Arch of Ctesiphon, Chief (attraction) of Baghdad!



Today I am going to tell you about a very unique tourist destination which is located in Iraq.

Iraq which has been struggling incessantly with its own internal and external wars, it seems now wants tourists on its land. And in its effort to woo tourists has decided to carry out an elaborate restoration of the ancient
Arch of Ctesiphon as a part to boost tourism to this once popular site. This famed sixth century monument, is world’s biggest brick built arch and the last structure still standing from the ancient imperial capital Ctesiphon has fallen into despair.

It lies in south of Baghdad, just a short distance from tomb of Salman Pak, one of the companions of Prophet Mohammed. Together, the two sites from what was once one of the Iraq’s main tourist attractions in the town of Madain.
But this was badly hit due to unrest of decades which once thriving tourist destination.

History of arch of Ctesiphon

Ayvan (or Taq)-a Kesra (the Palace of Khosrow), the most famous of all Sasanian monuments and a landmark in the history of architecture, now only an imposing brick ruin. While actually belonging to the city of Asbanbar (Asbānbar) on the east bank of the Tigris below Baghdad, the Ayvān-a Kesrā (also called Ayvān-e Madā’en) is usually associated with the name of Ctesiphon, which lie, immediately to the north of Asbanbar and is another of the cities which made up the multiple complex of Mada’en (Figure I ). Situated near the modern settlement of Salman-a Pak (Salmān-e Pāk), the Ayvan-a Kesra is the legendary throne hall of the Sasanian kings of kings.

The standing monument consists of a large ayvan (ayvān) 43.50m deep by 25.50m wide, penetrating a blind facade that stretches 46 m in either direction from the center line of the ayvan and stood originally 35 m above ground level to the height of its cornice (Plates II-III). The articulation of the blind-facade is formed by a series of six stories of brickwork, consisting of columns, entablatures, and arched niches. The ayvan is roofed by a parabolic vault, with the side-walls tapering from 7 m to 4 m and brought forward by slight corbelling below the impost in order to reduce the enormous width to be spanned. The true part of the vault, for which slanting lays of brick on edge were employed (permitting the construction of a vault without cantering), is confined to the upper third of the structure; this arch tapers from 1.80 m at the point of the spring line to 1.30 m at the crown.

The great arch dominates the layout, but the area behind the facade can be shown to be taken up by a pair of large rectangular and square chambers on either side (if one can assume symmetry of plan) which are separated from the axial ayvan by a vaulted corridor system. Access to the corridor is gained through a doorway which penetrates the facade. Behind the ayvan, and connected to it by a narrow door, is an arrangement of rooms which are remarkable for their comparatively small dimensions. Through a cross passage and the central chamber one can enter the large hall at the rear of the complex. It is a later addition and measures 26 m wide by 38 m deep.

The great arch and its facade have aroused comments that generally have acknowledged its impressive qualities. Ebn al-Faqīh (p. 255) considered it to be one of the marvels of the world. Tabarī (111, p. 320) reports that the caliph al-Mansūr was advised by his Persian minister Khāled b. Barmak not to attempt its demolition. This advice reflects both the building’s prodigious dimensions and its reputation as a monument.

Hope and wish after this restoration, Iraq once again regains its glory of offering tourist attraction to its visitors.

So if you are planning your next International trip in 2014, don’t forget to include Iraq for its Arch of Ctesiphon.


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