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Locals the Only Guardians of the Parthian Fortress of Shovaz in Yazd


15 September 2006




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LONDON, (CAIS) -- The stone built fortress of Shovaz (Šovāz) in the Yazd Province is one of the few remaining Parthian monuments in Iran proper, that has received no attention whatsoever from the cultural authorities, reported the Iranology Section of the Persian Service of ISNA on Wednesday.


“This stone built fortress belonging to the Arsacid Dynasty (248 BCE – 224 CE) is located at the summit of a mountain, one hundred meters high above ground level. This fortress constructed with sedimentary stones [possibly sandstone]. The way that the fortress was designed and constructed, created artificial precipices with dangerous escarpments all around for defensive purposes”, said Kazem Dehghanian, writer and researcher.


He added: “the façade and the exterior of the fort is of stone, while the interior buildings including their ceilings were constructed out of mud-bricks (Xešt).


Dehghanian described the Shovaz fortress: “the fort is 50 x 100 meters in diameter, with a main entrance, 1.7 meters in height and 1 meter wide carved out from a stone-block. The two circular pivot-hinges are also carved out of the sill and lintel - Inside the forts there are number of stores, which were carved out of living rocks, and that demonstrates how ancient the monument is.”


There is also a well, which indicates the continuous settlement during the ancient times, or at least neighbouring villages occupied it during the war.


“The fortress was constructed in three levels, the lower one for keeping the livestock, the second floor served as the living quarters, and the third floor for storing food supplies and valuable possessions”, said Dehghanian.


“Parts of the fortress through the ages have been destroyed, and although the locals are doing their bests to protect the monument, it requires expert help for restoration and future protection”, emphasised Dehghanian.


Shovaz fortress is located in a village under the same name in the rural District of Nasr-Abad, sixty kilometres west of Yazd.


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