Located along the Silk Road which is connected to the coast of the Persian Gulf, lies the ancient city of Bam, not too far from Kerman. Founded centuries ago, it flourished in the tenth century when it became a vibrant city. Bam was a significant location for Persian economy and trade, out of which luxurious textiles and clothing came and were brought to the rest of the world, cotton and silk in particular.
The area of the ancient city is 180,000 square meters surrounded by a wall spanning 1815 meters in length. Two large towers are located within the city walls, known as "Bidar-Bash" towers, and are a spectacular sight There are numerous other towers in the city numbering up to sixty-seven.
The city is located in a desert region on the Southern end of the Iranian high plateau. For its inhabitants, their existence was based on an underground irrigation canal, which has been preserved to this day. The medieval fortified city was built utilizing a vernacular technique, using only mud bricks, clay, the trunks of palm trees and straw.
The city suffered two invasions, one by Afghans in 1722 and the other by invaders who headed in from Shiraz in 1810. The city declined severely, only being used as a barracks until 1932 when it was completely abandoned. In 1953 work began on the restoration of the ancient city which continued until 2003, but it was almost destroyed by an earthquake in that same year.
The city is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site which amazes visitors who make their way to its gates each year. As one enters, you are faced with the structures of gymnasiums, bathhouses, mosques, schools, and houses, in the exact positions in which they stood centuries ago. Visitors have claimed to have "a most aspiring adrenaline rush at first sight."
The ancient mud and sandstone buildings still hold their original shape. In maintaining its allure, the city allows one to grasp exactly how these people lived their daily lives. Preserved archways and narrow dirt pathways among the homes, shops, markets, and mosques make it that much more intriguing to visit.