Bam Citadel, the largest adobe structure in the world, is located near Bam city in Kerman Province, Southeast of Iran. This Iranian heritage is known as “Bam and its Cultural Landscape”. And UNESCO World Heritage Centre registered it in 2004 under the same name.
A brief history about Bam Citadel
Although the Bam Citadel is attributed to “Bahman, the son of Esfandiyar” in Shahname, concrete evidences suggest that it was built in the 5th century BC and it had been inhabited since 1850 AD. It is not clear why it was abandoned afterwards despite being in the path of the Silk Road.
Although there is disagreement over the history of the foundation of this historic citadel between Arsacid and Achaemenid Empire, most of its structures which were created before the earthquake are attributed to Timurid and Qajar era. However, parts such as the “Iwan of the Ground Mosque”, which have a different and huge scale, recall older periods. For instance, the Samanid Empire in 10th century AD up to the Seljuq Empire in 13th century AD. Besides, many layers of construction are observable on the walls and some parts that represent numerous reconstructions on them. It’s a proof that the dates expressed in the historical texts and quotations of the predecessor historians are absolutely correct.
The whole structure is a huge fortress with a citadel in its center, but due to the impressive facade of the citadel, the entire fortress is known as the Bam Citadel. In addition, the citadel is located at the center of a military city with the best view regarding security. It is also the tallest part of the complex.
The materials used in the construction of this citadel are mainly of crude brick, adobe, mud brick, mortar, clay and straw. However, in rare cases ballast, brick, and palm tree trunks. Its area is around 180000 square meters, surrounded by six to seven-meter tall walls with a length of 1815 meters.
The Bam Citadel has also many values of architecture and urbanization for many reasons. These are the possession of several historical monuments, residential neighborhoods, the method of connecting and linking them to one another. Besides, the way that the whole complex has situated on the slope of a hill is another value. In fact, it ends to a huge luxurious mansion at the highest point. As a result, it is considered as the first linkage between architecture and urbanization in Iran.
The design and the architecture
The design and the architecture of this citadel have been studied in many aspects. According to the current form of the citadel, the designer has predicted the final shape of the whole building and city from the initial stages of the construction.
One of the most important points of the architecture and construction of this construction is that it has two parts. The administration section and the peasant neighborhood, each of which has salient features.
The administration section is composed of parts like a fortress, a mansion suitable for year-round usage (this mansion includes three floors and an administrative palace from which all the orders and municipal commandment were issued by the governor), a barracks, a water well (40 meters deep), and a stable (capable of holding 200 horses).
The peasant neighborhood, which encircled the administration section, includes the main entrance of the city, public buildings such as schools and sports places for residents, markets that lead to the main entrance to the city and around 400 houses.