Discovery of one of Ten largest Achaemenid buildings with Persepolis Structure

July 10th, 2014

The report below was originally by Payvand Iran News (July 2, 2008) (with the original Persian-language report by ISNA).


Have the archaeologists reached the ancient city of Lidoma, mentioned in historical plates?

In the second round of excavations in the historical site of Achaemenid region in Noorabad, Mamasani, of Fars province in Southern Iran, a restricted amount of remains of a columned balcony and a hall and its stairway, were discovered; this is one of the ten largest buildings having a structure similar to Persepolis.

Achaemenid-Noorabad-1[Click to Enlarge] Excavated column bases and stairway at Noorabad (Photo Source: Payvand News).

According to the cultural heritage reporter of ISNA (Iranian Students’ News Agency), the Iranian chief of the excavation site in this area, confirming the above news, said: The excavations have been going on from Dey (January) and has reached a balcony and a hall and stairway belonging to a large building. He added: This Achaemenid building has huge columns with a base about one meter thick. The styles of columns are the same as the Persepolis columns. The dimensions are similar to columns of Hall of Hundred Columns of Persepolis.

According to this report, there are traces of lotus flowers on the base of columns and the colour of the columns are the same as the Persepolis columns.

He pointed out to the fact that the discovery of this building has created several questions and said: The exact date of Achaemenid period in which the building was erected is not yet clear. The building could be one of the buildings of the famous Lidoma city, which has been mentioned in Persepolis plates.

The excavations in this are is carried out under the supervision of Ali Reza Asgari, from the archaeology research center and Daniel Thomas Pats from the Australian Sydney University.

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAExcavation work at Noorabad (Photo Source: Payvand News).

The joint team of Iranian archaeology research centre and the Australian Sydney University, began the excavations from 1381 [2003] in Mamasani region in Fars province. The outcome of excavations of this stage is the discovery of 51 historical sites in Rostam 1and 2 plains, 25 historical plates in Noorabad and 16 other in Espid hills. The dates were verified by radioactive process and give valuable information regarding the settlements in the sixth millennium BC to year 50 in this region.

Asgari stated the following:

The second phase of excavations started in 2007 and was planned to continue the explorations done in the previous stage. At this stage the excavations were concentrated in Achaemenid historical zones. These zones have different names such as Qal’e Koli, Servan, and Jinjan. The discoveries in this region open the path to an understanding of the Achaemenid studies in South and South-West Iran“.

Hertzfeld first discovered this area in 1924 and called it Jinjan. In 1935, Stein, mentions the villages in this region by the name Jinjan.

The first excavations in this area were carried out by an Iranian-Japanese archaeological team in 1959, during which a column-base colored in grey was found, having lotus figures on its top.

Asgari pointed out that the remains of a large building with columns in this region, along with numerous stone made pots, similar to those found in Persepolis area suggest that maybe as Herodotus has said, the king’s road passed by this area. Or as Hertzfeld and Stein suggest this area could have been a caravanserai in the kings’ road towards Shush. Some have also suggested that this place could have been a depot for collecting and storing the tax of the region.

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[Click to Enlarge] Remarkably intact Lotus-flower pattern column base excavated at Noorabad (Photo Source: Payvand News).

The Iranian supervisor of the archaeology team insisted: Although it is speculated that the functions of this place is similar to that of a region called Borazjan, but it is too early to conclude anything about the Jinjan region. It is true that large collection depots were numerous in this region, including the one in Borazjan, but more studies should be carried out in Jinjan region.

He corrected his last year statements according to which he had said that the building discovered in this region was the fourth in its kind and said: Considering the building discovered from the Achaemenid period, this is the tenth building of its kind which belongs to this period.

Tehran in the 1960s-1970s

July 3rd, 2014

Below is a selection of photos of Tehran in the 1960s and 1970s. Readers may find these previous postings of interest as well:

Snapshots of some of Tehran’s Major Avenues, Hotels and Mehrabad airport in the 1960s and 1970s


[Click picture to Enlarge] Aerial view of Vali Ahd Square (Meydan e Vali Ahd) in 1971 (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971).

Pahlavi avenue ingress to Vali Ahd Square (Meydan e Vali Ahd) in the 1960s (Picture source:

Tehran’s Hilton Hotel in 1961 (Picture source:

[Click picture to Enlarge] Mehrabad airport in 1971. Note the four-engined Boeing 707. Mehrabad was to become one of the busiest and most modern airports in Western Asia by the late 1970s (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971). 

 [Click picture to Enlarge] Takht e Jamshid Avenue in the 1971.

