Bishapur - Iran Tourist Attractions


Bishapur, also known as Shapur, was the Sassanian capital situated north of the road from Shiraz to Boushehr, near Kazerun. The ruins of Bishapur are located near a gorge, where four of Shapur’s six Sassanian art masterpieces are carved into a cliff face. These carvings require a considerable effort to view due to their high placement above a water channel.

The first carving depicts a triumph over the Romans, with numerous figures on a concave wall, including a large depiction of Shapur on horseback dominating two Romans. The second relief shows Bahram II receiving submission from an Arab tribe, but it’s partially damaged by an old water channel. It’s speculated that Narseh, Bahram’s successor, may have deliberately defaced it.

The third scene represents the inauguration of Bahram I, with a variety of reliefs and more realistic figure portrayals. Despite the inscription naming Narseh, Herzfeld proved this to be false, with Narseh having overwritten Bahram’s name.

The fourth relief, in a less refined style, features Shapur II with courtiers, soldiers, and prisoners, including a unique depiction of a boy on an elephant.

On the opposite side of the valley, two more accessible carvings exist. The first shows Shapur I being invested by Ahura Mazda and simultaneously receiving a Roman Emperor’s submission. The second carving illustrates Shapur receiving Valerian’s submission, though the composition is considered stiff.

Further up the valley, a giant statue of Shapur I carved from a stalactite in a cave, can be found. This statue, originally intended for reliefs that were never completed, adds to the historical and artistic significance of Bishapur.

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