Bishapur (literally, 'Shapur’s City') was the grand capital of the Sassannian king, Shapur I. Shapur and his armies defeated the Romans three times, and much of Bishapur was built by Romans taken captive after their Emperor Valerian was defeated in AD 260; Shapur himself died a prisoner at Bishapur. The site has been partly excavated, revealing the Palace of Shapur and the nearby Anahita’s Temple, where a stairway leads underground to a pool around which the faithful once walked and prayed.

There are some fine Irano-Roman mosaics associated with this site but the best are now in the Louvre. A small on-site museum (close to the entrance) displays a few artefacts, but the highlights of the complex are the two monumental columns, 800m from the entry. Surrounded by yet-to-be excavated dwellings in the heart of the civic centre, they give a sense of the sophistication of the ancients and a promise of wonders still to be unearthed.

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Nearby Iran attractions

1. Chogan Gorge

0.48 MILES

The city was originally approached along the Shapur River in the steep-sided Chogan Gorge. A short walk from Bishapur, the rocky walls here are home to…

2. Statue of Shapur I

2.91 MILES

High above the gorge, around 6km from Bishapur, a series of natural caves riddles the upper strata of the surrounding cliffs. In one of these caves lies…