Iram Of The Pillars
"Have you heard of the city of Irem?" asks the taxi driver.
"Indeed I have," says Salim. "The Lost City of Towers" (…)
"It was a good city," says the taxi driver.
"On most nights there would be
three, maybe four thousand people camped there:
every traveler would rest at Irem,
and the music would play, and the wine would flow like water
and the water would flow as well, which was why the city existed.
"That is what I have heard," says Salim.
"And it perished, what, a thousand years ago? Two thousand?"
The taxi driver says nothing.
-from American Gods, by Neil Gaiman (mis-quoted)

Nature: Ancient magical city spoken of in myth and legend
Also known as: Irem, Aram, Irum, Erum, Ubar, the City of a Thousand Pillars, City of Towers
First Encountered: 5.4 "Grapes of Sorrow"
Soundtrack: Braille - Regina Spektor


According to Islamic beliefs, King Shaddad of Iram defied the warnings of the prophet Hud and God smote the city, driving it into the sands, never to be seen again. In the Qur'an, which claims this was 1'400 years ago, it's said that Iram of the Pillars was a city of occult worshipers of stone idols, and when they defied the dire warnings given by the prophet, a mighty drought was sent by God as punishment. But the people would not repent, so they were destroyed by a furious wind, from which only Hud and a few believers emerged.

From the Qur'an, book of ''The Dawn'', chapter 89, verses 6 to 14:

"Seest thou not how thy Lord dealt with the ‘Ad (people); of the (city of) Iram, with lofty pillars; the like of which were not produced in (all) the land? And with the Thamud (people), who cut out (huge) rocks in the valley? And with Pharaoh, Lord/owner of the Stakes? All these transgressed Beyond bounds in the lands. And increased therein the corruption. Therefore did thy Lord pour on them a scourge of diverse chastisement: For thy Lord is as a guardian on a watch-tower.’'

Iram became known to Western literature with the translation of The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, where the story of Shaddad, king of Iram, is found in the 277th through 279th nights. It tells of how brothers Shadīd and Shaddād reigned in turn over the 1,000 Adite tribes, each consisting of several thousands of men., and how it's said they subdued all Arabia and Iraq. Later on, T. E. Lawrence (''Lawrence of arabia'') was so interested he named it ''the Atlantis of the Sands''

I met a traveller from an antique land
who said:—Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
and wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
tell that its sculptor well those passions read
which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
the hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
the lone and level sands stretch far away.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley

But Iram was non-existent as far as historians were concerned. until the December 1978 edition of the National Geographic Magazine recorded that in 1973 the city of Ebla was excavated in Syria. The city was discovered to be 4,300 years old. Researchers found in the library of Ebla a record of all of the cities with which Ebla had done business, and on the list was the specific name of the city of "Iram". The people of Ebla had apparently done business with the people of that mythic place.

The ruins of the city are said to lie buried somewhere in the sands of the Rub' al-Khali desert, ''the Empty Quarter'' of the arabian peninsula. This is one of the largest sand deserts in the world, encompassing most of the southern third of the peninsula. This includes most of Saudi Arabia and areas of Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, and the region's classification is "hyper-arid".

Desertification has increased through the millennia, turning the region more and more inimical to life. Before this desertification made the caravan trails leading across the Rub' al Khali so difficult the caravans of the frankincense trade crossed now virtually impassable stretches of wasteland, until about the year 300 AD. Even sleeper historians have suggested that Ubar, or Iram, depended on such trade. The traces of camel tracks, unidentifiable on the ground, appear in satellite images.



-Jibril al-Ifriti:



-Was found to be hidden away in a pocket of folded space within the spirit-world, veiled from sight.
-Accessed through an old and little used ''emergency pathway'' found in the Alahan monastery
-Was carved out of the cliffs and mountains in some vast desert, but due to space, hard to pin-point
-Once city burrowed to surface & crossed over into Material World, was in southern end of Rub'al Khali, somewhere between Oman and Yemen.



City Map


Main Hall Pillars
(To city map)


The Amfi
(To city map)


The Gardens
(To city map)


(To city map)


The Throne Room
(To city map)


The Inner Library
(To city map)


The Inner Chamber
(To city map)


The Treasury
(To city map)



- Clockwork Eunuch
- The Librarian
- Nephilim
- Nemesis
- C'Desith
- Somnium Draconis





See Also

- Map of the region
- The Tales of Iram
- Cuneiform tablet
- Children of Danu
- The Daughters

Back to list of Locations

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