recent archeological excavations in the historical site of
Oltan Qalasi (Oltan Fort), resulted in the discovery of a
large city dates back to the Sassanid dynastic era. The
wall and one of the gates of the fort Citadel were
discovered during the excavations, while prior to this
archeologists were expecting to find a city fortress on
There is a historical fortress in the city historical
site, located in the southern shore of Aras river which
contains of some valuable architectural evidence such as a
tower and earthen shell keeps. The fortress was completely
unearthed during two seasons of excavations.
"The new archaeological studies indicate that Oltan
Qalasi should have been a very big city at the end of the
Sassanid dynasty and the beginning of Islamic period. This
city consists of two parts: citadel and rabat or
residential area. The citadel is a 400 x 800 meter
rectangle. Archaeologists believe that it must have been
the Sassanid Orsân city," said Karim Alizadeh, head
of excavation team of Oltan Qalasi.
A trench with a variable width up to 10 meters was found
surrounding the citadel. All of these characteristics
prove the existence of a large city on the plain, which,
including its surroundings, is estimated to have covered a
70 hectare area.
"The aerial and satellite photographs indicate that
the city is much bigger than previously thought. Its
scatterdness is a proof to this claim as well. The
satellite photographs show that the citadel was situated
in the center of the city and two irrigation channels were
connected to the citadel from two sides," added
Based on archaeological studies conducted in the site, the
city was constructed according to the models of Iranian
city planning before and during the Islamic period. During
the ancient times, citadel was always considered as the
residential place of the governing body of the city and
rabat was the residential area of the ordinary people.
Prior to this, the archaeologists believed that they will
face a city fortress which is consisted of a citadel with
a trench around it.
"Historical and geographical studies indicate the
existence of another city in Dasht-e Moghan (Moghan
Plain). According to the studies, the characteristics are
similar to those of Orsan city belonging to the Sassanid
dynastic era. However, we can not say for sure that it is
the same city. Based on the historical evidence, Orsan
city was located 12 kilometers south of Arash River, while
the excavations have been carried out very close to the
Aras River," explained Alizadeh.
It is likely that Aras River originally had a 12 kilometer
distance from this city and the basin of this river has
changed in the past 2000 years. Aras river historically
has been a dividing line between two Iranian provinces of
Atropâtekân (Azerbaijan) and Arrân
(nowa days known as the republic of Azerbaijan).
"More studies are needed to find out where the basin
of Aras River was at the end of Sassanid dynasty. Then we
can determine the history of the city for sure,"
Archaeological excavations led to the discovery of one of
citadel's gates with 4 meters in width. The gate was
restored and reconstructed later, especially during the
post-Sasanid era. No post-Sasanid architectural remains
have been found in the area so far. However, the
discovered relics, most of which are clays, and post-Sasanid
coins found during the previous excavations indicate that
the city should have been active during the Islamic
Oltan Qalasi historical city dates back to the Sassanid
dynastic era. It is situated in a large village, 15
kilometer from the southeast of Pârsâbâd and in Dasht-e
Moghan area. Oltan Citadel is located at a distance of 500
meters from the village and very close to the Aras River.