Qaleh Dokhtar

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Among similarities of the Sassanian city of Bishapur with many of its contemporary Iranian cities was the construction of a nearby fortress located at highlands overlooking the city. As a matter of fact, remains of the mountainous castle of Qaleh Dokhtar can be seen east of Bishapur.

 Qaleh Dokhtar was built on a flat ground located at a lower height relative to other parts of the mountain. The castle also has a good view of Tang-e Chogan to its north. Construction materials used in the castle are either cobblestones or gypsum mortar. It has visibly been severely damaged with the passage of time so that cobblestones used in its construction are dispersed in a wide area which makes it hard to have a general insight into the building plan. But as evidenced by castle remains it can be assumed that the building consisted of a central nucleus with several perimeter rooms linked by corridors. Additionally, the castle was protected by not only solid tall towers around its nucleus but also by three rows of guard walls extending stepwise from the castle as far as the foot of the mountain and the riverside. Also it was equipped with three stairways and terraces on the two sides overlooking the river and the city. Each terrace was protected by a circular wall leaning on round towers. Walls of the fortress and its triple terraces were built in accordance with the mountain topography. The symmetrical divisions in the rubble stone-built terraces made them increasingly narrower obstructing the way of potential invaders trying to climb up in order to conquer the fortress. Without doubt the castle had only one gate opening toward the city but its central part remains unknown. On the whole, it should have had special living accommodations for the king and his troops. According to the latest researches the royal palace and King Shapur’s quarters were in Qaleh Dokhtar Actually this is the continuum of the tradition of building royal palaces outside the city limits which was debuted by the palace of Ardashir in Firuzabad Plain.