archaeologists are seeking for public funding to explore the
ruins of a vast urban citadel, left from the Parthian dynasty
(247 B.C.-226 A.D.), in Khorasan Province, east of Iran.
“The Nahbandan citadel, like that of Bam, is made of
mud-brick, thus vulnerable to natural elements such as rain and
gusts. Some parts of the fort have already been ruined, making
the buttressing of it more urgent,” said Majid Karimzadeh,
head of the Cultural Heritage Organization in Birjand, in the
Archaeologists have so far managed to buttress half of the
citadel, but they need 30,000 euros to go ahead with the
project. They also hope to unearth more artifacts in this
ancient city of 17 thousands square meters.
Experts believe they fort used to have several gates, but now
just its eastern one has survived. It was built during the
Parthian empire and was inhabited until the Safavid era
The Parthian Empire is a fascinating period of Iranian history.
The Parthians defeated Alexander's successors, the Seleucids,
liberated most of the Iranian world, and regain the control over
the Silk Road and built Parthia into a world superpower. The
Iranian under the Parthian dynasty revived the greatness of the
Achaemenid Empire and counterbalanced Rome's hegemony in the
West. Parthia at one time occupied areas now in Iran, Iraq,
Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan,
Tajikistan, Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Israel
and Southern Persian Gulf region.
Parthian architecture was characterized by the use of sun-dried
or kiln-baked bricks, with vaults to roof the buildings. The
Parthians developed the iwan, an open-fronted vaulted hall. They
are often covered with carved stucco reliefs, some of the finest
examples of which are found at Uruk and Ashur. The palace at
Ashur has the earliest example of four iwans opening onto a
central square. This form of architecture supplanted Hellenistic
styles in Iraq and Iran, and was adopted by the Sasanids and
continued to set the model for architecture in the early Islamic
An architectural form known as Ogee to Europeans and zigzag
molding to Iranian architects is of Parthian origin. Parthian
architects constructed palace walls with cut stones. They also
used stucco to render the walls. The themes of their stuccos
were geometrical lines and floral designs. In stone carving, a
popular theme was equestrian statues in relief.