Istanbul Avenue in 1965.

Firdowsi avenue towards the north as seen in the 1960s.

[Click picture to Enlarge] Queen Elizabeth Boulevard in 1971 (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971).

Tehran University

[Click picture to Enlarge] Aerial View of Tehran University in the 1970s (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971).

[Click picture to Enlarge] Entrance to Tehran University in 1971 (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971).

[Click picture to Enlarge] Tehran university students in 1971 (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971).

Iranian university students in the 1970s.

[Click picture to Enlarge] Medical students at Tehran University. 

Tehran’s entertainment-recreation venues and cultural icons in the 196os and 1970s



The Shahyad Landmark of Tehran (re-named Azadi in 1979) under construction in 1966 (Original Source:

 [Click to Enlarge]Miss Iran 1967, Shahla Vahabzadeh (Original Source: For more see Miss Iran Pageants in 1960s and 1970s…

[Click picture to Enlarge] The Shemshak ski resort in 1971 (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971).

The Abeali Ski resort in 1966 (Picture Source:

[Click to Enlarge] The late actor Mohammad-Ali Fardin (1933-2000).

Ski enthusiasts at the Abeali Ski resort in 1966.

Am Iranian Pepsi-Cola cap from the 1970s. Tehranis often claimed that their version of Pepsi-Cola was better tasting than the American original!

-جرای گروه بلک کتز در سالهای دور – The original Iranian rock and jazz band known as the Black Cats. The name of this band was revived from the early 1990s by the Iranian diaspora community in Los Angeles.  For more see Selections and Memories of Iranian Popular Music of the 1960s…

Golden City Cinema in 1971 (Picture source:

Tehran’s posh Chattanooga restaurant and coffee bar in 1966.

Snapshot of Tehranis in the 1960s and 1970s

[Click picture to Enlarge] The Tehran Twist: The Tehran jet-set entertaining themselves with rock and roll music in the early 1960s (Picture Source and with special thanks to: Shamsi V (Original photographer) posted in Flickr). 

[Click picture to Enlarge] Old men amusing themselves with water-pipes on Isfahan street in the 1960s. 

[Click picture to Enlarge] A Tehran government official takes a break from the office. 

 Department Stores 

[Click picture to Enlarge] The Kourosh department store in the 1970s. The department store also featured a popular restaurant on its top floor (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971).

[Click picture to Enlarge] Mother shopping for her young son in the children’s section of a Tehran department store in 1971 (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971).

Radio Stations

 Iran radio station circa early 1970s.

Health Care

[Click picture to Enlarge] A Tehran hospital operating room in 1971 (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971).

Persian Heritage Journal article on Babak Khorramdin

June 25th, 2014

The Persian Heritage Journal has published an article by Kaveh Farrokh on the historical background of factors that led to the revolt of Babak Khorramdin:

Farrokh, K. (2014). An Overview of the Historical Circumstances that led to the Revolts of Babak Khorramdin. Volume XIX, No. 74, Summer, pp.21-23.

Babak_Castle-2An ingress into Babak Khorramdin’s Castle of Bazz in Iran’s Azerbaijan province in the northwest (Picture source: Pouya Yazdchi). Built during the Partho-Sassanian eras, Bazz proved to be a formidable fortress. Bazz finally fell to the Caliphate’s Turkish troops in August 15, 837 CE. Babak was executed five months later by the Caliphate in Samara (in modern Iraq) in January 838 CE.

As noted in the the article: “…though conquered [By the Arabo-Muslims in 637-651 CE], Persian language and cultural traditions such as the Nowruz (Iranian New Year) continued to endure (Axworthy, 2006, p.107). Ettinghausen corroborates this by noting that Iran had “…lost its independence, though not its cultural identity” (Ettinghausen, 1972, p.1). “

Babak Korramdin (795-838 CE) was to lead the last and perhaps greatest of all anti-Caliphate movements in Iran; as averred to in the article, Ibn Hazm has stated that: “the Persians…were greater than all of the people… after their defeat by the Arabs, they [the Persians] rose up to fight against Islam…among their leaders were Sunbadh [Sindbad], Muqanna, Usta- sis, Babak [Khorramdin] and others…”.

Babak in BattleA portrayal of Babak Khorramdin (Picture source: Babak Khoramdin) who led a three-decade (816-837 CE) rebellion to eject the Caliphate from Iran.

As cited in the article: “Primary historical sources are clear that Babak was a Persian. One of these is medieval Armenian historian Vardan Areweltsi, approx. 1198-1271 CE (Muyldermans, 1927, p.119).

