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Arjan City in Iran

Treasures are often found by accident, like what happened in Arjan in 1982. Arjan is a region 12km north of Behbahan in Khuzestan Province, Iran. Sassanids called it Arjan and the Arabs Argan.

In the early 80s, while bulldozing for the construction of a dam on Marun river, two large jugs were found.

In the wake of the discovery of the jugs, the construction project was brought to a halt and archeologists came to the site and started an excavation. That is when an ancient tomb was found. Inside the tomb there was a coffin made of bronze and it contained “Arjan Treasure Trove”.

A golden ring with delicate patterns later known as “Jaam-e Arjan” together with 98 golden buttons, a dagger, a silver rod, a bronze jar and a cup were some of the discovered items. the golden ring was placed in the left hand of the buried corpse and had a short inscription on it: “Kidin-Hotran son of Kurlush”. Based on the remains, Kidin-Hotran ruled over Arjan about 800 BC.


Furthermore, the discovery resulted in a radical change in the previous accounts Arjan’s heydays. Prior to the discovery, most of the historians believed that Arjan had been a large Aryan city founded at the time of Sassanid Empire wherein people made their living by cloth-weaving.

Even today we don’t know exactly how many other historic tombs are buried deep within Arjan. It is quite possible that this region might have another surprise for the archeologists. As for the ordinary people who long to see Arjan, one should say that nothing much is left from the former glory of this city of crafts apart from a couple of ruins such as the columns of a Sassanid bridge.


The most significant historic edifice in Arjan though is the Sassanid Bath. The building of the bath has survived the scourge of time and is still in good condition after 15 centuries. The existence of this public bath highlights the importance of individual and public health during Sassanid era. At the time when most of the people in the world used very primitive sanitary methods including bathing in rivers, people of Arjan were equipped with a fully-fledged public bath.


Arjan was one of the cities that resisted against Arabs during Muslim conquest of Persia. However, the conquerors didn’t destroy the city due to its strategic advantages and instead tried to leave Arjan flourishing.


Arjan was one of the spots that Imam Ridha (one of the Imams of Twelver Shiism) stopped in his journey to Iran and the place of his sojourn is preserved and is one of the religious tourist attractions of Arjan.


Nasir Khusraw, the great Iranian poet and explorer describes Arjan as a prosperous city with lots of big buildings. But what happened to all that greatness and wealth? The principle cause pf Arjan’s decline might have been a destructive earthquake in 1065 that razed the city to the ground. Those who survived the calamity migrated from Arjan and founded another city which today is known as “Behbahan”.


Almost all historic eras from ancient Elam civilization to Achaemenid, Sassanid and Islamic periods contribute to historic sites of Arjan. A number of consecrated shrines and several ruinous forts including Gelu or Golab Fort (inhabited less than 200 years ago) are remnants of the Islamic period.


The best way to travel to Arjan is to fly to Ahvaz and reach Arjan via Behbahan. But the good news is that Behbahan Airport is under construction and soon it will be possible to fly directly to Behbahan.


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7/29/2017 6:13:29 PM

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