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On a Bridge From  Past to Present
On a Bridge From  Past to Present

Iran's Six Lesser-Known Historical Bridges

Iran's Six Lesser-Known Historical Bridges

The age old, eye catching bridges of Iran that have carried the stories of hundreds of thousands of trampling feet throughout history, should not be left out when talking about Iran’s tourist attractions.
Dozens of articles and publications have been written about the world renowned Iran’s bridges such as Siosepol or Khajoo, but the list of ancient bridges exceeds 250.
Here is look at some of the oldest and most important bridges.

Dezful Bridge, Oldest in the World
The Old Bridge of Dezful, or as it is famously known, the Sassanid Bridge, is the oldest bridge in the world, still in use. It connects the two eastern and western sides of Dezful and was initially constructed in 260 AD to connect Jondishapur to Mesopotamia, according to irandeserts.com.
Jondishapur or Gondishapur was the intellectual center of the Sassanid Empire and the home of the Academy of Gondishapur, which persisted for several centuries after the Sassanids, as a Muslim institute of higher learning.
Shapur I ordered the building of the bridge after defeating the Romans, to facilitate the transfer of captured Roman soldiers, and for this reason the bridge is also known as Roman Bridge.
The bridge has been renovated several times during various dynasties, such as the Safavids.

Shapoori Bridge
Located in southern Khorramabad, Shapoori Bridge, another Sassanid bridge, connected the western part of Lorestan to the east, and Khuzestan Province and Ctesiphon, the capital city of the Parthian and the Sassanid Empires.
Lorestan with more than 77 registered bridges from different eras of Iran history – ranging from Sassanid to Qajar – is known as the homeland of Iran’s Historical Bridges. Some archaeologists believe that after Egyptian pyramids, Lorestan’s stone bridges are the oldest stone structures from ancient times.
The bridge, also called ‘Tagh-e Pil-Eshkesah’ is 312 meters long and 10.75 meters high. It has 28 arches and 27 piles, each 61 square meters. Five of its arches are intact; the others have been destroyed by natural factors. The arches are shaped like wishbones. The piles and breakwaters are in the form of six lateral lozenges made of stone.
It is thought that the bridge may also have been used to distribute water.  As construction materials, mainly river stones were used, with stone chips in the arches, and truncated stones in the piles. The floor is paved in red block stones whose square shape has been eroded.
Shapoori Bridge is registered on the list of National Monuments.

Kashkan Bridge
Built over a river of the same name, Kashkan Bridge is situated along the ancient route of Shapurkhast (today’s Khorramabad) to Tarhan, a district in Koudasht county in Lorestan Province.  In the ancient writings Kashkan is called Kazhaki.  The local Lors of the region call it Kashkoo.
There are tablets with Kufic Arabic scripts on remains of the bridge, dating back to the 9th century CE. According to one scripts engraved on the base of the bridge was built in 392 AH (around 10 century AD), but archaeological excavations and architectural evidence dates it back to the Sassanid era.  It is thought that the date on the tablet could have been the date of one of the early renovations.
The bridge is 300 meters long, and originally had 11 columns and 12 arches, some parts of which are in a ruined state and have not survived. The highest point of the bridge is 26 meters high and lowest, 10.
Kashkan Bridge is one the most spectacular attractions of Lorestan Province which is also registered on the list of National Heritage.

Latidan Bridge
The bridge emerged like a Phoenix from the ashes, when in 1993 a flood hit Nim Kar village in Khamir county, Hormozgan Province, and washed away tons of dust.
It is built over the Kol River as part of a Safavid road built for Caravans connecting Shiraz to Bandar Abbas.  
Latidan Bridge is considered one of the longest historical bridges in Iran.  It is over a kilometer long, and has in the region of 233 piles.  It is three times longer than Siosepol in Isfahan.
Constructed during the Safavid era, it contradicts the general style of the period in which bridges were built with brick, and is from amorphous stone.  It is undoubtedly one of the masterpieces of bridge architecture in the history of the country.
It was mainly built for military purposes during the war with the Portuguese, during the reign of Shah Abbas.  It was then transformed into a merchant corridor when the conflict ended.
Considering the river’s high water level during the rainy season, renovation projects are underway to fortify the structure, to help it endure.  The valuable national heritage is nevertheless still at risk, and in dire need of investment and protection.
Gavmishan Bridge
Another Sassanid bridge, Gavmishan (meaning buffalo) is located 30 km from Pol-e-Dokhtar, on the on the border of Lorestan and Ilam Province. The bridge is built from brick, stone, and mortar over the Seymareh River.
Situated on the border of two provinces, it is officially regarded as one of the attractions of Ilam by Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO).
Historians attribute its name to the buffalo breeding tradition among the locals of the area, or to the Mythraist tradition, which holds the Buffalo in high regard.
Gavmishan is 175 meters long, over 8 meters wide. Only six of its arches survive. Gavmishan has the largest span among all the bridges in Iran, and is over 50 meters wide.    
The whole construction is typical of the Sassanid style, but evidence of renovations during Safavid and Qajar can also be seen. It was inscribed on national heritage list in 1998 in the vicinity of Ilam Province.

Veresk Bridge
One of the largest viaducts in Iran, Veresk is undoubtedly a masterpiece of engineering which became officially operational in 1936. It is located in Veresk district, Savadkuh, Mazandaran Province.
It connects Tehran to the northern areas through railroad and is built on 110 meters deep valley with a span of about 66 meters and was built by German and Austrian engineers with the Austrian Walter Inger, the chief engineer, leading the construction project.
The structure is considered very strategic particularly during World War II and was named ‘Pol-E Piroozi’ (Victory Bridge) at that time.
Underneath the bridge is a memorial structure built in memory of all the construction workers who lost their lives in the course of building the Veresk Bridge and its nearby tunnels. Walter Inger, following his wishes, is buried at this location.
To this day, it has been over 70 years that Veresk Bridge is in use by passenger, cargo, and fuel trains and apart from its significance in Iran’s transportation system, it is among the major tourist attractions of the country.
The bridge is registered on the country’s national monument list in 1977 and its name is also recorder in Guinness Book of World Records under the section of bridges with more than 60 meters of height.

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