Barm-e Dilak, a Testament to Love in Ancient Iran


With some imagination, you will see that Bahram II is giving a flower to his beloved Queen, Shapurdukhtak
With some imagination, you will see that Bahram II is giving a flower to his beloved Queen, Shapurdukhtak

He may have ruled one of the most powerful empires of antiquity, but the Sassanian Emperor Bahram II still had time for love. Apparently he wanted that time to stand still by etching for all eternity into the side of a cliff.

Located roughly 10 kilometers from the modern-day city of Shiraz, Barm-e Dilak is the name of the site that comprises of four reliefs commissioned by the Sassanian King Bahram II. The site in the middle Persian language of Pahlavi was known as Bahram-e Dundalk meaning “Bahram’s heart.”

The first and most famous of the reliefs devices the king offering what seems to be an Iris to a woman believed to be his wife, Shapurdukhtak.

Other than these rock reliefs, Bahram II is also famous for being the Sassanian Emperor to have lost Armenia and large swaths of Mesopotamia to to the Romans. I guess he was more of a lover than a higher.

The Taj Mahal it’s not, but for a second-rate Sassanian king, these carvings are a pretty impressive dedication to his beloved.


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