Bishapur was a Sassanid city in the Fars region of Iran, located on the road that connected the Sassanid capitals of Istakhr (close to Persepolis) and Ctesiphon. The site is known for its Sasanian-era bas-reliefs and the ruins of what was once a royal city. It declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in June 2018 as part of the Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars Region.
Bishapur was built near a river crossing in AD 266 on the orders of King Shapur I by Roman soldiers who had been captured after the defeat of the Roman emperor Valerian. The city, surrounded by walls that may have stood some ten metres high, was inhabited by some 50,000 to 80,000 people. It had a rectangular plan with a grid pattern of regular intra urban streets, resembling Roman city design. The Sasanian king had the sides of the nearby gorge decorated with huge historical reliefs commemorating his triple triumph over Rome.
Bishapur remained an important city until the Arab invasions and the rise of Islam in the second quarter of the 7th century. Under the Umayyads, the city became a centre of Islamic learning (a madrassah and a few mosques have been excavated).
Founded during the eighth-century Umayyad caliphate, the city of Anjar was an inland trading centre at the crossroads of two important routes: one connecting the Mediterranean coast with the Syrian interior, and the other linking northern Syria with northern Palestine. Archaeologists only discovered the site at the end of the 1940s when excavations uncovered a fortified city covering an area of some 114,000 square metres and surrounded by two-metre-thick walls.
Two main 20-metre-wide streets, a north-south axis (cardo maximus) and an east-west axis (decumanus maximus), divide the city into four equal quarters, with private and public buildings laid out according to a strict plan: the partially rebuilt Grand Palace with its central courtyard surrounded by a peristyle, the Small Palace with its numerous ornamental fragments and its richly decorated central entrance, and a mosque located between the two palaces, as well as small harems and baths. The ruins are dominated by a monumental Tetrapylon, a structure consisting of four columns which stands at the crossroads of the two main streets. These structures incorporate decorative or architectural elements of the Roman era.
Anjar is one of five cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Lebanon.