Pol-e Shadorvan

February 22, 2019

Said to be the oldest bridge in the world, over 1600 years of age, Pol-e Shadorvan dating from Sassanid era, holds 44 spans. Most probably built by roman prisoners, it was constructed on the main branch of Karun River northwest of Shushtar. Its ruins are now seen besides Pole- Azadegan.

Also termed Band-e Kaisar, the arch bridge displays the advancement of architecture thousands of years ago. According to Ferdowsi, in his well-celebrated book, it took 3 years to finish the project.

At the order of Shapur I, the son of Ardeshir Babakan, the founder of Sassanid Empire, skills and expertise of Iranian and roman architects were taken advantage of to build a consolidated dam bridge. Nearby the once magnificent and fortified bridge, at a length of 500 m, with so many spans, there were watermills which span by means of waters energy. Built with rubble stones, mortar and ash, the bridge was made to exploit waters and direct on lands for irrigation of farms. For that, the riverbed was paved with carved, chiseled stones firmed with metal fasteners.

Foundations are 7 m in width with spans of 8 m wide. The dam bridge was the basic constituent of irrigation network and water distribution system.

Shadorvan Bridge went through some renovations in the Safavid era; also at the time of Mirza Heshmat Aldoleh it was partially fixed. In 1932, Nizamolsaltaneh decided to do some restoration but he failed because of the river’s flood. Eventually, after Islamic revolution 2 spans were rebuilt in 2001.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has also been listed as a national heritage site. The ruins of the glorious structure are a landmark which expose the creativity and expertise of our Persian ancestors and romans masonry skills and crafts. Shapur I’s breakthrough, which benefited farmers and inhabitants of Khuzestan, is now a tourist target.

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