Shushtar

Infobox Settlement

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subdivision_name1 = Khuzestan Province
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Shûshtar is an ancient fortress city in the Khuzestan province in southwestern Iran. It is approximately 92 km away from Ahvaz, the centre of the province. It had an estimated population of 89,255 in 2005. [http://www.mongabay.com/igapo/2005_world_city_populations/Iran.html]

History

The old name of Shushtar, dating back to Achaemenian times, was "Šurkutir". The name itself, "Shushtar", is connected with the name of another ancient city, Susa (or "Shush", in Persian pronunciation), and means "greater (or better) than Shush."

During the Sassanian era, it was an island city on the Karoun river and selected to become the summer capital. The river was channelled to form a moat around the city, while bridges and main gates into Shushtar were built to the east, west, and south. Several rivers nearby are conducive to the extension of agriculture; the cultivation of sugar cane, the main crop, dates back to 226 CE. A system of subterranean channels called "Ghanats", which connected the river to the private reservoirs of houses and buildings, supplied water for domestic use and irrigation, as well as to store and supply water during times of war when the main gates were closed. Traces of these "ghanats" can still be found in the crypts of some houses. This complex system of irrigation degenerated during the 19th century, which consequently led to Shushtar's decline as an important agricultural centre until revitalisation efforts began under the reign of the last king of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in 1973.

When the Sassanian Shah Shapour I defeated the Roman emperor Valerian, he ordered the captive Roman soldiers to build a vast bridge and dam stretching over 550 metres, known as the "Band-e Qaisar" ("Caesar's bridge").

The ancient fortress walls were destroyed at the end of the Safavid era.

People and culture

Like other Persian ethnic groups, the people of Shushtar, called "Shushtaris", maintain a unique cultural heritage stretching back to ancient times, and a Persian dialect distinct to their group.

hushtar New Town

In 1973, the Pahlavi dynasty initiated efforts to revitalise the economy of Shushtar, which had stagnated since the deterioration of the waterways in the 19th century, and to further develop agricultural resources in the province. The Karun Agro-Industries Corporation built a satellite town across the river from the old city, naming it "Shushtar New Town". The primary purpose of this new development was to house the employees of a nearby sugarcane processing plant, while also intending to stimulate interest in the old city and to provide additional housing necessary to accommodate industrial growth in the province.

External links

* [http://www.shushtarnama.com/ About Shushtar and its ancient buildings (in Persian)]
* [http://www.flickr.com/photos/shushtar Good photos from shushtar]
* [http://www.livius.org/a/iran/shusthar/shushtar.html Livius Picture Archive: Shushtar ("Šurkutir")]
* [http://www.ostan-kz.ir/en/albumdetail_aen_i_17.html Shushtar Photo Gallery from the Khuzestan Governorship]
* [http://www.iranian.com/Arts/2002/January/Shushtar/ "Visiting Shushtar" Photo Essay]


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