Plaque-BazzSignpost at Bazz which reads “Let us become familiar/get to know the Castle of Babak”  (Picture source: Historical Iran Blog).

The Iranian Air Force 1924-1941

June 19th, 2014

This article provides a brief synopsis of the Iranian air force in 1924-1941. For a full history, with references and footnotes, readers are referred to Farrokh’s third text Iran at War: 1500-1988 in pages 267,  271-281 (accompanying footnotes in pages 443-445). Readers are also referred to the following article:

The Junkers Services

The Junkers Company had begun operating a civilian air service, providing flights between Tehran, Mashad, Shiraz, Bushehr, Anzali, Baku, western India and Turkey. Junkers aircraft and personnel had been deployed for reconnaissance flights and possibly transport for the Iranian air service in 1924. In that same year, Iran was to take delivery of ten combat aircraft from France, Germany and Russia.

Pic-9-Junkers F13A Junkers W 33 D-1684 of Junkers-Luftverkehr bearing the Persian inscription of “Qomri” (Persian: Ringdove). It is not clear what the man with the stick is doing; perhaps he is guiding the aircraft towards a parking position (Picture Source: Volker Koos & Lennart Andersson).

Official Birth of the Iranian Air Force

The official formation of a distinct Iranian air arm can be officially dated to June 1, 1924. On that day, Reza Khan (not yet Shah on that year) issued a directive separating the Air Office of the Iranian armed services into a distinct branch wholly independent of the army. By June and August 1924, Iranian pilots were training in France and Russia. The air service however had to wait another two years before being officially recognized as the Iranian Air Force on February 24, 1926. By that same year, the Iranian air service possessed a modest total of just three Junkers F.13 aircraft.

By 1926 the number of aircraft in the Iranian air force inventory doubled to 20 machines. This increased to 30 with the arrival of 10 Russian Polikarpov R-5 aircraft by June 1933.

Pic-8-Polikarpov-R5Two of the ten Polikarpov R-5 reconnaissance aircraft purchased from the Soviet Union in 1933; above is aircraft number 33 preparing to take off (Picture Source: Lennart Andersson). Iranian pilots however, disliked this aircraft’s handling characteristics and the type remained unpopular during its tenure with the nascent Iranian air force.

Aircraft Repair and Manufacturing

The Iranians had worked hard to develop their indigenous aircraft maintenance and production facilities since the early days of Reza Shah. By August 1932 technical schools for the repair of aircraft and pilot training had been established.

Pic-3-Iran Air Force Hawker Hind No. 601An Iranian Air Force Hawker Hind No. 601 before the Second World War. Iran received 35 of these by the fall of 1938 with the Shahbaz Aircraft manufacturing plant in Tehran producing another 20 Hawker Hinds in Iran (Photo Source: Artiklar)

More strides were made in 1935. Production machinery for aircraft manufacturing arrived from England, France and the Pratt and Whitney Company of the United States.

The Shahbaz Aircraft manufacturing plant at Doshan Tappeh was formally inaugurated on September 12, 1936. The plant produced ten Hawker Audex combat aircraft that same year under license. Plans were underway to produce more combat aircraft but the onset of World War Two put a halt to these projects.

Pic-2-Hawker Audax bombersA squadron of Hawker Audax bombers, close air support and reconnaissance aircraft stationed in an airfield in southern Tehran prior to the outbreak of World War Two (Photo Source: Cooper, T. & Bishop, F. (2000). Iran-Iraq War in the Air 1980-1988. Atglen, PA: Shiffer Military History, p.11). Ten of these were built in Iran under license in 1936 by the Shahbaz Aircraft manufacturing plant in Tehran. Sixty of these had already been delivered to Iran in 1934. A number of these flew against British and Russian forces during their invasion of Iran in August 1941.

The Anglo-Soviet Invasion of Iran (August 25 – September 17, 1941)

By the onset of World War Two Iran possessed 122 outdated Hawker series combat aircraft (Audax, Hind and Fury) with only forty of these fit for combat when the Anglo-Soviets invaded Iran in August 1941. Iran also had (approximately) another 160 aircraft (i.e. trainers, transport, etc.) prior to the outbreak of World War Two. The Iranian air force had a total of 1000 trained personnel at the eve of the Anglo-Soviet invasion. Iran’s obsolete aircraft were distributed to the four major airbases in Tehran, Ahvaz, Tabriz and Mashad.

