Iran / Cities and Towns /
Town in southeastern Iran with 50,000 inhabitants (2003 estimate) north of the Jebal Barez Mountains.
The now ruined old city of Bam, Iran.
Virtually all of the economy of Bam is based on the production and export of dates, claimed to be the best in the entire Middle East. Bam is connected by road and rail with Kerman, 200 km west and Zahedan, 250 km east.
Bam's main attraction was until 2003 the old city of Bam, a well preserved ruined city dating 1,700 years back in time. The majority of the surviving structures were more recent, dating back to Safavid times (16th- 18th centuries). Arg-e-Bam had at its height between 9,000 and 13,000 inhabitants, and was both a trading centre on the Silk road, and a city of great religious importance to the Zoroastrians due to its ancient fire temple.
The main part of the ruins was the citadel, the Arg-e-Bam, built from mud-brick.
3rd century: Founded by Sassanian rulers, and soon becomes an important Zoroastian cult centre.
16th century: Comes under control of Safavid rulers, who starts a great programme of constructions in the town.
1722: Is attacked by Afghans, who take control over the area, hence reducing Bam's economic importance.
1810: Attacked by invaders from the Shiraz region.
1932: Old Bam is abandoned completely, with all inhabitants living in new quarters.
1953: Restoration works start in old Bam.
2003 December 26: Earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale kills about 30,000 of Bam's inhabitants, and destroys most of the historical centre of the town.