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Latest Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


Plan for Strengthening the Sasanian Tower at Gur


05 March 2009



FiruzabadAerialView.jpg (58141 bytes)

The Circular City's aerial view


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The remaining of the tower and its' reconstruction

  (Click to enlarge)


LONDON, (CAIS) -- Firuzabad’ Cultural Heritage (FCH) plans to strengthen the ancient city of Gur’s only surviving Sasanian tower-like terbal, announced Afshin Ebrahimi, the director of FCH and reported by the Persian Service of ISNA on Tuesday.


“This [Iranian] year we have carried out emergency works in [Sasanian palace of] Qal’a-Dokhtar. On the first stage we covered the dome and the central Iwan with a layer of cob.”


 He added “in the Ardeshir’ palace we covered the main dome and the courtyard with a protective layer of cob – we also strengthened dome III, to protect it from complete destruction, since most of the dome has already been lost.”



Gur and its’ Tower

Gur is located about 110 km south of Shiraz. The city which also was known as the Ardashir-Khorrah (the Glory of Ardeshir) was founded by Ardeshir Bābakān, the founder of the fourth Iranian dynasty, the Sasanian (224-651 CE). The city became the capital of Ardeshir's efforts to gain more power when he was a vassal-king to the Parthian dynasty, which was a major violation of Parthian imperial prerogatives.


The plan of the city was a perfect circle of 1,950 m diameter, divided into twenty sectors by a precise geometric system of twenty radial and several concentric streets. It was surrounded by a main wall of stamped clay, a ditch 35 m wide, and a fore-wall. Inside the town an inner wall set off the circular city centre, which was probably the site for official buildings.


The tower-like terbāl stands at the very centre of the city. This terbāl is a pier of rough stone masonry 9m square and more than 30m high. It was the core of a stair-tower; with a 20m width of the destroyed stairs and outer walls. It was thought to have had a winding external stairway and to have been a descendant of the ziggurat.


It might have been part of a palace or government building and probably symbolised the divine and centralist kingship propagated by Ardeshir’s new state ideology - Zoroastrianism. This need not have excluded practical use. The tower provided visual contact with the fortifications above the main access road to the plain in the gorge. Beside this military function, it must have been indispensable for surveying activities when the planning scheme of the town and plain was laid out. This scheme continues the concentric and radiant pattern of the town, at first up to an enclosure wall, forming a twenty-cornered polygon of nearly 8 km in diameter. Beyond this, the radials, consisting of traces of canals, paths, walls, and field borders continue up to 10km distance from the central tower.


The city’s name changed to Fīrūzābād in the 10th century.





Original News bulletin published in Persian by the Persian service of ISNA and translated and modified by CAIS. [*]




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