Iran’s Contribution to the World: Transportation

Spread the facts!

By: Badi Badiozamani

Material presented in this section has been provided to Iran Online by Iranian Cultural Center of Orange County (ICCOC).

The Wheel– Will Durant, in his famous work; “The History of Civilization” states that the wheel was first used for transport in Elam, in Iran.  By about 2,000 B.C. wheeled vehicles were in use from Indian Valley to the Syrian coast.  But Gordon Childe states that in Egypt no wheeled vehicles were in use before 1,600 B.C.

Roads– According to Professor Girshman, Iranians in Achaemenid times had developed a method of road building that consisted of paving the softer parts of the road, and even of making artificial ruts for wheeled vehicles.  The Greek historian, Herodotus, states that the Persian Royal Road anticipated the Roman road by several centuries.

Post and couriers– Herodotus, the Greek historian, attributes the creation of post and couriers to the Achaemenid Persians.  He states:” The entire plan is a Persian innovation.”  In order to facilitate communications within the vast Persian Empire, Post stations were built along all routes to provide rest stations for the caravans and fresh horses for couriers on government business.  Post stations were precisely spaced at intervals equaling one day’s ride connecting the royal road stretching 2000 miles.  Strong, skilled men riding fast, muscular horses carried royal messages as far as 1600 miles in one week.  Herodotus marveled, “Nothing mortal travels so fast as these messengers… They will not be hindered from accomplishing at their best speed the distance which they have to go, either by snow, or rain, or heat or by the darkness of night” This system of communications was unmatched in speed until the telegraph doomed the horse to obsolescence.
*Excerpts from “Iran & America: Rekindling a Love Lost” by Badi Badiozamani