A gateway represents a point of transition, a beginning and an end. The picture above shows the great Gate to Shiraz, a reconstruction of the Sassanid original. We know that a similar impressive gateway stood at the Southern end of Chahar Bagh, but today nothing remains of it. This gateway thus marked the start of a journey from Shiraz to Isfahan and the end of one in the other direction. The word bab is used to signify either a gateway to a city or the start of a chapter since both convey an underlying sense of transition.
The city can also be viewed as a body and the gateways that lead in and out of it are thus likened to its orifices; the splendour of the gateway tells us something of its antecedents and wealth, while the watch-
towers set high above or on either side of it are the eyes and ears.
Last Updated November 27, 1998