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Municipality Workers Dump Garbage on Ancient Site


22 August 2004



Becoming an outrageous role model for people, the municipality of the modern city of Susa is dumping garbage on relics of an ancient fort in this historical city.

While the department is still doggedly pursuing plans to build a bus terminal on Iranian Acropolis ruins, its workers are violating Iranian environmental and cultural heritage regulations by turning the 400-hectare area into a garbage pit.

“Municipality garbage collectors deliberately dump the waste behind the fort gate at night when the curators are not around,” complained Ahmad Anajil, head of Iranian Cultural Organization office in Susa.

Meanwhile, Susa mayor Ali Ghazaei told CHN that he had ordered all his personnel to refrain from dumping refuse at the historical site.

Susa is one of the oldest cities in the world. Excavations have established that people were living at the so-called acropolis in 5000 BC and have shown the existence of urban structures about 4000, and it is reasonable that the town, situated between the rivers Karkheh and Dez (one of these is the ancient Eulaeus), was already the political center of Elam in the fourth millennium. The ruins of a castle on a steep hilltop date back to this period. It has been overbuilt with a modern castle that was used by the French archaeologists who excavated the city from 1897 onward.

A second part of the city is now called the royal hill and contains the ruins of a temple of Ninhursang. A third part is the artisan's quarter. The Assyrian king Aššurbanipal destroyed the Elamite capital between 645-640.

The city was rebuilt by the Iranian King of Kings Darius the Great (522-486). The Apadana palace was clearly his favorite residence. The Greek historian Herodotus of Halicarnassus, who wrote about the Achaemenid Empire, did not know of another capital. The allegedly scene of the Biblical book of Esther is laid in Susa, where king Ahasverus (Xerxes) resides. Unfortunately, a big fire during the reign of Artaxerxes I (465-424) destroyed much of the buildings from this age. It was rebuilt, however, and could be excavated in the twentieth century. Unfortunately, even the ruins were not left alone: they were partly destroyed during the First Persian Gulf War.



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