Taq-e Bostan | series of large carving in rocks

Taq-e Bostan

Kermanshah region is not only famous for historic monuments but also for the great weather.

The Kermanshah region is notable for the concentration of Sasanid era monuments. What we know as Taq-e Bostan is a unique Sasanid rock relief in two grottoes and adjoining on the face of the cliff. The larger of the two grottoes has the richest and most complex array of image, which has long attracted attention.

Khosrow Parviz coronation, the second Ardeshir coronation, the second and the third Shahpour coronation, some inscription in Pahlavi, Boar hunting ceremony and playing music instruments can be seen in this complex.

The attractions of Taq-e Bostan are not only because of its historical and legendary values but also because of great weather.

The larger grotto

The most important one is the larger grotto which is an Ivan in a rectangular shape with 9 meters’ height, 7.5 meters in width and 6.5 meters’ depth. The inside walls sin consist of attractive decorations.

The site called pointed to a late Sassanid chronology, but some other studies had re-proposed the creation time to period of Pyroz I. The main obstacle to proposing any chronology for the site is the identification of the king depicted on the back wall wearing a crown that has no parallel in Sassanid numismatics.

Taq-e Bostan

The larger grotto contains many special carvings in details.

1.Khosrow Parviz coronation

Three different statues can be seen in this part

  • King at the center wearing a crown
  • Mobad(in other word Frvahar) in the right side of the king giving him the Farr
  • Anahita the divinity of the Waters and hence with fertility, healing and wisdom, at the left side of the king carrying a crock and giving the power ring to the king

The king and Mobad garments are looks like each other.

Taq-e Bostan

Farr (or Farreh) and power ring was an important reason of the king legitimacy.

2.The horseman

Under the coronation scene, an unknown identity horseman has engraved which can be a symbol of Sassanid glory. Some historians consider him to be Khosrow Parviz riding his horse Shabdiz. The horse is fully armored and carrying a water bottle and the rider’s spear and bow.

Taq-e Bostan

It seems to be an uncompleted varving.

3.The royal hunting scenes

  • Deer hunt

On the right and left side of the grotto, we can see the deer hunting scene in a square frame of 5.8*3.9 meters in which some elephant riders on three levels forcing large number of male deer to approach the hunters. The king on his horse Shabdiz is the main character of every level and he is repeated three times.

On the upper scene the king is getting ready to hunt. Behind the king a woman holding an umbrella for him and also there are some women in three rows. He is surrounded by several musicians who entertain him.

In the other scene the king is hunting and gallop after deer while six horse riders are following him. After that we can see the bow positioned horizontally on his chest and announce the end of the hunt. Some attendants are here represented in the act of slaughtering the dead animals to be later transported outside of the enclosure through one other passage kept open by a solitary attendant. The dead prey can be seen on the far left upper corner as carried away by camels outside of the enclosure.

Taq-e Bostan

The king at the middle of the picture can be seen.

  • Boar hunt

12 elephants each of them with 2 elephant runners in 5 rows are observable. They flush out the fleeing boars from the marshy lake for the king who stands poised with bow and arrow in hand. Some female musicians can be seen performing there. In this scene the king is wearing a caftan embellished with a composite flying creature that represented the idea of Farr or Farreh.

Taq-e Bostan

The king at the middle of the picture can be seen.

4.Mohammad Ali Mirza bas-relief

He was Fath Ali shah’s son who in a selfish act decided to engrave his picture there. He has a fat face, a long beard and a swaying sibling and is leaning on the throne with a red corrugate dress and a belt on his belly with sword and dagger.

Two sons of Mohammad Ali Mirza, Imam Gholi Mirza in the right and Mohammad Hossein Mirza in the left can be seen.

The decorations

In addition to the designs which have been mentioned, there are other interesting engraving in the arch:

  • The life tree in both sides of the iwan which is the symbol of immortality and life in Sassanian era
  • Two rows of plant patterns contains three leaves flowers
  • A crescent in the center of the arch with two ribbons hanging from that
  • Two archangels (Nike) in the above corners of the arch each of them is carrying a ring with a ribbon in one hand and in the other hand a cup full of pearl.
Taq-e Bostan

Two sons of Mohammad Ali Mirza can be seen on the right and left side of him.

The smaller grotto

Taq-e Bostan

We can see just one carving in the smaller grotto.

In this part Shahpour 3rd and his father Shahpour 2nd (the 10th and 11th kings of Sassanian) can be seen. The difference of these two pictures is in their crown.

Taq-e Bostan

The two men are looking like each other and the only difference is in their crown.

There are two Pahlavi inscriptions in this part in which the name of the king, his father and his grandfather had been mentioned.

Ardeshir 2nd coronation

Taq-e Bostan

Ahuramazda is giving the Farr (legitimacy)to Ardeshir.

The oldest bas relief of Taq-e Bustan which shows the 9th Sassanid king coronation and consists of some different roles:

  • Ardeshir 2nd the Sassanid king in the center

He is in a standing pose with a front view body and 3.4 face view, with ox-eyed and prominent eyebrows, curly beard and thick hair with earrings and necklace.

  • Ahuramazda on the right side

Who is giving the power ring to the king.

  • Mithra on the left side

Who is standing behind the king and under his foot a lilie can be seen.

  • A captive in down side

Ahuramazda and Ardeshir put their foot on a captive who can be one of the deified kings.

* Written by Haleh Givari.


Official Website: N/A Entrance fee: 200.000 IRR
Wikipedia: Click here Name(s) in Persian: طاق بستان
UNESCO Website: N/A Public transportation availability: Yes
Province: Kermanshah Accommodation availability: Yes
Phone: +9883 38380045 Facilities: N/A
Working days: All days Restaurant & Cafe availability: N/A
Opening hours: 8:00 AM-8:00 PMBest time to visit: All Seasons

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