Arge Bam in Kerman - Beautiful IRAN
1387,09,18 Time 05:43 ب.ظ

about Arg-e Bam in Kerman province

(in IRAN)

 Once a famous citadel and strategic stronghold, this fort has been built on a huge rock and covers an area of six square kilometers in all. It is 300 meters long and 200 meters wide and consists of two parts.
The fort is a five-story structure of unbaked brick and must have been constructed before the fifth and sixth centuries A.H. (11th and 12th centuries A.D.).
The place has undergone frequent repairs and comprises a rampart, an ancient entrance, adequate fortifications, some Safavid structures, a mosque, and a building known as (Char-Fasl) or (Palace of four seasons). There are two inscriptions in this vast and magnificent construction, which are indicative of recent reparations. Both tablets bear the date 20th Azar 1337 S.H. year (1958 A.D.); one of these has been installed by the society for the Preservation of National Monuments and the other, by the Department of Archaeology.
The next of the latter is as follows: (The Citadel of Bam, which was habitable and in a fairly good condition until a hundred and fifty years ago, has, according to (Hundud al-Alam) and other reliable sources that have come down to us from 4th century A.H. (10th century A.D.), been founded some 2000 years back, and has been repeatedly repaired thereafter. This commemorative tablet relates to the completion of the repairs of the watchtower and a part of the Governor`s residence. Azar 1337. Department of Archaeology.
(Kerman is the heart of the world ...) so says Shah Nemat-ol-lah-e-vali, the well known sufi-poet of the 8th century A.H. (Heart of the world) is as old as the history itself. R. Frye in the Heritage of Persia ( London,1962) brings up the possibility that the Kermani or Germani tribe has given its name to the area of its residence. Berossus, the Chaldean historian ( 3rd cent. BC ) in his account of the fall of Babylon to Cyrus the Great says that the Persian

