Istakhr, Ancient Persia

Estakhr, Sassanid Capital Remains
Estakhr, Sassanid Capital Remains

Istakhr, the ancient Sassanid capital, is in the Polvar Valley located between Persepolis and Naghsh-e Rostam, in the Fars Province, Iran. The city was a check-point controlling the route to Persepolis and briefly became the capital of Sassanid (224-651 AD) prior to the capital transfer to Ctesiphon and was sustained until the end Sassanid Empire and known as a religious centre (The Nagh-e Rostam precinct is just 3.5km away from it).

After Islam, the city was a castle and fortified place where treasury was saved there.

Istakhr, Remains of a Pillar
Istakhr, Remains of a Pillar

The ancient trash pit at Istakhr proved to be a very valuable source of finds. The entire site is perforated by a number of refuse, sewage or storage wellholes. The holes are often “locked” by caps of brick or stone, and therefore an approximately contemporaneous mixture of broken and discarded pots, personal ornaments, stone and bronze objects, and a large number of coins was preserved in them.

Recent Excavations Istakhr
Recent Excavations Istakhr

Among the kinds of pottery excavated from the Islamic stratum, molded ware is found very frequently.

Ruins of Istakhr
Ruins of Istakhr

Among other finds were clay figurines of animals. There were also stone and bronze objects, such as lamps, small vessels, and a number of utensils used in daily life. Also found were objects of iridescent glass and personal ornaments ranging from clay to gold.

Excavated Coins, Istakhr
Excavated Coins, Istakhr

The numerous copper, silver, and gold coins found at the site indicate Istakhr’s importance and prosperity as a provincial capital and as a mint town. Of the 1,050 coins excavated from four ten-meter squares in the centre of the mound, 900 were Islamic coins (6-9 centuries AD). The rest were Sassanid coins (3-5 centuries AD).

Excavated Relic, Istakhr
Excavated Relic, Istakhr
Painting from the Sassanid city Ruins Istakhr
Painting from the Sassanid city Ruins Istakhr
Istakhr, Ancient City
Istakhr, Ancient City