Sarvestan Palace

This 25-hectare archeological complex and the central palace is 96 kilometers from southeast of Shiraz City, Iran's capital of love, and around 10 kilometers southwest of Sarvestan Town. Archeologists believe that Sarvestan Palace dates back to the 5th century AD and it is architecturally very important due to its dome which is the oldest brick dome in Iran.


History


There are different opinions about the construction date, although many experts believe Bahram Gur, Bahram the Fifth, built the palace. Bahram was the 14th Sassanid king reigning from 420 AD to 438 AD. There are numerous stories and legends in Persian literature relating his valor and also his victories over other territories in his time. The Sassanid Empire (also known as  Neo-Persian Empire), was the last imperial dynasty in ancient Iran (Persia), two centuries before Islam ,(224 to 651 AD) and it is recognized as one of the leading world powers for more than 4 centuries.


Architecture


This magnificent palace has more advanced and complex architecture compared to other palaces of its era. The building is made of stone and mortar and flat baked bricks with dimension of 43 by 37 meters (130 by 143 ft) enjoying facades, domes, iwans and halls. An iwan is a rectangular hall or space, usually walled on three sides, with one end entirely open. 
There is a façade at the southwest of the palace containing three iwans opening to the external areas. These three iwans lead to a large square reception hall as a central circulation core under a large brick dome and then a residential courtyard on the east side, another iwan (yet narrower and deeper) and a long hall with high ceiling on the north and south respectively. There were also inner decorations including stucco ornaments and painting not remained today.


Glory of Persia


This three-iwan façade became popular not only all over Persia but also outside the country and became known as one of the origins of Gothic architecture in Europe. Sarvestan Palace is also considered as a starting point for Persian-Islamic architecture because of new techniques of constructing domes and arches.


Mysterious function of the building!


We cannot call this monument a palace for sure! Archeologists have not understood the function of this complex yet. This uncertainty is on account of the presence of a small building with unknown function at the north of the palace and numerous doors and iwans opening to the external areas. A palace, a summer hunting mansion for Sassanid kings, a sanctuary or even a Zoroastrian fire temple are all possible functions due to some evidences and theories.
 


Similar monuments


If you are a history buff and interested in these kinds of buildings, you may read about Ardeshir Palace and Qale Dokhtar both near Firuzabad and visit all three monument in one-day tour from the historical city of Shiraz.

 

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