City of the Pious
One of the oldest cities in Iran, Shushtar in Khuzestan Province borders Masjed Suleiman in the east, Dezful and Shush in the west, Ahvaz in the south and the Bakhtiari Mountains of the Zagros Mountain range in the north. Like other cities in Khuzestan Province, Shushtar experiences extremely hot summers but has mild, pleasant winters.
Based on the stone tools, axes, spears and knifes found in Pideh Cave, archeologists believe that human settlement in the area dates back to at least 7,000 years ago.
Some historians such as Hamdallah Mustawfi (1281–1349) believe the city was founded by the Pishdadi ruler Houshang - Pishdadian are considered the first Aryan dynasty, which have been mentioned in Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh (Book of Kings) and Persian mythology - but fell into ruin and was rebuilt by the founder of the Sassanid dynasty Ardashir I the Unifier (180-242 CE).
Like its history, there are several theories about the meaning of the name of the city. According to some accounts, Shushtar means ‘better than Shush’. Others suggest that the city was originally named Sheshdar meaning ‘six doors’ in the Persian language as it once had six gates and over time its name became Shushtar.
The most famous attraction of the city is the Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System, a network of watermills, weir bridges, dams, water channels, rivers, and moats along with a castle which controlled the flow of the operation.
This Hydraulic System consists of parts like Gargar Channel, a manmade river, which dates back to the Achaemenid era (550-330 BC) and parts like Band-e Kaiser (Caesar’s Bridge) that dates back to the time of the Sassanids (224–651 CE). Band-e Kaiser, which is also known as the Shadorvan Weir Bridge, was built in 260 CE by Roman soldiers and engineers who were taken into captivity along with Emperor Valerian (reign 253–260 CE) after his defeat by Shapur I (241-272 CE).
The Dez, which flows west of the city, and the river Karoun (Karun) are both popular spots for water sports.
Top things to do:
Top foods to try:
- Ash-e Gholghol – A thick soup made of fava beans, chickpea, rice, wheat, cowpea, lentil and kidney beans spiced with turmeric, black pepper and dried lime powder. The soup is usually decorated with fried dry mint and garlic.
- Borani Baqala Sabz – An appetizer made of yogurt, fresh broad beans, fresh garlic and dill sprinkled with lime powder.
- Seer Baqaleh- This sour stew mainly consists of garlic, broad beans and pomegranate paste.