Ancient Parthian Narin Citadel To Be Renovated With Authentic Materials

Narin CitadelSource: Wikimedia Commons

Historically, the Parthian Empire (247 BC – 224 AD), mainly based in Persia and lower reaches of Khorasan, was the Eastern rival to the Roman Republic and early Roman Empire. However, in spite of their strong military, the Parthians left very little in terms of architectural legacy, possibly because of their semi-nomadic nature that had limited influence on the vernacular subjects (under Parthian control). But mirroring their ancient feudal society, there are a few surviving defensive structures from the Parthian era – and one of them pertains to the crumbling Narin citadel. And the good news for us history aficionados is that the Iranian government has decided to renovate the entire fort, thereby preserving a rare example of Parthian architecture. 

Narin Citadel
Credit: Diego Delso / Source: Wikimedia Commons

The 910 million rials project was announced by the country’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization in June, entailing the refurbishment of the Narin citadel located near the city of Na’in in Isfahan province, central Iran. The endeavor will focus on restoring the foundations and the facades of the ancient fort by using authentic mud-bricks and other original building materials like cob.

Interestingly enough, the town of Na’in in itself is one of the oldest continuously settlements in central Iran, located on the junction of the desert road to Tabas and Mashhad. Suffice it to say, such a strategic zone (for trade and commerce) rather accentuated the importance of the Narin citadel – which also shares its namesake with the Narin citadel of Meybod in Yazd Province (that also boasts a similar constructional scope). Moreover, via the methods of renovating with authentic materials, the researchers hope to know more about the ancient construction techniques used during the time of the Parthians. 

Credit: Richard I’Anson/Getty Images

As for the legacy of these Parthians, they amalgamated the military tendencies of their nomadic brethren (like the Scythians) and the cultural legacy of the Achaemenid Persians. The result was a feudal society in the ancient times that was headed by powerful clans who maintained their political presence while granting autonomy to many urban and trading centers throughout the kingdom. As a consequence, the Parthian army was dominated by mounted warriors (an effect of their nomadic origins), with the core composed of the famed cataphracts and clibanarii – heavily armored horsemen mounted atop Nisean chargers. These chosen retinues of the nobles were often accompanied by a multitude of lightly-armed horse-archers.

Over time, the Parthian Empire – encompassing semi-nomadic, Persian, and even Hellenistic cultures, stretched from the Euphrates in Mesopotamia to the borders of (modern-day) Afghanistan in the east. And quite intriguingly, by virtue of their rule over the region of Khorasan, the Parthians also controlled a significant part of the famed Silk Route, thereby creating a trade-based economy in many of their urban areas.

Parthian cataphracts charging the Romans at the Battle of Carrhae (circa 53 BC). Illustration by Johnny Shumate

Source: Tehran Times

Featured Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

About the Author

Dattatreya Mandal
Dattatreya Mandal has a bachelor's degree in Architecture (and associated History of Architecture) and a fervent interest in History. Formerly, one of the co-owners of an online architectural digest, he is currently the founder/editor of Realmofhistory.com. The latter is envisaged as an online compendium that mirrors his enthusiasm for ancient history, military, mythology, and historical evolution of architecture.
       ROH Subscription

To join over 5,600 other subscribers, simply provide your email address: