Tag Archives: The Red Snake

A Brief History of Some Walls: The Great Wall of Gorgan

The Great Wall of Gorgan

For our exciting journey on A Brief History of Some Walls in History, this week we dig through the lands of ancient Persia, acquainting our shovels and brushes with the enigma of The Great Wall of Gorgan.

Excavation site at Qareh Deeb. [Source: http://www.heritageinstitute.com]

Divar-e Gorgan better known as The Great Wall of Gorgan is a massive structure in north-eastern Persian [modern-day Iran] which borders present day Turkmenistan. The wall is also known as The Red Snake because of the red brick used during construction. It snakes 195 kilometres west to east from the foot of the Elburz Mountains to the Caspian Sea. Today, marine sediments cover much of the westernmost section of the wall because of higher sea levels. The studies conducted on the wall show the refined engineering capabilities of the Sasanians architects. The Edinburgh Research Explorer Team in 2006 makes an interesting point that, the Gorgan Wall differs from other walls. It does not follow the rise and fall of the terrain rather it tries to keep up a gentle gradient like the flow of a canal.

Although The Great Wall of Gorgan is more than 1,000 years older than The Great Wall of China and longer than The Hadrian Wall and Antoine Wall joined, the Gorgan Wall is one of the most obscure walls of ancient history. Compared to other walls both younger and smaller, the expeditions are fewer – the first tour by Dr. Kiani in 1971. The next documented excursion to the wall was in the 1999, followed by excavations from 2005-2008. Recent archaeological studies show that The Great Wall of Gorgan borders or probably joined The Tammishe Wall near the Caspian Sea. It is important to highlight archaeologists’ on-going research of probable connection between the western section of The Great Wall of Gorgan and The Tammishe Wall. The arrangement of the brick kilns on each wall edifice, brick size, the location of the forts and the direction of canals show that both structure may share a common tradition. Are they part of the separate monuments or separate two parts of one wall?

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