عنوان مقاله [English]
Investigating the first signs of political, economic, and cultural exchanges in the world should be explained. Iranian people played major role in communication routes, especially in the Iranian Plateau during emerging prehistoric periods, as link of Orient and Occident. Excavated sites in Iranian Plateau, Afghanistan, and central Asia lying at the border of the main modern routes and tracks, show that the earliest residents of these sites lived exactly along the tracks replaced nowadays by modern routes and used them to link different places (Majidzadeh, 1982: 59). One of the most important historic main routes was the so-called “Great Khorasan Road” which played a major role linking together different cultures and civilizations. Pataq Defile is one of the key parts of the Great Khorasan Road linking Khorasan and Mesopotamia. In this present paper, the authors develop archaeological and historical studies about one of the most important sections of Great Khorasan Road known as Pataq defile, Median Gate, or Zagros Gate. Indeed, mentions of the Pataq defile in historic sources indicate firm correspondences with “Median Gate” or “Zagros Gate” geographical term. Studying the historic and archaeological sources, the authors identified the real significance of the defile. By several surveys and through investigation in historical sources including the travel logs, we were able to give more details on the defile, leading to a better understanding of historical changes through aerial photographs and GIS analysis.
Keywords: Median Gate, Zagros Gate, Aqabeh-e-Holvan, Pataq Defile, Taq-i-Garra, Zeidj-e-Manizheh.
Holwan or modern Sar-i-Pol Zahab is a strategic region or city that reported in various logs and historic sources as frontier of Iranian Plateau and Iraqi lowlands (the authors). In 1878, E. Schrader suggested that the name Halman (with its variant Arman), occurring in the cuneiform inscriptions, was to be identified with the modern Holwan near Sar-i-Pul-i-Zuhab on the Great Khorasan Road. This identification was accepted by F. Delitzsch in his important work on Babylonian geography, Wo Lag das Paradies, and has been used as one of the few virtually undisputed locations in the reconstruction of the historical geography of the Zagros. Billerbeck concurred with the identification, and Olmstead went further still and changed the reading “Halman” at the end of Shalmanser’s 828 B.c. campaign to “Hashmar”, because his reconstruction of the route of the campaign put the Assyrians too far north to terminate their march near Sar-i-Pul.
Considering fieldwork and historic sources, one can say that Pataq Defile is the same Median or Zagros Gates of classic historians. There are evidences from passengers’ traffic at Pataq Defile. Heavy traffic and strategic position of the Defile made the importance of the spot for a monument as Garra Arch. Thorough look at Pataq Defile and Median Gate lead us to better understanding of application of Garra Arch, which is unknown and should be discussed in another place. Traffic at different periods at the defile caused, considering available equipment, alterations and new paths at the area of the Defile. In present paper, it is attempted to use remains and historic sources to thorough recognition of ancient roads and their probable age. There were recognized three paths at Pataq Defile. Now we involve in conclusions of spatial and temporal area of each.
Path 1: it is compared to pre-Islamic to Safavid road. Evidences of pavement (stone blocks), hand dug path, foundation and so on, imply the significance and activities for ultra-regional road. Western and Islamic historians indicate the significance of the region as borderline. As the evidences imply connections between Garra Arch and the road, it is probable that the arch is a structure in relation to road, traffic, or a borderline of to land.
Path 2: as conclusion, considering Flandin’s scheme, there is a caravan passing in front of the arch. As mentioned earlier, remained evidences indicate pre-Islamic and even Islamic road (before Flandin) passes from lower part of the arch. On the other word, no one used lower road of Garra Arch (parts IV, V, VI, and VII) at this time, however, there is not enough information on the other parts of the Defile before Qajar period. According King Nasir al Din’ descriptions that comes later at path III, one can say that Gasteiger, an Austrian engineer, constructed the road in front of the arch for the king to travel to ‘Atabaat.
Path 3: it is not seen in aerial photos of geographical Organization of armed Forces at 1956, however it is obvious Corona’s photos of 1969. Considering photos of Jalili Kirmanshahi and Golzari, and Kleiss’s documentation one can conclude that the road constructed between 1956 and 1965 at Pahlavi II’s reign.
Finally, there are millennia’s efforts of Iranian people at Pataq Defile of constructing road in order to political, economic, and cultural exchanges between east and west.