Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System

Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System located in Iran’s Khuzestan Province. It is on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites as a masterpiece of creative and genius system. It can traced back to Darius the Great an Achaemenian king of Iran in the 5th century B.C.

It is a synthesis of diverse and hydraulic techniques, and it has multiple functions including urban water supply, agricultural irrigation, fish farming, mills, river transport, defense system etc. Shushtar historical hydraulic system or infrastructure is an interconnected and coherent set of bridges, weirs and dams, water mills, water cascades, canals, and tunnels.

It partly consists of two main diversion canals on Karun river (the only navigable river of Iran), one of which Gargar canal, is still in use today and providing water for Shushtar via a series of tunnels that supply water to mills. The purpose of this technique was optimal use of water with applying the ancient water treatment techniques and aid the occupation of semi-desert lands by diverting a river flowing down the mountains. This rare industrial site and beautiful system of tunnels built into natural rock serves as a centuries old plumbing system is worth a visit.

Shushtar
Shushtar

Shushtar Water Structures

One of the attractions of Shushtar, which is also listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is the aquatic structures. A complex irrigation system dating back to the reign of Darius the Great and the 5th century BC. During the Achaemenid to Sassanid era, the people used a cleverly designed set of large bridges, dams, mills, waterfalls, canals, and tunnels to make the most of the water. Today, it may be only a part of this complex structure, but the drainage of the mill effluent has created beautiful artificial waterfalls that fall into a pond-like area and form an astonishing landscape.

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Shushtar Hydraulic System function
Shushtar Hydraulic System function

Shushtar Tourist Attractions

In an article titled The World’s Oldest Countries, Iran is mentioned after Greece, and China. So there are cities and attractions in Iran, some dating back thousands of years ago. One of Iran’s oldest cities is Shushtar. The city of Shushtar lies on the slopes of the Zagros Mountains and has a good climate. Shushtar city attracts many tourists due to its attractive attractions at certain times of the year, especially in spring.

Although some of attractions and buildings in this city are not left in ruins at the moment, we have tried to mention all of them so that they will not be forgotten.
It is interesting to know that a group of Shushtar historians have stated why Shushtar created. In part of history, after the destruction of Shush people land, they found a region with a more fertile and suitable climate were chosen as the new place of urban life. They created the new one called “Shushtar” which means better than Shush.

Shushtar sky view
Shushtar sky view

A Brief History of Shushtar City

A French archaeologist has found a settlement in the city which according to studies, shows that the city of Shushter dates back to about 10,000 years ago. Excavations at Dastwa lands located about 5 kilometers off southwest of current Shushtar area have revealed that the area was occupied for the first time by Elimaeid after Alexander the Great death. Throughout history, Shushtar has been attacked repeatedly, like attacks by Mongols and the Timurid. There was rebellion against the central government in Shushtar during Nader Shah Afshar dominance. He sent his military campaign to the city, and after the conquest of the city many catastrophes happened. Many of the elders of the city were killed and women and children of the commander were given to the armies for three nights.

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After Nader Shah death, the situation in Shushtar became chaotic same as other parts of the country, and there were fights between Nemati proponents and Heidari proponents. At the time of Karim Khan Zand, agriculture and business slackened in Shushtar because of conflicts in the city.

Shushtar view
Shushtar view

Darion channel in Shushtar

Darion is a stream in Shushtar that departs from Shatta River and rejoins it. This creek is also called Darius or Dara, and was dug in the time of Darius the Achaemenid. According to the author of Tohfat al-Alam: “There was no garden around the city. The river was about half a mile distant from the town. People were crossing the river by boats, and it took a lot of trouble for people to cross the river. Akbar Nahar Dariyan did not have the opportunity to finish his job, and Dara bin Dara tried to finish it. Then the water flowed through the city and Gorgor desert, and that was before Alexander Zul Qarnain.”

Darion channel
Darion channel

Tomb of Yaqub Laith Saffari

Situated 10 km from Dezful to Shushtar, among the mounds of Jundi Shapur city which is one of Iran’s historic sites, there is the tomb of Jacob Laith Saffari. This ancient tomb dates back to Seljuk era. It has a serrated cone-shaped dome and is considered as the best cone-shaped domes. The main structure of the monument is made of raw clay and prominent patterns, plaster mortar and soil that seen in its construction. Tomb of Jacob Laith Saffari is one of Shushtar’s most historic tourist attractions.

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Tomb of Jacob Laith Saffari
Tomb of Jacob Laith Saffari

Protected Area of Karae

Another tourist attraction in Shushtar is Karae Protected Area which is located 25 kilometers off southeast of Shushtar. The area of ​​this tourist attraction is about 40,000 hectares, and is located in Black Mountain or Shah. The vegetation in this protected area is in various types that can include almonds, figs, Pistacia lentiscus, nettles, Jujube, cerium, Gaz, chicory, leguminous, cranberries, yarrow, mahogany, and pine.