TEHRAN — Tourist attractions in the western province of Lorestan attracted more than two million visitors in the first half of the current Iranian calendar year 1401 (started March 21), the provincial tourism chief said.
A total of 2,305,000 people visited historical sites and natural sites across the province during the mentioned period, Ata Hassanpur explained on Thursday.
Qale Falak-ol-Aflak, which is a Sasanian-era (224-651) fortress located in the provincial capital, Khorramabad, won the lion’s share of visits, the official added.
The must-see eight-towered fortress looms over Khorramabad as one of the region’s most visited travel destinations for domestic and foreign tourists. The fortress looks particularly imposing and dramatic when lit up at night, offering picturesque views of its crenellated ramparts that surround it.
Experts believe that the fortress is comparable to similar works in Naqsh-e Rostam, Naqsh-e Rajab, Tape Chugan and Firuzabad in Fars province.
In 2018, UNESCO added a collection of historic Sassanid towns in southern Iran – titled “Sasanian Archaeological Landscape of the Fars Region” – to its World Heritage List. The ensemble is made up of eight archaeological sites located in three geographical parts of Firuzabad, Bishapur and Sarvestan.
It reflects the optimized use of natural topography and bears witness to the influence of Achaemenid and Parthian cultural traditions and Roman art, which later had a significant impact on the architecture and artistic styles of the Islamic era.
The Sassanid era is of great importance in the history of Iran. Under the Sassanids, Persian art and architecture experienced a general renaissance. The architecture has often taken on grand proportions such as the palaces of Ctesiphon, Firuzabad and Sarvestan which are among the highlights of the ensemble.
Crafts such as metalworking and gemstone engraving became very sophisticated, but the state encouraged scholarship. During these years, works from East and West were translated into Pahlavi, the language of the Sassanids.
Efforts by the Sassanids also resulted in a revival of Iranian nationalism, for example, Zoroastrianism was declared the state religion. The dynasty evolved by Ardashir I and was destroyed by the Arabs during the period 637 to 651. The dynasty was named after Sasan, an ancestor of Ardashir I.
Under his leadership, which reigned from 224 to 241, the Sassanids overthrew the Parthians and created an empire that constantly changed in size in reaction to Rome and Byzantium in the west and the Kushans and Hephthalites in the east, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.
By the time of Shapur I (reigned 241 CE–272), the empire stretched from Sogdiana and Iberia (Georgia) in the north to the Mazun region of Arabia in the south; in the east it extended to the Indus River and in the west to the upper Tigris and Euphrates valleys.
Steeped in history and culture, Lorestan is one of Iran’s lesser-known travel destinations, which primarily acts as a gateway to the sweltering plains below in neighboring Khuzestan province. Lorestan is also an area of raw beauty that an avid nature lover could spend weeks exploring.