Bam Citadel, BamBam
Bam Citadel, Bam
To the north east of the Bam city, in the skirts of a gigantic rock was the foundations of a fortified castle, reputedly known as the Bam Citadel. As mentioned before, on December 26, 2003, a devastating earthquake stroke the city of Bam and completely destroyed this ancient heritage of Iran which had long been registered in the UNESCOs List of World Heritage Sites.
This citadel had actually been the old city of Bam. The city comprised of four sections and 38 watch towers. In the southern side of this structure there were four ramparts and to the north-eastern section there was also another colossal rampart. The citadel was constructed of sun baked bricks, argyle and straw, but in some parts stone, brick and the barks of date palms were utilized. The said citadel comprised of the entrance gateway, a public sector, a military base and the central section or seat of power.
The public dwellings were constructed alongside the elevated areas and on the ground level. Regarding the city construction planning it was a complete aggregate. Its distinguished areas were the main passage or bazaar, Hosseiniyeh (or place for public religious rituals and mourning), mosque (fire-temple in the past), gymnasium for traditional sports, public bath, and a religious sector pertaining to the Jews. Most of the common houses were constructed in such a manner that they were connected to each other and usually had interconnections. In some houses, private baths could be seen. A few of these buildings were two storied structures which had most probably been constructed due to the increasing population.
After the gateway entrance there was a main passage which lead to the second gateway. A part of this route was the city bazaar. Remnants of a bakery, an oil extraction area, and the mud made shelves of bazaar reveal the splendor of the city in that time. Running parallel to the main passage there were two other paths leading to the second gateway. The Hosseiniyeh or place for religious mourning comprised of a large area with a two storied symmetrical porch, a few chambers and three pulpits of sun baked bricks. The traditional gymnasium consisted of four porches, a dome, and a low-lying area surrounded by a higher platform.
The Bam Citadel had two mosques, one was the Jame’ Mosque and the other the Hazrat Mohammad Mosque. There was also used to be a public bath in the public section. After the second gateway were the stables, rampart, and the sentry picket. The third gateway led to the garrison, the commanders residence, and a wind mill. In the midst of the citadel, a three-storied edifice remains which was used to be the seat of the ruling power. Alongside this structure was a private bath of the commander, and a drainage conduit. This citadel was constructed by Bahman Esfandiyar, and dates back to the pre-Islamic period. The Bam Citadel underwent several repairs before the earthquake hit.
Soon after the earthquake of December 2003, an ad-hoc committee was established by the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran to renovate and reconstruct the palace of Bam. Although great efforts have been taken by specialists to rebuild this palace in a way that it looks exactly the same as it was before, experts claim that the Bam Citadel will never regain the glory of its past.
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Imamzadeh Shah Mir Ali Hossein, Behbahan, Khuzestan.