Bishapour was built alongside the ancient Imperial Road which was once one of the country’s most strategic roads.
The city was later called Antiuk Shapour, meaning more beautiful than Antakieh, in Asia Minor, and this was due to its location in the beautiful Shapour plain, in the green and narcissus- filled Karen Plain with the Cheshmeh Sasan River crossing it.
In addition to all these natural features, the city’s architecture borrowed designs and motifs from other civilizations of that era.
Bishapour easily competed with the most beautiful and richest cities of the then civilized world like Antakieh (Antioch), the bride of all cities in Byzantium.
People came to tour Bishapour from different corners of the world. The city’s planning and architectural patterns in Bishapour, which were some of the most wonderful architectural phenomena of the time, remained unknown till the present time.
There is no evidence to indicate any fundamental changes in city planning during the Parthian period prior to the construction of Bishapour.
The Darab Gard and Ardeshir Khoreh had been built on the basis of the Parthian traditional architecture.
Scientific research, plus the works discovered in this city, all speak of the same reality and we can observe how the city planning changed on the basis of political initiatives. New governments were established and the economy flourished since during those days the city was the center of the ruling party.
Such cities were by no means mere residential areas. The design of the city is not circular. Streets and roads cross each other in the center.
These streets, parks and other recreational centers, lush areas and special complexes produced a beautiful checkered design that inspired tranquility.
State buildings were constructed in the center of the old castle, north of the city, which was the best choice for this purpose. Each building in this complex had its own specifications.
Due to the discontinuation of excavation, knowledge about the city structure remained incomplete. However, studies of monuments discovered indicate that at the beginning, the Sassanid culture and civilization had been affected by its past and pursued the style of Achaemenian period.
Though the Sassanids failed to reach high levels of technical expertise in city planning, they could compete against their predecessor, the Achaemenids, in stonework, especially in producing embossed three-dimensional shapes, and adopted their style.
Examples of sophisticated stonework can be seen in Tang-e Chogan located in the northern section of the city.
Utilizing decorative designs and motifs of other civilizations, like those of eastern Rome, a combined Iranian style was produced, which was influenced by the older Iranian style and that of the West.
And in this manner, artists of the time initiated new styles and this was a revival of traditional Iranian architecture and a new page in the history of Iranian city planning and architecture.
Dabir was the designer and architect of Espai City whose name was mentioned in the Persian manuscript of the city during the Parthian and Sassanid periods.
The gigantic reception hall of Shapour Palace, which was built in the southeastern section of Anahita Temple, and occupies about 781 square meters, is one of the earliest and biggest dome-shaped architectural works during the Sassanid period.
The building itself is built in the shape of a cross with 64 decorative niches. Two porches carpeted with tiles are connected to the reception hall whose discovery is proof of the technical skills applied there with a combination of the motifs borrowed from Western architectural styles.
There are very beautiful paintings and stucco works in the palace, which reflect the talent and taste of builders.
In the great Anahita Temple, the goddess of water is
another wonder that has been discovered in Bishapour. This great cellar-like building is cube-shaped and has 14-meter-long double-layered stone walls.
No mortar has applied in these walls. The width of these double-layered walls is about 235 centimeters. On the building’s northern side can be seen four stone cow sculptures of the Achaemenian Era.