Achaemenid Settlements > Istakhr



Istakhr (Middle Persian: Stakhr, Persian: اصطخر‎‎ Estakhr) was an ancient city located in southern Iran, in Fars province, five kilometers north of Persepolis. It was a prosperous city under the Sasanian Empire and briefly served as its capital from 224 to 226 CE. Istakhr first appears in history as an Achaemenid city. It gained its importance not only from its close association with Persepolis: it also commanded the western end of an ancient caravan-route that ran from the Indus Valley via Kandahar and Drangiana to Persia. Istakhr, also known as Estakhr, was an ancient city located in the Fars region of Persia (modern-day Iran), historically associated with the Achaemenid Empire.

Istakhr was situated in the Fars province of southwestern Iran, near the modern city of Shiraz. It was strategically located on a plateau overlooking the Marvdasht plain, surrounded by natural defenses such as steep cliffs and mountains. Istakhr was an ancient settlement with a history dating back to prehistoric times. During the Achaemenid period, Istakhr served as an important administrative and cultural center within the Persian Empire.

Role in the Achaemenid Empire:

Istakhr played a significant role in the Achaemenid Empire as a regional administrative center and a hub for trade and commerce. It served as the capital of the Fars province, overseeing local governance and collecting tribute for the Persian king. Istakhr was a culturally rich city, known for its architecture, art, and religious practices. The city was a center of Zoroastrianism, the religion of ancient Persia, and housed temples and fire altars dedicated to Ahura Mazda, the supreme god of Zoroastrianism.

Archaeological Significance:

Istakhr is known for its archaeological remains, including ruins of ancient palaces, fortifications, and temples. Excavations at Istakhr have revealed insights into Achaemenid architecture, urban planning, and daily life during the Persian Empire.


Istakhr's historical significance extends beyond the Achaemenid period, encompassing its role in subsequent Persian, Hellenistic, and Islamic periods.The city remained an important urban center throughout antiquity, reflecting the enduring influence of Persian culture and civilization in the region.In summary, Achaemenid Istakhr was a significant city in ancient Persia, serving as an administrative, cultural, and religious center within the Persian Empire. Its strategic location, architectural achievements, and cultural heritage contributed to its prominence in the Achaemenid world and its enduring legacy in the history of Iran.


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