One of the cities of the Khuzestan province, southwest of Iran on the banks of the Karun River. As it is surrounded by fertile plains, it has been an agricultural center since ancient times. The name Shushtar means better than Susa, the capital of the Elamites. After the Arab invasion of Susa, the Elamites established this new city, where it had a more pleasant climate and fertile lands. On the other hand, some historians believe that the root of the word Shushtar is six gates, since the city has six entrances, while another group believes that it originally means king’s city. According to them, Shushtar was the first settlement of the first humans and, as some objects found in the Pebdeh cave show, the antiquity of the city dates back to ten thousand years ago.

Shushtar’s golden age occurred during the Sassanid dynasty (3rd-7th centuries), when they built an elaborate hydraulic system and canals to supply water to the area. Also, some inscriptions belonging to the Achaemenid era and some ceramic articles from the Arsacid dynasty have been discovered. Shushtar has many places of interest like; Zoroastrian tent, castles, Shushtar mosque, caravanserai, shrines and mansions. Shushtar’s craft is diba, a type of handmade cloth. The ancient hydraulic system of this city was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2009.

The small and picturesque city, located at the confluence of two rivers, was saved from the destruction of the war between Iran and Iraq.

Shushtar Hydraulic System

The date of its construction dates back to the 3rd century, during the Sassanid reign to distribute the water of the Karun River. Considering its age, it is a masterpiece of civil engineering. The hydraulic system occupies a huge area, and the old water mills are the best known part. To build it first, some conduits were dug to bring water to the complex. Then, the surface of the river and the aqueduct complex were paved with rock, cement and limestone to prevent their erosion. The use of aquifers consists of moving water into the structure and storing it for later use on dry and famine days, and turning large wheels on the floor of the structure, connected to the stone mills inside.

There are forty stone mills in this complex. The complex has a height difference of 20 meters from the surrounding residential buildings, connected by 200 handcrafted stone staircases. Heading for the stairs, there are chambers whose windows open onto the structures for the guards to watch closely.

Kolah Farangi Tower

Built during the Qajar era, quite run down, it has an octagonal structure and stands on a 4-meter-high hill next to a stretch of the Karun River. The height of the tower reaches 7 meters. According to historians, Shapur Sassanid built this building to supervise the workers and control the amount and intensity of the river’s water. The outer covering of the building is made of stones, of which not much has been left over time. This tower has been registered on the UNESCO World Heritage list.


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