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  • The first time we drove to my husband's home town of Dezful in southwestern Iran we drove across an old bridge which spanned the Dez River to get into town. Wow, this bridge looks ancient, I said. "It is", said my husband, "I think it was built by Romans".

    I laughed. How was that possible? Surely we couldn't be driving on a bridge built by Romans. Wouldn't there be an historical society protecting it, plaques describing its antiquity, tourists gawking? Surely there wouldn't be big trucks and all other manner of traffic rumbling across a bridge that old.

    I was wrong. Upon researching, I found out the bridge was built by Roman prisoners captured by Shapur I, the second Sassanid King of the Persian Empire around 240 AD. One of his greatest achievements was defeating the Roman Emperor Valerian and the prisoners were taken in that campaign. There are, I later found out, numerous other bridges and structures in southern Iran built by the Romans. The Dezful bridge is still in use today as far as I know.

    Boy, those Romans. They built things to last.

    (picture of Dezful Bridge by Mohammad Azarkish
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