Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The circles of Khorasan

The remains of the ancient city of "Konjikala" is near the comparatively younger remains of "Ai- Khanum" on the Afghanistan border with Tajikstan.
It is thought to date to around 2000 B.C.
It seems to have been built to on both banks of the Oxus river, possibly to control  trade that came down it but also to control the valuable water resource.
The layout of the city was circular, in its centre was a mound with a temple.
It is thought that it was here that Zoroastrianism began.

Floods seem to have destroyed much of the walls of the city and it was in ruins when the armies of Alexander III reached it in around 330 B.C.
Viewed on Google Map, my rendering of the original circular layout and the remains of the central complex.

In 209 A.D. the vassal ruler of Fars, Ardashir, rebuilt the ruined city of Khor, renaming it "Khor Ardashir". This was to be his base in his campaign to overthrow the Arshakuni (Arsacid) dynasty in Persia.
The city layout was circular, with four gates.
In the centre was a Zoroastrian temple, built in a spiral, which the Mosque of Samarra was modelled on.
From Google Map, my plottings of the outlines of the city of Khor Ardashir

In 734 A.D. the Abbasid Caliph, al-Mansur, ordered the building of a new city for the Caliphate.
It was built north of the old city of Ctesiphon.
Naubakht Ahvazi, from Khuzistan and Mashallah ibn Athari, from Khorasan, were employed as the Astrologers to deterimine the most fortuitous time to establish the city.
Abu Hanifa, of Khorasani origin, organised the contruction of the bricks needed and a Canal to bring them into the building site.
The city layout was circular, with four gates.
In the centre was a Mosque and the Palace of the Caliph.
Not only does this show the antiquity of Khorasan but also the cultural power it had over neighbouring regions.

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