Taq-e Bostan (Kermanshah)


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Taq-e Bostan
The bas-reliefs at Taq-e Bostan (Arch of the Garden), 6 km northwest of Kermanshah, are, with one exception, the only Sassanian rock carvings outside Fars Province; they are also the latest of Sassanian carvings. The Sassanians carved majestic sculptures out of the living rock, mostly in their native province of Fars, designed to exalt their kings and perpetuate their fame. Taq-e Bostan is discovered along an avenue now floodlit: the favorite excursion place of the townspeople. The bas-reliefs decorate two grottoes, large and small, which have been cut out of a rock cliff rising high above a pool of clear water, which recalls the 5assanian site at Darab (Pars Province).
The first one you come to is a majestic bas-relief depicting the investiture of Artaxerxes II, at the same time celebrating a victory over the Romans, by the deity Ahura Mazda to the right and Mithras; holding a symbolic sacred bunch of twigs, to the left. The next is a small arehed recess carved out of the cliff in the 4th century AD, showing Shapur II and his grandson (later Shapur III), created by the latter as a testament to his own dynastic credentials. The third is a larger grotto, with a lower panel depicting an armored figure holding a lance and seated on a now-headless horse, and an upper panel showing a royal investiture. Both are believed to represent Khosrow II, a contemporary of the Prophet Mohammad. The inner walls of this remarkable monument are decorated with reliefs of royal hunting scenes, together with a much later addition, a colored picture of three royal princes added at the time of Path Ali Shah (Qajar). On the symmetrical facade are two winged angels above some simple floral reliefs.


The side-walls have scenes of a royal boar hunt.. and a royal deer hunt.. (on the right and the left, respectively). The hunting party was accompanied by ladies of the court and musicians, all of whom are shown in a style very different frthat of the traditional sculpture of the West: this is the art of the jeweler or the miniaturist, the wall being treated as if it were a crown to be covered with precious stones.
Originally decorated in bright colors, the figures are more format and stylized than those of the Darius relief at Bisotun. The site is fenced off and attended by a curator from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. It is open more or less throughout the hours of daylight, but it is best to come in the mid-afternoon, after visiting the site at Bisotun.
Here, 1ike Bisotun. there are many places to eat: pleasant restaurants with a selection of fried chicken. kebabs and sometimes fish

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