Bandian complex, a site museum chockful of Sassanid architecture and arts in northeast Iran, offers visitors to travel back in time to the longest-lived Persian imperial dynasty, which endured for over four centuries, from 224 to 651 CE.
The archaeological discovery was originally a fire Temple situated in Dargaz county of Khorasan Razavi province, near the medieval city of Abiward. This ancient complex was discovered during the levelling of agricultural land in 1990. Since 1994, there have been excavations and inquiries. Available evidence suggests that the complex dates back to the reign of Peroz (459-484 CE) or his son Kavad I (488-497 CE).
In addition, a Zoroastrian sanctuary was discovered during the excavations, with most of its ornamentation and architectural details still intact. A significant portion of the stucco reliefs had survived, though the upper portions had not. The main hall of the fire temple, as well as a number of its rooms and corridors, were discovered during the site’s six seasons of excavation.
The flat ceiling of the building was supported by four lime columns in the hall. Interesting structural features include the strengthening of the columns and the mihrab (arched niche) of the structure. The spacious hall is covered in numerous stucco reliefs that show scenes from a hunt, battle, triumph, ritual, investiture, and banquet. In the Hephthalite-Persian Wars, Persian victories are depicted in it.
The Sassanid era is of very high significance in the history of Iran. Under Sassanids, various arts and architecture experienced a general renaissance. The palaces at Ctesiphon, Firuzabad, and Sarvestan are examples of grandiose architecture that frequently adopted oversized proportions in that epoch. Metalworking and gem engraving were two examples of highly developed crafts. Books were translated into Pahlavi, the Sassanian language, during that period from both – the East and the West.
Top examples of Sassanian art can be found at Bishapur, Naqsh-e-Rostam, and Naqsh-e-Rajab in southern Iran. Rock-carved sculptures and bas-reliefs on abrupt limestone cliffs are widely regarded as characteristics and striking relics of Sassanian art. The Sassanids’ efforts also resulted in a resurgence of Iranian nationalism, for instance, Zoroastrianism was proclaimed the State Religion.
In the years 637 to 651, Arab invaders overthrew the dynasty that Ardashir-the-First helped create. The dynasty was given its name in honor of Ardashir I’s ancestor – Sasan. Sassanid archaeological landscape shows how the earliest cultural centers of the Sassanid civilization were built using an extremely effective system of land use and careful consideration of the local topography.