Bam is a historic city in Kerman province, southeast of Iran. The most important historic site in Bam is Bam citadel, “Arg-e Bam”, which before the tragic quake in 2003, was the largest adobe-made structure in the world. Furthermore, the citadel is surrounded by different historic sites, such as; Darzin, an ancient city, Daughter castle, an Ice house, etc. So in addition of visiting this amazing citadel there are options to do. It is a world heritage site that is registered by UNESCO, “Bam and its cultural landscape”.
In fact it is a controversy when precisely it was built. It seems that the origin of Bam citadel is traced back to Achamanid dynasty, however it’s said that it was constructed by Parthians, from the 4th century B.C to the 3rd century A.D . Actually, based on the architectural features it’s claimed that through the history different parts were added or repaired which makes it difficult to find when it was founded. Its heyday was from the 7th to the 11th century, being at the crossroad of important roads. In addition, in the historic text there are sings of being attacked by the founder Sassanid dynasty, Ardeshir the 1st. Probably after the invasion of Arabs some buildings such as the Jame mosque were added to the city. Moreover, During the Islamic period it was the rebellions’ refuge. But the most important event happened about 200 years ago when “Agha Mohammad Khan”, the founder of Qajar dynasty, imprisoned and finally executed “Lotfaali Khan Zand”, the last king of Zand era. It was a dreadful tragedy that many were killed. Mysteriously the city was abandoned since 150 years ago, possibly as a result of being extremely damaged by the conquests.
Unfortunately in 2003 this world heritage site was destroyed by a massive earthquake, 6.6 on the Richter scale. Thankfully many countries helped to re-erect this world heritage site, such as Italy, France, Japan, etc. Surprisingly, during the maintenance about 60 mummies were found which were buried in the walls. It’s said that because they were buried in the walls with machine-waved grave clothes, they are remained intact or terminologically they are naturally mummified, It is still a mystery that why and when they were buried.
In the past cities consisted different sections, “Arg” or “ Kohan Dej” which was the inner fortressed part, royal part, and “Sharestan” or the residential part. During the Islamic period a section called “Rabz” were added that was Muslim’s territory. To construct a city there were some considerable factors, such as; Defense, security, water and religion. Bam citadel is the “Arg” or “Kohan Dej” of the city which is located on a hill, overlooking the city. It is one of the mysterious citadels that different parts of it are divided by labyrinth walls. Sharestan or the residential section is separated from the royal part by tall ramparts. Three types of houses has been recognized, small ones were used by poor people, bigger ones for middle families and luxurious houses were belonged to nobles or dignitaries. Interestingly, based on architects it was a pre-designed city that each part is connected perfectly and absolutely cohered. Moreover, the city was secured by tall fortresses, supporting by a deep, wide moat and its strategic location, on a hill in a desert. In addition the water was supplied by some wells. Furthermore, they were able to cultivate in the city. So, this secure city could resist for a long time which made it as one of most difficult cities to conquer.
Bam citadel is an important world heritage that is registered by UNESCO, “Bam and its cultural landscape”. This amazing city was a trading center due to its strategic location near important routs, specially cotton were cultivated and traded there. Beside, its architecture is a masterpiece of engineering, royal part is fortressed in the middle, surrounding by the residential zone which is protected by tall ramparts and a moat. Through its history many important events has happened which the most tragic one is the earthquake of 2003 that has extremely destroyed the city. Gracefully, many countries and international organizations helped reconstructing the city.