Describing the Spatial Organization of Bishapur City based on Archeological Findings



The ancient city of Bishapour was one of the first cities that were built by Shapour after Darabgard and Ardeshirkhoreh (Gour or Firouzabad).  It is among the few cities from ancient Persia that have partly remained and can therefore be used to introduce the common Persian urban structures of its own time.  There have been few studies over ancient urban structures in Iran which could be used to identify their functions and the way the cities were built and developed. The scarcity of studies on this issue has been despite the fact that there has been considerable academic attention on ancient Persia.  A few studies that architects and scholars of urban development have carried out over the spatial organization of Iran’s ancient cities were mostly based on unreliable documents and were not supported by archeological findings.  The purpose of the present article is to introduce and analyze the process of urban development of the Sassanid city of Bishapour based on available documents as well as the archeological findings obtained from 1958 to 1978.  In order to arrive at a better analysis, the Theory of Urban Spatial Organization was exploited.  The Theory introduces the city as a purposeful entirety with four main elements such as the domain, the structure, the small entireties and the center. Accordingly, after analyzing the above elements in Bishapour, the spatial organization of the city is analyzed by considering the social-cultural conditions in the Sassanid era and a brief comparison is made with the general conditions of the spatial organization of an Iranian-Islamic city.