Tang-e Chogan (Kazerun, Fars, Iran)

The Sassanid Newspaper Rock
Tang chogan feature image - Tang-e Chogan (Kazerun, Fars, Iran)
5 Dec

Tang-e Chogan (Kazerun, Fars, Iran)

Newspapers have come in multiple forms, including paper and digital. Yet another form that you might not be familiar with is the ROCK form. Yes, you heard it right! The Sassanid ancient Persian dynasty (224 to 651 AD), like their ancestors, carved their honors and victories on the face of a towering rock in Tang-e Chogan gorge, a UNESCO heritage site, located about 145 km west of Shiraz. Interested in the content of the newspaper? Join me for a Diary Tour.

Chogan Strait 01 - Tang-e Chogan (Kazerun, Fars, Iran)

Tang-e Chogan Gorge

Why visit Tang-e Chogan

  • Tang-e Chogan is a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Glamorous reliefs exhibit victory scenes of Sassanid kings.
  • It features diaries of the ancient Sassanid Kings.
  • The towering Tange Chogan gorge mountains are stunning.
  • The panoramic view of the fertile Tange Chogan gorge is amazing.
  • The emerald water of the Shapur river, running along the bottom of the gorge, is truly refreshing.

What Is In the Name “Tang-e Chogan”?

The picturesque landscape of Tang-e Chogan with its amazing view yielded a great spot for polo games, the popular ancient Iranian sport. Back then, the Sassanid kings enjoyed and played polo games on horseback on the green fields of the gorge. The word Chogan in Persian means polo. Additionally, the word Tange means gorge. Case solved! Tang-e Chogan refers to a gorge, where people played Chogan.

Motives for the Motifs

The Sassanid kings were proud of their achievements and wished to show off their splendor. They engraved their glorious victories over their Roman and Arab rivals. To prove their divine power, the Sassanid kings also carved their splendid investiture scenes on the face of the mountains in the gorge. Tang-e Chogan reliefs were inscribed in the list of Iran’s national heritage in 1931. Fortunately, they are shining internationally on the UNESCO heritage sites list. Thus, our Sassanid ancestors must be proud of their universal fame in the 21st century.

Tang-e Chogan Unique Rock Reliefs

The Sassanid kings put their grandeur on display in multiple places in Iran. Above all, the Tange Chogan reliefs were unique in that they were larger and more crowded compared to the other surviving Sassanid reliefs. In fact, out of six reliefs arranged orderly on both sides of the Shapur river, three measure over 30 square meters in size with over thirty people carved on them.

The relief I: Celebration of Shapur I’s Victory over the Roman Empire

The first relief you encounter on the left side of the Shapur river depicts the triumph celebration scene of King Shapur I, held for his victory over the Roman Empire. Actually, this carving is the largest and the most crowded relief carved in the Tange Chogan gorge. In this scene, Shapur I is sitting on horseback while Emperor Philip the Arab is kneeling before him, asking for mercy and Gordian III is dead at the feet of Shapur’s horse. Furthermore, a standing man, seized by the hand by Shapur, is the Roman Emperor Valerian, who was taken captive by Shapur in 260 AD.  Moreover, The Persian army and veterans are standing behind the king in five rows. On the other hand, the Roman officials are standing in front of the king, carrying their offerings and gifts. You can see total of 115 figures on the relief, which is extraordinary.

Relief II: Victory of King Bahram II over Arabs

The second relief in Tang-e Chogan features the victory of King Bahram II over the Arabs. On the left of the relief you can see King Bahram II, sitting on horseback. The Arabs, on the other hand, are following a Persian officer to offer camels and horses to the Persian king.

Relief III: Investiture of King Bahram I

The third relief in Tang-e Chogan features the investiture scene of king Bahram I. In this well preserved relief, Ahuramazda, the great Zoroastrian God, is granting the Ring of Power to the Sassanid king. Thus, through the investiture ceremony, the god recognized the king’s authority.

Relief IV: Victory of King Shapur II Over the Rebels

Behold the king Shapur II as he is sitting gloriously on his throne in the center of the fourth motif in Tang-e Chogan… The Persian commanders and soldiers are standing on the right side. Moreover, the rebels are carved on the left side of the king.

Relief V: Shapur’s Victory Over the Roman Empire

The most intact relief, which is engraved on the opposite side of the river, depicts Shapur’s victory over the Roman empire.

A rock face relief of Shapur I over the Roman Emperor Valerian - Tang-e Chogan (Kazerun, Fars, Iran)

Shapur’s Victory Over Roman Empire – Tange Chogan

Relief VI: Shapur I’s Investiture and Victory Over The Roman Empire

Contrary to its neighboring carving, this relief is not in good condition. This carving depicts the combination of two glorious scenes of Shapur I’s investiture and victory over the Roman empire.

Boy’s Castle

The ruins of a Castle sit in dignity on the top of the northeastern hill. The castle must have been responsible for monitoring and protecting the city.

Shapur Cave

Craving for a hike? Although climbing up the mountain to the Shapur cave is not a very easy task, it is absolutely worth it. I really recommend it! As you reach the mountain after a one-hour hike, a colossal seven-meter-high statue of King Shapur I welcomes you with his glory. I believe this is going to be a memorable experience for you.

shapur cave - Tang-e Chogan (Kazerun, Fars, Iran)

Shapur Cave – Tange Chogan

More about Tange Chogan

The Best Time to visit

All year round. However, I suggest early spring.

Attractions Near Tang-e Chogan

In addition to another historical attraction, that is, the Ancient City of Bishapur, you will have the option to enjoy the fascinating nature near Tang-e Chogan. Parishan Lake, Davan Village, Daffodil fields as well as Kalani Cypress are some examples.

Where to Eat Near Tang-e Chogan

Toranj Restaurant and Takeaway

Boof Restaurant and Takeaway

Soor Restaurant and Fastfood

Soorena Restaurant and Takeaway

Like to visit Tang-e Chogan?

Then book a place on our 16-day Deep into the Heart of Persia tour or our one-day Bishapur Complex excursion tour.

Tang-e Chogan Tours

On this 2-day Shiraz to Ahvaz road travel, discover attractions of Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars (UNESCO): Bishapur & Tang-e Chogan.
2 Days
Dig deeper into Persian history with a 1-day exploration through two of the magnets of the Sassanid ...
1 Day
Tehran ➜ Hamedan ➜ Kermanshah ➜ Ahvaz ➜ Shiraz ➜ Yazd ➜ Isfahan ➜ Kashan ➜ Tehran
16 Days

Tang-e Chowgan on Map

Zahra Soltani
Content Manager, International Relations Manager

To Zahra, introducing the beauties of Iran is a delight and an inherent mission! Beyond that, arts, culture, literature, mythology, and all the astonishing secrets of our marvelous universe set her soul on fire! This is what makes Zahra a filmophile, an insatiable reader, and a passionate writer.

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