Bam is located on the southern edge of the Iranian plateau, in a desert environment. Bam is a city of Kerman province. The origins of Bam can be traced back to the Achaemenid period (6th to 4th centuries BC). The distance from Kerman to Bam 189 km. Its heyday was from the 7th to 11th centuries, being at the crossroads of important trade routes and known for the production of silk and cotton garments. The existence of life in the oasis was based on the underground irrigation canals, the Qantas, of which Bam has preserved some of the earliest evidence in Iran. Arg-e Bam is the most representative example of a fortified medieval town built in vernacular technique using mud layers. The creation and growth of the city was based on the underground irrigation canals, the Qantas of which Bam has preserved some of the earliest evidence in Iran. The archaeological discoveries of ancient Qantas in the south-eastern suburbs of Bam are datable to the beginning of the 2nd century BC.
Arg-e-Bam, the Citadel of Bam is the most representative example of a fortified medieval town built in vernacular technique using mud layers combined with mud bricks (Khesht). The origins of the citadel of Bam, Arg-e Bam, can be traced back to the Achaemenid period (6th to 4th centuries BC) and even beyond. For centuries, Bam had a strategic location on the Silk Roads connecting it to Central Asia in the east, the Persian Gulf in the south, as well as Egypt in the west and it is an example of the interaction of the various influences.
The cultural landscape of Bam is an important representation of the interaction between man and nature and retains a rich resource of ancient canalizations, settlements and forts as landmarks and as a tangible evidence of the evolution of the area. 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.
The modern city of Bam has gradually developed as an agricultural and industrial Centre, until on December 26, 2003, a major earthquake hit Bam, destroying most of the city as well as the archaeological site of Arg-e-Bam. In particular, the city is known for its dates and citrus fruit, irrigated by a substantial network of Qantas. The city also benefited from tourism, with an increasing number of people visiting the ancient citadel in recent years. Arg-e Bam was inscribed on the world heritage list of UNESCO in 2004.
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