Firouzabad is located in Fars province south of Shiraz. Where is surrounded by a mud wall and ditch. Alexander of Macedonia destroyed the original city of Gōr. Centuries later, Ardashir I, founder of the Sassanid Dynasty, revived the city before it was ransacked in the Arab invasion of the seventh century. Firouzabad is situated in a low-lying area of the region, so Alexander was able to drown the city by directing the flow of a river into the city. The lake he created remained until Ardashir I built a tunnel to drain it. He founded his new capital city on this site.
Ardeshir’s new city was known as Khor Ardeshir. It had a circular plan so precise in measurement that the Persian historian Ibn Balkhi wrote it to be “devised using a compass”. It was protected by a trench 50 meters in width, and was 2 kilometers in diameter. The city had four gates; to the north was the Hormoz Gate, to the south the Ardeshir Gate, to the east the Mithra Gate and to the west the Bahram Gate. The royal capital’s compounds were constructed at the center of a circle 450m in radius. At the center point of the city was a Zoroastrian fire temple 30m high and spiral in design, which is thought to have been the architectural predecessor of the great Samarra Mosque of Iraq.
Furthermore the people of modern Firouzabad are mostly descendants of the Qashqai. They used to live along the Amu Darya River before fleeing before Genghiz Khan to Fars.
The 1800-year-old castle has lost some four meters of its original height over the last century and experts warn if urgent measures are not taken to enforce it, the castle may soon collapse.
Palace of Ardeshir Babakan:
Also known as the Atash-kadeh, is a castle located on the slopes of the mountain on which Ghal’eh Dokhtar is situated on. Built in AD 224 by Ardashir I of the Sassanian Empire, it is located two kilometers (1.2 miles) north of the ancient city of Gor, i.e. the old city of Firouzabad in Fars, in ancient Persia (Iran).The structure contains three domes, among other features, making it a bit larger and more magnificent than its predecessor the nearby castle of Ghal’eh Dokhtar.
However, it seems that the compound was designed to display the royalty image of Ardashir I, rather than being a fortified structure for defense purposes. That is why perhaps it would be best to refer to the structure as a “palace” rather than a “castle”, even though it has huge walls on the perimeters (twice as thick as Ghal’eh Dokhtar), and is a contained structure. From the architectural design, it seems the palace was more of a place of social gathering where guests would be introduced to the imperial throne.
What is particularly interesting about this palace is that its architectural design does not exactly fall into that of the Parthian or even Sassanian category; the design is a unique design particular to architects of Fars. The palace was built next to a picturesque pond that was fed by a natural spring, perhaps in connection with the Persian goddess of water and growth, Anahita.
The spring is thought to have fed a royal garden, in the same way that Cyrus had his garden (bustan) built at Pasargadae. The pond was tiled on its sides, surrounded by pavement for guests of the royal court to enjoy the evenings by.
Ghal’eh Dokhtar or the Maiden’s Castle:
It’s a castle made by Ardeshir I, in present day, in 209 AD. It is located on a mountain slope near the Firouzabad-Shiraz road. This structure was built by Ardashir I. The name implies it was dedicated to the Goddess Anahita, to whom the term “Maiden” refers. After capturing Isfahan and Kerman from the Parthians, he (re)built the city of Gurnearby the castle in Firouzabad, making it his capital. After defeating Ardavan V (Artabanus V), the Parthian king, in a great battle in 224 AD, he built the Palace of Ardashir nearby the Ghal’eh Dokhtar structure.
Recently inscribed by UNESCO, the Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars Province is now a World Heritage Site. It is located near the river, inside the valley of the Tang-e Ab which embraces the ruins of the city of Gor, Ardashir’s Palace and Qal’e-ye-Dokhtar fortress. They represent the historical, cultural, political and artistic advances of the Sassanid time (224-651).
Qal’e-ye-Dokhtar is a vast barrier fortress with an inner monumental palace of magnificent dimensions, built by Ardashir before his decisive victory against the last Parthian empire. It has a big and great dome which marks the most primitive kind of Iranian dome. The palace is in fact, the inner fortress of Qal’e-ye-Dokhtar, containing the residential part and is separated from the outer fortifications by a system of traverse walls. The architectural decoration of the palace and fortifications is modest and dignified.
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