Palace of Ardashir
The Palace of Ardashir Pāpakan (in Persian: دژ اردشير پاپکان Dezh-e Ardashir Pāpakān), also known as the Atash-kadeh آتشکده, is a castle located on the slopes of the mountain on which Dezh Dokhtar is situated. Built in AD 224 by King Ardashir I of the Sassanian Empire, it is located two kilometers (1.2 miles) north of the ancient city of Gor, i.e. the old city of Artakhsher Khwarah/Khor Adashir/Gor Adesheer (Glory of [king] Ardasher) in Pars, in ancient Persia (Iran). The city was renamed "Firuzabad" (City of Victory) during the Daylamite/Buyid period, since by that time Gor/Gur had come to mean a tomb in New Persian, and not suitable for a place of the living anymore.
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The structure contains three domes, among other features, making it slightly larger and more magnificent than its predecessor, the nearby castle of Dezh Dokhtar. However, it seems that the compound was designed to display the royalty image of Ardashir I, rather than being a fortified structure for defense purposes. That is why perhaps it would be best to refer to the structure as a "palace" rather than a "castle", even though it has huge walls on the perimeters (twice as thick as Ghal'eh Dokhtar), and is a contained structure. From the architectural design, it seems the palace was more of a place of social gathering where guests would be introduced to the imperial throne.
What is particularly interesting about this palace is that its architectural design does not exactly fall into that of the Parthians or even Sassanian category; the design is a unique design particular to architects of Fars.
The palace was built next to a picturesque pond that was fed by a natural spring, perhaps in connection with the Persian goddess of water and growth, Anahita. The spring is thought to have fed a royal garden, in the same way that Cyrus had his garden (bustan) built at Pasargadae. The pond was tiled on its sides, surrounded by pavement for guests of the royal court to enjoy the evenings by.
The structure is 104 m (340 ft) by 55 m (180 ft). The iwan is 18 m (60 ft) high, although it has partially collapsed. The structure was built of local rocks and mortar with plasterwork on the insides. The style of the interior design is comparable to that of Tachara palace at Persepolis.
In modern times
Robert Byron was there in February 1934, and wrote about his visit in The Road to Oxiana. Byron considered the Palace to include the prototype of the squinch. In his view, buildings such as St. Peter's Basilica and the Taj Mahal would not have existed without the squinch and the pendentive.
Notes and references
- Dieulafoy, Jane (1887). "26". La Perse, la Chaldée et la Susiane.
- Byron, Robert (2007) . The Road to Oxiana. pp. 166–170. ISBN 9780141442099.
- "Firuzabad Ensemble - UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Retrieved 19 July 2012.
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