Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System



May 9, 2022


Excerpts from UNESCO World Heritage Convention:

The Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System demonstrates outstanding universal value.  In its present form it dates from the 3rd century CE, probably on older bases from the 5th century BCE.

It is as rich in its diversity of civil engineering structures and its constructions as in the diversity of its uses (urban water supply, mills, irrigation, river transport, and defensive system). …

… testifies to the heritage and the synthesis of earlier Elamite and Mesopotamian knowhow; it was probably influenced by the Petra dam (Nabateans) and tunnel and by Roman civil engineering.

… in its ensemble and most particularly the Shâdorvân Grand Weir (bridge-dam), has been considered a Wonder of the World not only by the Persians but also by the Arab-Muslims at the peak of their civilization.

A testimony to early overall vision of the possibilities afforded by diversion canals and large weir-dams for land development.

It still in use today. It is a unique and exceptional ensemble in terms of its technical diversity and its completeness that testifies to human creative genius.

Roman technicians also influenced its construction. Its many visitors marveled at it and were in turn inspired. It testifies to the exchange of considerable influences in hydraulic engineering and its application throughout antiquity and the Islamic period under the various Iranian dynasties.

Shushtar is a unique and exceptionally complete example of hydraulic techniques developed during ancient times to aid the occupation of semi-desert lands.

By diverting a river flowing down the mountains, using large-scale civil engineering structures and the creation of canals, it made possible multiple uses for the water across a vast territory: urban water supply, agricultural irrigation, fish farming, mills, transport, defense system, etc.

It testifies to a technical culture dating back eighteen centuries serving the sustainable development of a human society, in harmony with its natural and urban environment.

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