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Ewan Khosrau from Ctesiphon to Al-Madaen

History of Ctesiphon and its meaning

Ctesiphon known in Greek language (Κτησιφῶν)  in Aramaic language ((ܩܛܝܣܦܘܢ, in Arabic language (طيسفون) and in Persian (تيسفون) " That is, the white city, due to the love of the Persians for the white color, which is the color of the fire that they revere in their Magian religion.
Ctesiphon city refering to inside the yellow hole

In the year (126 BC: AD), when the Parthians wrested Iraq from the Seleucids, Ctesiphon developed from a village into a walled city, attracting a large number of residents, thanks to its richness and the impregnability of its walls, So the Parthians took it, after merging it with Seleucia, as a camp for their armies, and as a comfortable residence for their kings, so it became their winter capital.

 In the year (116 AD) the Roman Emperor (Trajan) attacke Ctesiphon and seized it, but the Parthians recovered it and attacked the Roman army on its way back.
Roman Emperor Trajan

In the year (166 AD) the Roman Emperor (Marcus Aurelius) sent an army to invade Ctesiphon, but he failed to occupy it, then the Roman Emperor (Caracalla) besieged it during the reign of the Parthian king (Ulgash the 5th), killing many of its inhabitants after luring them outside its walls.
two Roman emperors Caracalla and Marcus Aurelius

In the year (226 AD) the Sassanids made Ctesiphon the capital of their state, Among the incidents during the era of the Sassanids, Ctesiphon during the reign of Shapur the 1st was subjected to two raids, where the Palmyrene army under the leadership of (Al-Zabaa) carried out these two raids in the years (270 AD) and (272 AD), while the Roman Emperor (Julian) failed during the reign of (Sapur the 2nd) in his attempt to seize it, and he was killed during his withdrawal in the year (226 AD) the Sassanids made Ctesiphon the capital of their state, among the incidents during the era of the Sapur Sassanids, Ctesiphon during the reign of Shapur the 1st was subjected to two raids.
Persian Emperor Sapur 2nd
, Where the Palmyrene army under the leadership of (Al-Zabaa) carried out these two raids in the years (270 AD) and (272 AD), While the Roman Emperor (Julian) failed during the reign of (Sapur the 2nd) in his attempt to seize it, and he was killed during his withdrawal

Persiam emperor Yazdegerd 3rd
With the spread of Christianity in Mesopotamia in the 1st century AD, Ctesiphon, in which Nestorian Christian churches spread throughout, became the capital of the Christian reference of Mesopotamia and the seat of their supreme authority (the Catholicos), this church is known as (the Church of Babylon) or (the Church of Persia)

In the Islamic era from Ctesiphon to Almadaen

In the year (637 AD), the Muslims, after their victory in the Battle of Al-Qadisiyah, managed to cross the Tigris River and enter Ctesiphon, from which the last Sasanian Emperor (Yazdegerd the 3rd) withdrew with his army.

 Before that, and with the birth of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad  a crack occurred in one of the walls of the palace, the impact of which is still present today. 

this crack occured with the birth of Muhammed
 The Muslims gave Ctesiphon and its surrounding suburbs the name Al-Madaen, which is an Aramaic name that means (several cities), as it consists of (7) cities, between each city a close distance, the Muslims made Al-Madain the headquarters of their armies, from which it sent sub-campaigns to the northern, southern and eastern regions of Iraq.

It is now located in the Al-Madaen region in Wasit Governorate, between the city of Kut and the city of Baghdad.

Ewan Khosra 

Among the most prominent features of al-Madain are the remains of the royal palace of the Sasanian king (Khosrau the 1st "Anushirwan"), which he built in the year (540 AD)
Khosrau Anushirawn statue

Tāq Kasrā (Arabic: طاق كسرى, romanizedṭāq kisrā), also transcribed as Taq-i Kisra or Taq-e Kesra (Persian: طاق کسری, romanized: tâğe kasrâ) or Ayvān-e Kesrā (Persian: ایوان خسرو, romanizedEivâne Xosrow, meaning Iwan of Chosroes).

Description of the Ewan

It is an arch standing out from the main Iwan of the royal palace (the White Palace), and this arch is tied with bricks without the use of supports, concrete or steel,   and it is the widest arch of its kind in the world.
The arch that represents the main gate of the palace

 The width of this arch exceeds (25 m), while the height of its highest point above the level of the brick paved floor is approximately (50 m), with the arch the right wing of the façade still standing after the left wing was demolished.

an image of Ewan (palace) Khosrou

     The case of the collapse of the left wing was recorded by the Iraqi historian Jacob Sarkis, and he mentioned that it occurred in April 1885 due to the flooding of the Tigris River and heavy rains and storms, and pillars were placed to support the left side.

the Iraqi historian Jacob Sekis

The arch forms the main gate of the Ewan, and after it a large hall containing the place of the Kasrawi throne - which is expected to be under or behind the arch - was more than 30 meters high, 24 meters wide and 84 meters long.
an imaginary picture  for the Persian throne

this hall for advisors meeting

and the hall meeting of his advisors This great hall is roofed with bricks without pillars.

the ceilling roofed by bricks without pillars

and between the main gate and the great hall of the throne there are two small rooms on the right and left sides that may have been a place for the guard of honor.
the sub-gate of the second inner room

and there are two sub-gates in the right and left wing of these two room.


the sub-gate of the second inner room


The palace is considered a historical sign of luxury and greatness for that Persian Empire, which was competing with the Byzantine Empire in controlling the world and dividing zones of influence.
wall paintings depicting Antioch battle
The palace's mosaics and inscriptions inlaid with gold and precious stones, its silk curtains, its precious carpets, and the writing on the wall in the Pahlavi and Persian languages.
A statue adorns one of the walls

In 1888, it was subjected to floods  from the Tigris River, which led to the disappearance of many parts of it, and excavations have not revealed those parts to this day.

this crack resulting the floods of 1888


An image for the Ewan before the floods in 1888

The reason for preserving this Ewan until now is attributed to the Muslims they took it as a mosque after entering the city, in which a number of companions settled, including the companion (Salman Al-Farsi), who became the ruler of it until he died and was buried there in the year (638 AD). (Salman Al-Taher) relative to his shrine.


This heritage site is one of the most prominent remains of the heritage and civilization on the land of Mesopotamia.

The Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein began restoration efforts in the 1980's CE as part of their policy to rebuild ancient sites  in honor of the past and to attract tourism to the country but these efforts were stopped by the Persian Gulf War of 1991 CE. Restoration efforts were not continued until c. 2004 CE which resulted in the reconstruction and stabilization of the northern section of the palace and Taq Khosrau. 

A Czech company by the name of Avers was contracted to restore the site and completed their work in 2017 CE but, two years later, their work collapsed, damaging Taq Khosrau  further.

The antiquities  of the covered Ewan still retain its splendor, as well as the cleft wall, the Department of Antiquities in Iraq maintains and takes care of the building.

  The Ewan is considered an aim for people to know the past, and it is almost devoid of tourists throughout the year because it contains antiquities that embody and symbolize the history of Iraq.




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