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Tuesday, 07 January 2014 08:33

Salasel Fortress

Salasel Fortress is located on a hill overlooking Shatit River in the city of Shoushtar, Khuzestan province.  In pre-Islamic times, water from the river passed underneath the fortress and reached different parts of the city.

According to Iran Daily, the fortress was in use until the Qajar period as a center for managing water supply from the river. The precise date of its construction is unknown, but was possibly built during the Parthian or Sassanid era.
The existence of Parthian clays in the area is strong proof of this claim.
Some experts, however, link the foundation of the fortress to the Achaemenid era.
Salasel Fortress was devastated in several conflicts that occurred in the region as well as natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes.
Yet it remains a precious source of information for archeologists who found much historical evidence in this ancient fortress.

One of the most significant historical instances involving Salasel Fortress was during the Battle of Tostar where the fortress (and Shoushtar in general) was attacked by the Arabs led by Abu Musa Ash’ari.
Under the leadership of Persian Commander Hormozan and due to the impenetrable nature of the fortress, the Persians held the Arabs at bay for 6 months and, by some accounts, 2 years.
It was impossible to take the city by storm and several unsuccessful attempts were made to breach the walls. Ultimately, a Persian defector opened the city’s gates from within for Abu Musa’s army.

Originally, Salasel Fortress consisted of a vast yard, pools, barns, barracks, towers, baths, a kitchen and many other rooms. Little is left of any of these, although its underground rooms and tunnels are fairly intact.
Two canals have been excavated under Salasel Fortress, which are accessible via two rows of stone stairways. After about a hundred meters downstream, these canals merge and become the Darion Open Canal.
Further downstream, this canal once again divides into two branches. In addition to its role in controlling the water flow and its strategic military position, the fortress also housed the Khuzestan governor’s office.
Archeological boring pits in the southern shell of Salasel Fortress in Shoustar resulted in the discovery of an Islamic graveyard belonging to the middle Islamic period (1050-1450 AH).
The boring pits were dug at distances ranging from 120 to 130 meters from the fortress. The design of a flying bird, four swords, daggers and a shield was carved on one of the graves of this cemetery.
The designs on the graves are believed to be the symbols of death and ascension toward God.
For many years, the fortress did not have any legal custodian and, therefore, was not well preserved.
Some of the restoration works of these organizations, especially those done without the consultation of experts, have greatly altered the historical architectural style of this fortress.


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