Shushtar is Located in Iran’s Khuzestan Province. Khuzestan Province was one of the most favorite destinations in southern Iran. Khuzestan is the land of sun, ancient civilizations, oil, palm trees, and dates.

Shushtar, the city which some say has 7,000 years of history and is home to a Historical Hydraulic System that has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some even say the story of Shushtar goes back to the time of the legendary warrior king, Houshang the Demon Slayer, who according to legend defeated the Black Demon of Shahnameh, Ferdowsi’s Book of Kings, to become the ruler of the world. Houshang is said to have built Shushtar as a beautiful city but it fell into ruin and was rebuilt by the Sassanids.
The Historical Hydraulic System of Shushtar – a network of watermills, weir bridges, dams, water channels, rivers, and moats along with a castle that controlled the flow of the operation. The oldest part of the Hydraulic System is a manmade river built by the Achaemenids (550-330 BC) named Gargar Channel.

Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System
The main attraction of any trip to Shushtar has to be the UNESCO listed Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System. With a history dating back to the 5th century BC, this system involved the creation of two diversion canals to supply the town of Shushtar with water to power the historic mills.
Producing a rather photogenic environment of water cascading over cliffs, the site is best visited in the mid-day sun when shadows are at a minimum, or after dark when the entire site is lite up by well-placed floodlights.


Shushtar Historical Bazaar
The Shushtar Bazaar might not have the grand architectural details of Tabriz or the scale of Tehran but is a beautiful example of daily Iranian life of display as most of the sellers here are pedaling meat, spices and fresh prices instead of trinkets and rugs.
Tourists are not a common site here so expect plenty of people wanting to have their photo taken and proudly showing you their fresh fish, prime vegetables or pickled artichoke. Small town living at it’s best!

Winding Streets of Shushtar
Chaotic and crazy, there is no better way to get to know Shushtar than wandering it’s historic old streets. These days cars somehow manage to expertly navigate its laneways but for the most part, you will only find silence and beautiful crumbling bridging that is still somehow inhabited. Take your time, get lost and admire the streets of a city that have barely changed in a thousand years.

Pol-e ( Bridge) Shadorvan
In the past strategically connecting two-part of Shushtar and functioning as a dam to direct water to the all-important mill sites, the Pol-e (Bridge) Shadorvan is said to be one of the oldest bridges in the world. Today it stands in ruins but you can freely wander around and admire the grand architecture that has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.

Tchogha Zanbil
Located in a barren, forgotten corner of Iran just one hour from Shushtar – the Tchogha Zanbil is probably the most under-rated ruin in Iran, dating back to 1250 BC. Once a much revered holy town, the city was destroyed before it was even finished and hidden here for centuries until it was rediscovered in the early 20th century. The monolithic structure which rises out of the desert sands will send a tingle down your spine, and rightly so – there are not many places in the world as perfectly preserved and with such a fascinating history. Tchogha Zanbil is one place you should not miss if you’re trying to see Iran off the beaten track!






Susa UNESCO Site and Daniel’s Shrine
A great day trip from Shushtar is the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Susa, the remains of some of the oldest urban settlements in Iran dating back to the 5th century BC.The Elamite, Persian and Parthian cultures can trace their heritage back here – though sadly the site itself is a tad underwhelming with only small walls remaining to help you imagine what it once looked it. The on-site museum, however, is terrific, as are the desert foxes that wander around the ruins in the afternoon.Nearby don’t miss Daniel’s Shrine, the final resting place Daniel of ‘Daniel and the Lion’s Den’ fame – a beautiful small but busy shrine surrounded by vibrant markets.

Shushtar Craft Market
The Shushtar Craft Market is housed in the Afzal Caravanserai built during the Qajar era for the housing of corn. Today it has been repurposed and you can find many fine examples of the handicrafts Shushtar is famous for including textiles, waving, prayer-carpets, traditional jewelry, and pottery. Don’t forget to explore the underground passage-way to your right as you enter which are a real unexpected treat.

The Bakhtiari Nomadic People
One of the oldest ethnic groups in Iran, the Bakhtiari people descend directly from the original Persian Emperor, Cyprus the Great. Most today have now moved to cities, but a few around Shushtar still rely on substance living and trading, largely from the sale of goats. Every winter they bring their goats down from the high mountains and encamp on the out-skirts of Shushtar – and with the right connection, you can join then, drink tea, play with their goats and learn about their ancient and mysterious ways.

Karun River Boat Trip
Not in any guidebook but you can take a beautiful day trip on the Karun River by boat to see more of the stunning historical sites of Shushtar by the river, ending in a remote watering hole when you can go swimming, explore the surrounding area and have a traditional Iranian BBQ.

Shushtar Central Mosque
Also known as the Jameh Mosque of Shushtar, this mosque is one of the most important and old mosques in Iran. Built during the Abbasid Caliphate (the third of the Islamic caliphates to succeed the Islamic prophet Muhammad) under Mohammad Ibn Jaffar Motavakel, it took over 191 years to build! Currently undergoing an extensive renovation, you still enter for free and take a look at the intricate carving and stonework on display here.

Khan Garden
A beautiful garden walk filled with tall palm trees where you can find peace and solitude. Located along the edge of the Gargar canal just downstream of the Shushtar historical hydraulic system, which is one of the largest man-made watercourses in Iran and the world. This is a great free activity in Shushtar – though it can feel like a bit of an adventure in the winter months when the ground gets muddy!


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