|During the Cold War era, US spy satellites snapped images of the Soviet Union, China and their allies. When these images were declassified in the 1990s, photos of a rocky terrace in Iraqi Kurdistan caught the attention of archaeologists, who believed they saw the remnants of a large, square fort. Qalatga Darband is located at a strategic point on the Darband-i-Rania pass, which once linked Mesopotamia to Iran. Archaeologists think the city was built on a route that Alexander of Macedon took in 331 BC while pursuing Persian King Darius III; who was fleeing from his defeat at the Battle of Gaugamela.|
|Drone images of Qalatga Darband were processed to enhance color differences. The city, nearby Lake Dukan, was encircled by a wall and had a fort, a temple, and wine presses.|
The Parthians were a major power, conquering vast swaths of territory.
|Qalatga Darband appears to have been occupied during the early Parthian period, which spanned from the first century B.C. to the first century A.D. A coin discovered at the site depicts the Parthian king Orodes II, who ruled between 57 B.C. and 37 B.C.|