Bishapur was one of ancient cities of Sasanied era and the king of Sasanied built this city 266 AD by Shapur King.
When you visit this beautiful site will find out Iranian people had a very good relation with other countries, that’s why you can see the best combination of Persian and Roman art in Bishapur architecture.
Bishapur city was on the ancient road between Persis and Elam. The road linked the Sassanid capitals ,Estakhr which was very close to Persepolis and Ctesiphon. It is located south of modern Faliyan in the Kazerun County of Pars Province, Iran.
Bishapur was built near a river crossing and at the same site there is also a fort with rock-cut reservoirs and a river valley with six Sassanid rock reliefs.
It’s contemporary in age, both very old since they bear marks of Elamite and Parthian occupation. Extending on a plain surrounded by mountains, it ends at the edge of a regional desert crossed by the river Shapour which flows into the Persian Gulf.
Formerly, this ancient city was connected on the one hand to the cities of Firouzabad and Estakhr, two important ancient cities, and on the other hand, to Mesopotamia, Susa and the Sassanid capital, Ctesiphon. This combined with the geographical location of this city, with waterways to the high seas, attracted the attention of Shapour I, Sasanian emperor, who ordered the Roman army prisoner to turn it into a metropolis rivaling Antioch.
The construction of Bishapur was ordered by the Sasanian king Shapur I (r.241-272), but it was built by Roman POWs, captured after the defeat of the Roman emperor Valerian in 260.
Although some of its monuments, like the so-called Temple of Anahita, are distinctly Iranian, many other aspects of Bishapur’s architecture look Roman and do not belong to Iranian building traditions.
An example is what specialists call the “Hippodamian street plan”, which means that the city looks like a gridiron. Another “Roman” aspect is the use of mosaics in the palace. Under the impetus of the Roman craftsmen sent by Philip the Arab as part of the peace treaty signed in 244, the new plan given to this Parthian city turned it into a patchwork of various architectural styles, from Roman to Sassanid, through the Achaemenid Parthian style and Mesopotamian influences.
The plan of this city is not that of the Parthian cities, with the districts circulaturally arranged, but the Hippodamian plan, kind of checker rather primary including a quadrilateral with the three sides protected by cliffs or ditches.
The walls of the city form a rectangular shape with a SW-NE orientation. The northeastern section, near the modern parking place, has been restored. On many other places, the foundations of towers can still be discerned; they are round, which suggests that they were designed as batteries for the use of catapults. At the northeastern end, the remains of a city gate can still be seen.
This Temple is in fact an unidentified structure attributed to the ancient deity Anahita. It may have been built before the other buildings goes back to Parthians. While other buildings are built with monolithic stone, to make the temple they have used carved stone and then metal clamp to bridge the stones.
The temple can only be reached by descending of a long stairway which you’ll find a small square, which maybe have been an undeep pool, surrounded by high walls. On the top of some of these walls we can see a triangle shaped sculpture which maybe supported roof.
As it was pointed Anahita temple is unidentified and one of the greatest archaeological secrets because what archaeologists have found and usually call it religion. But if we accept that the square was a pool then we can attribute it to Iran’s water deity, Anahita. It is actually believed it was a water garden for the deity.
The city had various neighborhoods and the great patrician houses were built inside large parks. His dwellings possessed certain architectural features of which remains today vestiges:
On the left bank of the river, there is the ceremony of the victory of Shapour I on Valérien. On the one hand, the Roman soldiers and captives are represented, on the other hand the Iranian conquerors.
We distinguish Valerian, kneeling before Chapur, holding out a supplicating hand, and two men wearing the high Iranian headgear offering him a crown.
The second series of engravings on the left bank depict the victory ceremony of Bahram the Second, the feather in the hat, the captives bringing him camels and horses. There is also a bas-relief depicting the coronation ceremony of Bahram I (273-277). He takes his crown from the hands of the representative of Ahura Mazda.
The most important point about this city, is the combination of Persian and Roman art and architecture that hadn’t been seen before Bishapur construction.
Before Bishapour was built, almost all the main cities in Persia/Iran had a circular shape like the old city in Firuzabad or Darab. Bishapour is the first city with vertical and horizontal streets also in the city specially in interior design we can see tile work that’s adapted from Roman Art.