Bam is a garden city in Kerman Province, Iran.
The modern Iranian city of Bam surrounds the Bam citadel.
The ancient citadel of Arg-é Bam has a history dating back around 2,000 years ago, to the Parthian Empire (248 BC–224 AD), but most buildings were built during the Safavid dynasty. The city was largely abandoned due to an Afghan invasion in 1722. Subsequently, after the city had gradually been re-settled, it was abandoned a second time due to an attack by invaders from Shiraz. It was also used for a time as an army barracks.
There is no precise archaeological dating of the buildings of the Citadel of Bam. But through historic sources and ancient texts, the first human settlement in the area can be traced back to the fort built by the Achaemenians around 579–323 BC. Some of the citadel’s features such as its establishment on a platform combining a natural hilltop and a manmade terrace have been compared by archaeologists to the Achaemenian model of Persepolis. During the Parthian rule, the fort was expanded and became Arg-e-Bam, the Citadel of Bam. A comparative study titled “Bam and a Brief History of Urban Settlement and Planning in Iran” concluded that the essential core of the city of Bam and the Governor’s section were built during the Parthian era. Under the Sassanids, the castle was seized by Ardeshir Babakan. New fortifications and walls were constructed between 224 and 637 AD.
The citadel consists of four main sections: a residential zone, the stables, the army barracks and the governor’s residence.
Arg-e-Bam had 38 watchtowers, four entrance gates and the outer defense wall is surrounded by a moat. The Government Quarters are on a rocky hill, protected by a double fortification wall. The most notable structures are the bazaar, the Congregational Mosque, the Mirza Na’im ensemble and the Mir House.
On December 26, 2003 at 5:26 AM local time, Bam was struck by a major earthquake. This was noted on the various sites where buildings which were mostly ruined had their main axis-oriented North-South (Arg-e-Bam, Bam and the villages on the East of Bam).