Anahita palace, bishapour, of Shiraz

Bishapour, also known as Beyshapour (which has been translated from middle Persian to English as the city of Shapour) is an ancient of Sassanid that has been built by Kind Shapour I as he was the 2nd emperor of Sassanid on the way of two different capitals, Ctesiphon & Estakhr. It has been chosen to build across the river that was named later on as Shapour River and has been part of this huge city by having 6 rock-carving on mountain and fort on top of front hill.

 The most important point about this city, is the combination of Persian and Roman art and architecture that hadn’t been seen before Bishapur construction in Iran and this could have been the first time in Iranian history because before Bishapour was built, almost all the main cities in Persia/Iran had a circular shape like the old city in Firuz Abad or Darab but bishapour is a city with vertical and horizontal streets also in the city specially in interior design we can see tile work that’s adapted from Roman Art/

The name Bishapur derives from Bay-Šāpūr, which means Lord Shapur.

memorial pillars of Bishapour of Shiraz
memorial pillars of the city

According to an inscription, the city itself was founded in 266 AD by Shapour I who led the country from 241-272 as the second Sassanian king and inflicted a triple defeat on the Romans, having killed Gordian III, captured Valerian and forced Philip the Arab to surrender.  

At Bishapur the king also inaugurated the Sassanid imagery of the king’s investiture, which would be copied by his successors: the king and the god are face to face, often on horseback, and the god – usually Ahura Mazda – is holding the royal diadem out to the sovereign.

The city, has the remarkable dam bridge in Shapour, built by Roman soldiers who had been captured after Valerian’s defeat in 260. However, it was not a completely new settlement: archaeologists have found remains from the Parthian and Elamite ages.

The city remained important until the Arab conquest of Persia the rise of Islam in the second quarter of the 7th century AD. There were still people living there in the 10th century.

The city has a rectangular plan with a grid pattern of regular intra urban streets, resembling Roman city design. This design was never repeated in the architecture

bishapour ancient city of Persia
Columned Hall


Persian-Roman floor mosaic detail from the palace of Shapour I at Bishapur. Now this tile work is in national museum of Iran. The main part of the excavations took place in the royal sector, in the east of the city. A water temple, interpreted as a Anahita temple, was erected near the palace. In the center there is a cross-shaped space with eight large square exedra decorated with 64 alcoves. The French excavators believed it had been covered with a dome roof, but this reconstruction has been rejected. To the west lies a courtyard decorated with mosaics; to the east, a square iwan used as a reception room. Its walls must have been covered with small stucco ornaments: rows of medallions, bands of foliage, and topped with merlons inherited from Achaemenid architecture.

The floor was paved with black marble slabs, with a mosaic border. Along the walls runs a narrow band featuring a series of heads and masks, in a frontal or profile view, on a white background. At the top of each alcove there was a picture of women naked under their transparent veils: courtesans, musicians, dancers, women twisting garlands, together with a few richly attired noble ladies.

Main palace of Bishapour of Shiraz
Main palace

As travel consultants, we would highly recommend visiting this site in a day trip while you stay in shiraz.