Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sorook Gorge

Amidst the various mountains standing side by side in Kohkiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad province, there is a narrow pass or gorge called Soulak or Sorook (تنگ سروک). It is located 50 kilometers north of Behbahan and dates back to the 2nd or 3rd century. Here are three tall columns of stone, known as the Sorook relic, engraved with figures of men from all walks of life in various poses. Each of these pillars has an archaic epigraph. This relic has been engraved on four sides of the main rock.  

This rock relief was discovered in 1841 by a Russian tourist. Further serious research on it did not occur until the year 1952 where it was determined that it was represented an Elamite prince. All together four rock reliefs were discovered separate from the main Zagros mountain range. The gorge itself has been covered in cobblestone which was probably done at the same time as the carvings.  

In this gorge various engravings similar to that of Rostam can be observed. These can be related to the reigns of Bahram Sassanide II, Bahram Sassanide III, Hormoz II and Shapur II. In all these engravings, warriors are on horses and the only weapons in use are long spears. The conqueror is to the left side of the tablet. The number of engraved figures in the various engravings of the gorge amount to forty. Figures of animals such as horses, lions and birds can also be seen in the embossments. The coronation ceremonies of a few sovereigns have been brought to light in the engravings of the Sorook Gorge and one of these monarchs, as shown, receives his headband from Izad thus this sovereign offers a sacrifice. The most important facet noted in engraving of Sorook Gorge are the human features which are completely different to those of Parthian and Sassanid eras.  

To the northern side of the main engraved rock, there is the engraving of two soldiers with a wide scabbard and a chain and dressed in Parthian outfits. On the eastern side is a figure bent over a bed or bench which is in a ruined condition. On the western side there are three rows of figures; in the first row a man (who is probably a King) is depicted on a bed surrounded by others. The second row shows a rider attacking a lion with some Pahlavi text above it. The bottom row also shows a man (on foot) battling a lion. On the northwest section of the relic is a man in a fire temple. A little further up north is another figure of a man on a horse and even further up is the depiction of a group of people at a fire temple performing religious duties. 

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