Dara City

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Dara city founded by Arsaces I [Debevoise, using a now obsolete genealogy, says Tiridates I] on Mount Apaortenon, an almost impregnable position.


Jat Gotras Namesake


The site has been varously identified as the oasis of Attek east of the "Achal-Tekke", as probably near Abivard in Apavarktikene", as Kala Maran, as perhaps Kelat, and as near Kelat-i-Nadiri.

Victor Chapot in La frontiere de l'Euphrate de Pompee a la conqete arab, p. 315 and n. 1, confuses the Dara of Tiridates with the Dara founded by Anastasius near Nisibis about 504 A.D. (see Debevoise, p. 15, n. 62 for more detail on these confusions). M. E.

Masson identifies the town of Dara in Justin with modern Abivard.


Abiward or Abi-ward, was an ancient Sassanid city in modern-day Turkmenistan. Archaeological excavations at the ancient city of Abiward have been made in the last century about 8 km west of Kaka (Russian: Каахка) in an area of 12,000 m2. The central tell is 60 feet high and 700 feet round.[1]

Mention by Pliny

Pliny[2] mentions 'Nations situated around the Hyrcanian Sea'....Lying to the east of the Caspii is the region known as Apavortene,1 in which there is a place noted for its singular fertility, called Dareium.2

1 By some writers called Apavareticene, in the south-eastern part of Parthia. Ansart says that it is now known as Asterabad and Ghilan.

2 Or Dara. A strongly fortified place, built by Arsaces I., and situate on the mountains of the Zapaorteni.


  1. M. Th. Houtsma (1993). E.J. Brill's first encyclopaedia of Islam 1913-1936. BRILL. p. 37. ISBN 90-04-09796-1.
  2. Natural History by Pliny Book VI/Chapter 18