The City of Bishapur and its Setting

 The city of Bishapur was founded by the Second Sasanian King, Shapur I (240 -272), in the east of Bishapur Plain, some 100 km west of Shiraz and 18 km north-west of the city of Kazerun. In the eastern outskirts of Bishapur, a high mountain range called Dowan is seen. Shapur River originating from eastern parts of the central north Fars cuts through the mountain range via the narrow valley of Tang-e Chogan and enters Bishapur Plain flowing southwest. The city of Bishapur is located on the southern riverside near its point of entrance to the plain through Tang-e Chogan.There exist major remains of several different types of monuments, sites and rock reliefs in Bishapur proper, in the valley of Tang-e Chogan and on the nearby mountains of the city.

 In the Sassanian period, Bishapur was considered as one of the five administrative centers of Fars Province. Apart from its natural beauty and rich environment, other factors were also taken into consideration in choosing the location of the city. The city was situated at the intersection of two important traffic routes. First, a route toward south leading to the Persian Gulf seashore, and the second, a route stretching from Fars to Khuzestan that continued as far as Mesopotamia. Also there was a route running from Bishapur, to the south east, leading to Ardashir-Khurreh

Bishapur; General Description of Bishapur City

From a topographical point of view, natural features were used in Bishapur to mark northern and eastern limits of the city. The city is confined by Shapur River, which enters the plain from its east side and moving to the west, shapes the northern limit of the city. Other sides of the city were bordered by a rampart and a ditch.The average width of the ditch is about 34 m with the length of its western and southern sides being approximately 950 and 1466 m respectively. Total area of Bishapur measures 155 Ha. The overall layout of the city was rectangular with orthogonal streets and four gates placed along its four sides. Two main streets connected each of the two opposite gates and intersected at a point in the middle of the city which was perhaps a square.As evidenced by studies, Bishapur had two main walls, the first one encircled the Royal Quarter on the eastern side of the city and the second wall which was the thickest and tallest wall of Bishapur, enclosed the entire city including all of its neighborhoods. The height of the main wall was about 7 m. A large part of potential architectural lines of the Sassanian era is buried beneath layers dating from the Islamic era with only a small fraction being unearthed during archaeological excavations. The most important Sassanian monuments including a number of public, royal and religious buildings stood on the eastern front of the city and under the Sassanian rule were encircled by an exclusive wall.