstanding testimony to the important interchange of human values on the development of monumental art and writing, reflecting ancient traditions in monumental bas-reliefs.

Temple of Anahita in the city of Kangavar is believed to have been built circa 200 BC. Several column bases and ruins of a wall remain from the magnificent Greek-style temple. The temple was used during the Parthian era (248 BC-224) as well as the Sassanid era (224-651).

In 2018, UNESCO added “Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars Region”, which is an ensemble of Sassanian historical cities in southern Iran, to its World Heritage list. The property comprises eight archaeological sites, including fortified structures, palaces, and city plans in Ctesiphon, Firuzabad, and Sarvestan, all located in modern Fars province.

In many ways, Iran under the Sassanian rule witnessed tremendous achievements of Persian civilization. Experts say that during Sassanid times, the art and architecture of the nation experienced a general renaissance.