(Persia Digest) – The historic dam structure in Shushtar is a network of bridges, dams, mills, waterfalls, canals, and large tunnels of water which is Iran’s 10th registered site at Unesco.
The Shushtar Dam is a gorgeous historic site dating back to 4000 years ago. This was used as a means of running industrial water mills in Sassanid times, conducting water from Karoun River to this nearby city, and even cities further afield.
In the south of the waterfalls, a flight of stairs made of stone has over 200 steps, connecting the waterfalls enclosure to the residential area overlooking the complex. Herodotus (484-425 BCE) said 2500 years ago that the steps were one millennia old. Inscriptions seen here are witness to its age. Alongside the steps, rooms have been built for the guardians of the dam structure which are also estimated to be 4000 years old. Their style of architecture and low ceilings confirm that these were built for the guards here.
One more important feature of these small rooms are their windows facing the mouth of the waterfalls, as if they were built here simply to guard the falls 24 hours a day.
Parallel to the accelerator ducts directing water to the mills, small rooms have been carved in the cliffs called “Shovadun” in the old language or modern-day “Shabestan” serving as resting places for the guards in the hot summer days of Shushtar. Apart from their small windows, skylights can also be seen here, allowing the guard to watch the ducts and speed of water apart from guarding the large grinding stone, and also supervise the “wheat bearers”, “flour bearers”, and “fiber collectors”.
The Shushtar dam is privately owned under the supervision of the Cultural Heritage Organization of Shushtar.
On 26 June 2009, this complex became a Unesco registered site at its conference in Seville, Spain, under no 1315.
Shushtar is a city in Khuzestan Province in southwestern Iran. It is situated in the foothills of Zagross mountains. As of 2011, it had 201 thousand inhabitants in the local census. It is at a distance of 85 kilometers from the Province capital of Ahvaz and 831 kilometers from Tehran.
Photos: Mohammad-Reza Khabazan/IRNA New Agency