Home Tourism The Arch of Ctesiphon: A Marvel of Sasanian Architecture

The Arch of Ctesiphon: A Marvel of Sasanian Architecture

The Arch of Ctesiphon

by Parastoo Sahebi
8 minutes read
Arch of Ctesiphon

Throughout history, Baghdad has been known as one of the most important cultural, scientific, and commercial centers in the world. Like other historical cities, it houses numerous historical structures, and one of the most significant among them is the Arch of Ctesiphon or Taq Kisra. This arch, which had great grandeur and splendor in its time, belongs to the ancient period of Iran and the rule of the Sasanians. join us at Eligasht to learn more about this ancient arch in Iraq.

Book Iran Air flights from London to Tehran  and Tehran to London with Eligasht UK:

iran air

The Story of Building the Arch of Ctesiphon

The Arch of Ctesiphon is one of the magnificent structures of the Sasanian period, with its roots dating back to the Parthian era. This structure was built during the reign of Anushiravan the Just to fulfill his needs and is known by various names such as the Arch of Khosrow and the Palace of Moda’in. This historical building bears many similarities to other structures of previous eras and has a history of over two thousand years. It was constructed by talented architects in collaboration with a vast workforce from all over Iran. There is an interesting story about the selection of the architect for this building and its construction methods, which demonstrates Anushiravan’s appreciation and insight regarding Iranian artists and architects.


The Architecture of the Arch of Ctesiphon

The architecture of the Taq Kisra is formed by precious stones and large, sturdy bricks arranged in a crescent shape. This building is designed in a way that effectively bears its weight and is resistant to external forces. Moreover, with a width of 25 meters, a height of 37 meters, and a brick facade, the Arch of Khosrow is considered one of the masterpieces of Sasanian architecture.

During that time, due to a shortage of wood resources, architects used a new method for constructing arches. Instead of wooden molds, they employed arched rings, which are an important feature of the architecture of the arch. This structure has witnessed many significant events throughout history and has played a crucial role as a venue for celebrations, and important ceremonies, and as the headquarters of the Sasanian army during the Arab invasion of Iran.Arch of Ctesiphon

The exact reason for the leaning of the Arch of Ctesiphon is not known, but there are many stories about it. One of these stories suggests that during the reign of the Sasanians, when the Arch of Ctesiphon was being built, the workers had to demolish some houses to construct the palace wall. One of these houses belonged to an old woman who refused to sell it. When Anushiravan learned about this, he ordered the wall of the palace to be built slanted in the location of the old woman’s house to avoid encroaching on her property and to respect her rights. This decision resulted in the wall taking a strange slanted shape and then continuing straight ahead after a short distance. This story demonstrates the justice and understanding of the Sasanian ruler towards the people, even during the construction of imperial buildings, by considering the rights of the people.


Nearby Attractions to the Arch of Ctesiphon

There are several natural and historical attractions in the vicinity of the Arch of Ctesiphon, which can complement your trip. One of these attractions is the Tomb of Salman the Persian, located 2 kilometers away from the arch, near the Tigris River.

Best Time to Visit the Arch of Ctesiphon

The best time to visit the Arch of Ctesiphon in Iraq depends on factors such as the climatic conditions of the region. Considering that the arch is located in a tropical region, the best time to visit it is during the fall and winter. During this time, the weather is usually cooler than in spring and summer, making it more comfortable and enjoyable for tourists to visit this historical site and its beauties.

Also, during the fall and winter seasons, there is usually less crowding compared to the holiday seasons. However, keep in mind that during the month of Muharram and Safar, due to pilgrims’ travel to Iraq and visits to historical sites in the country, you may encounter crowds and congestion, and may not be able to fully enjoy the beauty of this magnificent arch.


Accessibility to the Arch of Ctesiphon

The Arch of Ctesiphon is an ancient Iranian structure in the Diyala Governorate, about 40 kilometers southeast of the Tigris River. In the past, this structure was situated in a city called Ctesiphon. It not only symbolizes the history and culture of Iran but is also considered a valuable world heritage site in need of protection and preservation.Taq Kisra

If you plan to travel to the Palace of Ctesiphon by land from Iran, the Mehran border in Ilam Province is recognized as the closest land route to this destination. You can first travel from Tehran towards the Mehran border and, upon reaching there, use the available transportation options such as passing vehicles to reach the Palace of Ctesiphon.

However, if traveling by land is not convenient for you, air travel is a suitable option. You can fly from Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport to Baghdad International Airport, which takes about 2 hours, and after landing in Baghdad, you can reach the Palace of Ctesiphon using taxis or local buses.


Important Points Before Visiting the Arch of Ctesiphon

  • The Arch of Ctesiphon is open for visitation every day, and there is no entrance fee required. However, don’t forget to have enough money for your round-trip transportation and use reliable taxis.
  • There are several inspection checkpoints from Baghdad to the Arch of Ctesiphon, which can lengthen your travel time. Therefore, consider allocating more time for your visit.
  • Due to the open space in the area, it is recommended to use a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen during the day to prevent sunburn.
  • Due to limited facilities, if you plan to spend a long time at the Arch of Ctesiphon and its surroundings, bring your water and snacks.
  • Due to the lack of suitable shelter in this location, it is better not to visit during rainy days.
  • Please note that the Arch of Ctesiphon is a national heritage of Iranians in Iraq, which needs to be protected. Therefore, refrain from writing graffiti or damaging the remaining walls of the palace.

related post

Everything about the ancient city of Hegmataneh
Introduction to Iran’s Terraced Villages

Final words

Baghdad is known as one of the prominent cultural and historical centers in the world, housing valuable historical artifacts, some of which are related to the Iranian monarchy. The Arch of Ctesiphon or Taq Kisra is one of the renowned historical structures with global fame, built during the Sasanian era. It is currently trendy among tourists.

Taq Kisra


  1. What is the Arch of Ctesiphon?

The Arch of Ctesiphon is an ancient monumental arch located in present-day Iraq. It is part of the larger complex known as Taq Kasra, which served as the entrance to the city of Ctesiphon during the Parthian and Sassanian periods.

  1. How old is the Arch of Ctesiphon?

The Arch of Ctesiphon dates back to the 3rd century CE, during the Sassanian Empire. It is believed to have been constructed around 250 CE, making it over 1,700 years old.

  1. What is the architectural significance of the Arch of Ctesiphon?

The Arch of Ctesiphon is renowned for its impressive architectural design and grandeur. It is considered one of the largest single-span vaults of unreinforced brickwork in the world. Its unique design features a pointed horseshoe-shaped arch, showcasing the architectural prowess of the Sassanian Empire.

  1. What is the current condition of the Arch of Ctesiphon?

Over the centuries, the Arch of Ctesiphon has suffered from natural deterioration and human-induced damage, including wars and conflicts. Today, the structure is partially ruined, with the central vault remaining intact while the wings have collapsed. Conservation efforts have been undertaken to stabilize and preserve the arch, but its condition is still fragile.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More