Pic-6-Iran air force-French made-Breguet 19-recce-bomber An Iranian air force French-manufactured Breguet 19 reconnaissance and bomber aircraft. The aircraft delivered to Iran in 1925 were powered by a 450 hp engine. The aircraft was capable of 145 miles per hour and could fly at a maximum ceiling of 21,982 feet (Photo Source at left: Matofi, 1999, p.1054; Color Draft at right: PlaneTalk Forum).

In practice only the ten P-40 Curtis aircraft at Ahvaz air base were capable of challenging British and Russian aircraft, but only one of these had been assembled from its kits. This was flown by an American pilot-mechanic to Iraq as soon as the Anglo-Soviets invaded in August 1941.

Pic-1-Iranian Hawker Fury no. 482Iranian Hawker Fury no. 482 before the war (Photo Source: Matofi, A., 1999, Tarikh-e-Chahar Hezar Sal-e Artesh-e Iran: Az Tamadon-e Elam ta 1320 Khorsheedi, Jang-e- Iran va Araqh [The 4000 Year History of the Army of Iran: From the Elamite Civilization to 1941, the Iran-Iraq War]. Tehran:Entesharat-e Iman, p.1055). Just weeks after the ceasefire (August 28, 1941), two of these from the Qalemorqhi 1st Air Regiment took on five Soviet Polikarpov I-16 fighters on September 17, 1941 over the Caspian Sea. One plane flew by Captain Vassiq was shot down and crashed into the Caspian Sea. The other flown by Wing Operator Shushtari ran out fuel and crashed into the forests of northern Iran (Cooper & Bishop, 2000, pp.12-13).

The total numbers of actual combat and training aircraft in the Iranian air force are believed to have been as follows (numbers subject to revision with further research data):

  • 63 Audax
  • 34 Hind
  • 24 Fury
  • 10 Curtis P40 (Tomahawk) in crates at Ahvaz airbase (only of these was assembled prior to August 25, 1941 Anglo-Russian invasion – this was flown to Iraq by an American mechanic for the aircraft)
  • 3 Oxford
  • 1 (unserviceable) Hurricane
  • 25 Rearward Cloudstar Trainers

The Ahvaz, Tabriz and Mashad air bases were decommissioned after the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran in August 1941 but reconstituted after the Second World War.

Pic-7-Shahbaz first Iran domestic fighter A vintage Shahbaz Manufactured De Havilland DH-82A Tiger Moth II aircraft housed at an Iranian hangar; this is in desperate need of restoration (Photo Source: Copyright “Babak T” – available at Airliners.Net).

Fezana Journal article on Ancient Iranian Women

June 11th, 2014

The Fezana Journal has published an article by Kaveh Farrokh on the ancient women of Iran:

Farrokh, K. (2014). Gender Equality in Ancient Iran (Persia). Fezana Journal (Publication of the Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America), Vol. 28, No.1, March/Spring, pp. 105-107.

female-scythian-warriorA reconstruction by Cernenko and Gorelik of the north-Iranian Saka or Scythians in battle (Cernenko & Gorelik, 1989, Plate F). The ancient Iranians (those in ancient Persia and the ones in ancient Eastern Europe) often had women warriors and chieftains, a practice not unlike those of the contemporary ancient Celts in ancient Central and Western Europe. What is also notable is the costume of the Iranian female warrior – this type of dress continues to appear in parts of Luristan in Western Iran. 

As noted in the beginning of the article: “One topic that has received little attention in academia is ancient Iranian warrior women. There are in fact numerous references to ancient Iranian female warriors, from classical sources to post-Islamic Iranian literature.”

Amazon-3-AchaemenidsA reconstruction of a female Achaemenid cavalry unit by Shapur Suren-Pahlav.

It is further averred in the article that: “The rights of women in Achaemenid Persia were remarkably “modern” by today’s standards: women worked in many “male” professions (e.g. carpentry, masonry, treasury clerks, artisans, winery working), enjoyed payment equity with men, attained high-level management positions supervising male and female teams, owned and controlled property, were eligible for “maternity leave,” and received equitable treatment relative to men in inheritance“.

Gun-totting Iranian women-MalayerIranian women from Malayer (near Hamedan in the northwest) engaged in target practice in the Malayer city limits in the late 1950s.  The association between weapons and women is nothing new in Iran; Roman references for example note of Iranian women armed as regular troops in the armies of the Sassanians (224-651 AD).

The legacy of the status of the women of Iran is emphasized in the article as thus: “To this day, women in Iran’s tribal regions continue to be seen wielding their weapons“.

Amazon-7-FereydanshahrIranian tribal woman in shooting competition on horseback at the 2011 Fereydanshahr Olympiad in Iran.