Shushtar is an ancient city in Khuzestan Province, about 90km. away from the provincial capital, Ahvaz.
Much of its past agricultural productivity derives from the irrigation system which centred on the Band-e Kaisar, the first dam bridge in Iran.
In the Elamite times, Shushtar was known as Adamdun. In the Achaemenian times, its name was Šurkutir. The modern name, Shushtar, is connected with the name of another ancient city, Susa (or Shush, in Persian pronunciation), and means “greater (or better) than Shush.”
During the Sassanian era, it was an island city on the Karun river and selected to become the summer capital. The river was channelled to form a moat around the city, while bridges and main gates into Shushtar were built to the east, west, and south. Several rivers nearby are conducive to the extension of agriculture; the cultivation of sugar cane, the main crop, dates back to 226 CE. A system of subterranean channels called Qanats, which connected the river to the private reservoirs of houses and buildings, supplied water for domestic use and irrigation, as well as to store and supply water during times of war when the main gates were closed. Traces of these qanats can still be found in the crypts of some houses.
Ibn Battuta visited, noting “On both banks of the river, there are orchards and water-wheels, the river itself is deep and over it, leading to the travellers’ gate, there is a bridge upon boats.”
The ancient fortress walls were destroyed at the end of the Safavid era.