Shahanshah sent Nabonidus, the fallen Babylonian king, to exile in Kerman, where he resided till his death (Pirmia -Moshir- ol- Dowleh- Hassan. Iram-e-Bastan, Tehran, 1362). This, regardless of its historical accuracy, establishes Kerman as one of the major province of Iran, housing a population of 1,850,000.
190 Km to the south east of the city of Kerman, in the midst of the vast, endless, gray deserts, lies the ever-green city of Bam, the (Emerald of the Desert). This city with its extensive palm groves and citrus gardens is essentially an agricultural city, benefiting from very rich sub-terranean water reserves, surfacing through a great number of miles long (qanats), or sub-terranean aqueducts and water canals, in an area noted for the scarcity of water in it.
The citrus fruits of Bam, its oranges, tangerines, its sweet lemons, are well known, and its dates, especially the (Mozafati) brand, a unique well known for its delicacy are of universal fame. Lately, while the opening of new international markets have revitalized the agricultural activities in the area, pumping new blood in its old veins, some industrial projects are to change the whole economic, and, therefore, social texture of the city, bringing it to the competitive world of the industrial age, with all its hassles turmoil,... and confusions, the new car manufacturing project of the (Kerman Automotive Industries Co.), being the most notable of all these projects.
But Bam is known all through the world for a different aspect of it: Arg-e-Bam or the ancient citadel and the ruins of the ancient town surrounding it. This is one of the most splendid historical sites in the whole world: while most of the best known historical sites in the world, like Fars (Persepolis, Athen`s Acropolis, Rome`s forum and Coliseum, Paris` Versailles,... signify a limited period in history, Arg-e-Bam displays the imprints of 2000 continuous years of a dramatic, eventful history from its foundation, presumably during the Parathion period (250 BC - 224 AC), up until about 150 years ago when in the reign of Nasser-a-Din Shah Qajar (1831-1896, king 1548-1896) the ancient town was gradually deserted. This peculiarity has made estimation of the precise age of most parts of this historical complex rather difficult, sometimes even impossible.
The legends have it that the city was founded by Bahman, the son of Esfandiar, one of the legendary kings in the Esfahnameh, corresponded to Ardashir the Long Armed (Artaxerexes Longimanus, 429 BC, king 464-424) son of Xerexes I, the Achamenide King-of-Kings. However, most of the historians refer to the story of (Haftvad) in the Shahnameh, or (Haptanbad) in the Karnamak-e-Ardashir-e-Papkan, a historically true story, as the story, and the date, of the foundation of Bam. If so, this date goes back to the late, or mid, Parathion period although a thorough scientific and archeological inspection of the site is still needed. There are some signs and indications like some Parathion coins found here - which make it a safe guess to assume that the nucleus part of the town and the citadel belonged to the Parthian period in its original form.
Judging from the story of Haftvad` and also by comparing the ruins of Ghal-e-Do (the Maiden Fortress) to the north of Arg, and the original structure of the citadel, with the Parthian town model (like the ruins of Parthaunisa in Turkmenistan), it is obvious that originally the town and the residential quarters for the common people were located couple of miles to the west of the Arg, in the place of today`s Koozeran-corresponding the Kojaran of the Shahnameh and the adjacent Dehshotor quarters, while the residence of the governing prince was in the Ghal-e-Dokhtar, where, according to the Parthian- and maybe Achamenide-model, it was also the temple for the official court religion. There is an ornamental figure carved on the wall of an altar on the eastern side of Ghal-e-Dokhtarl which resembles very much to a similar figure on the altar of another very important, hut, alas, a very little known site about 2 Km to the east of the Arg, known as (Char Taghi`. As the story goes, after Haftvad rebelled against the governing prince and killed him, he made a citadel and a fortress on a rock-hill to the west of the town, corresponding to the present site of the Arg. After Haftvad was defeated and killed by Ardashir, the victorious king destroyed the main citadel in the fortress and built a fire-temple in it instead, which, it is believed, was turned into the existing main observation tower and the Char-Fasl building in the Islamic period. In any event, 2000 years of history, with all its ups and downs, with all its wars, internal strives, periods of peace, of calm, of blooming, of blood, of destructions, of developments, of massacres,.., have left their imprints on this site of history which cries out the transient nature of (being) and the external essence of the universe. Walking through the ruins of the Arg, one feels as if every broken wall, every pass-way where people of centuries have walked through, where horses of history have run through, every little stone, every molecule of earth, recites along with Khayyam:
Think, in this battered Carvanserai Whose Doorways are alternate Night and Day How Sultan after Sultan with his romp Abode his Hour or two, and went his way
The ruins of the Arg as a whole are so interesting, remarkable and mind arousing that it takes more than one visit to absorb and to appreciate the historical significance of the details. An attempt to introduce different parts of the Arg would require a huge volume. However, as Mulffna says, (if the whole sea can`t be taken in, one may drink as much as his thirst would allow.`; so, here`s some very brief descriptions of` some of the more interesting parts:
1- The main (southern) gate:
This is the only remaining gate of at least four gates.
2- The Bazaar or the main market place:
Right after passing through the gate you enter a pass-way about 60 meters long which used to be the main bazaar of the town. Presumably built in the Safavid period, it had been a roofed bazaar, built, as it was the usual practice in the Safavid period, on a predrawn plan provided by the government. This bazaar, which apparently was active up until early 14th cent. A.H. (early 20Lh cent. A.D.), had replaced some other ancient bazaars of the town, like the (Pol-e-Gargan), which Moghadassi (late 4th cent. AH, 10th cent. AD) has mentioned in Ahsan-al-Taghasim, but its whereabouts are obscure now. It is noteworthy that Bam was a male commercial and trading town on the famous (Spice Road), a major tributary of the (Silk Road), connecting India, the Indian Ocean, the Omman - or the Arabian-sea, and the Persian Gulf to that main road of wealth of wealth and trade in the middle Ages. Bam was also a major center of textile industry in those days, known for its differnt fine fabrics all through the Islamic world.
3- The Grand Mosque, which was originally built in the Saffari period, 3rd. cent. AH (9th cent. AD), according to Prof. Pope, has gone through major changes in different periods.
4- The Stables and the Garrison or the Armory, both presumably built in the Saljouq or the Timurid period (6th or 8th cent. AH, 13th or 15th cent. AD).
5- The governor`s quarters and the Chahar-Fasl (Four Seasons) Building, and also the main observation tower, presumably belonging to the Safavid period (early 10th cent, mid 12th cent. AH, early 16th cent., mid 18th cent. AD) in their present forms. It is thought that the Chahar-Fasl and the main observation tower were originally a fire-temple of the pre-Islamic period.
These were some very fragmentary notes on just some of the more important parts of the Arg; as I said a rightful introduction of different parts of the Arg, even a thorough introduction of only the parts mentioned, would require a huge volume, as huge as the history itself, for this, the Arg, is the history itself. Let us just watch, and pass very gently by these ruins, because every spot that you put your foot on, there may lie a king, a swordsman, an old sage, a lover, a mother... Be careful, beware

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