Located nearby Kermanshah city in western Iran and in the heart of the Zagros mountains, the Taq Bostan (Arch of the Garden) complex is a site with a series of large historical and artistically important rock carvings (bas-reliefs) from the era of Sassanid Empire of Persia, the Iranian dynasty which ruled western Asia from 226 to 650 AD.
The impressive bas-reliefs have been cut out of a rock cliff rising high above a pool of clear water, illustrating the investiture ceremonies of Sassanid kings Ardashir II, Shapur II, Shapur III as well as depicting the hunting scenes of Khosrow II who appears mounted on his favorite charger, Shabdiz, arrayed in full battle armor.
There exists two vaults, a smaller one and a bigger one. The small vault, carved in the mountain during the reign of Shapur, includes two relief sculptures and two inscriptions. The vault is of great significance since the two inscriptions act as introductions to the demonstrations of the vault.
The bigger vault belonging to the era of Khosrow II known as Parviz with more demonstrations and delicate carvings is more important and has attracted the attention of historians. The inner walls of this remarkable monument are decorated with amazing reliefs of royal hunting scenes, together with a colored picture of three royal princes added at the time of Fath Ali Shah (Qajar). Likewise, on the symmetrical façade, there are two magnificent winged angels above some attractive floral reliefs.
Like other Sassanid symbols, the carvings ̶ ̶ some of the finest and best-preserved examples of Persian sculpture ̶ ̶ accentuate power, glory, the court splendor, fighting spirit, and rejoicing.
Surrounding by open-air restaurants with a wide range of tasty food, this favorite excursion place for sightseeing is best to be visited in the afternoon. Even after the complex closes, sympathetic lighting provides a golden glow emanating warmly from the alcoves, making the reliefs attractively half-visible through trees across a boating pond.
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