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Earthquake Partly Destroys Ancient Iranian Village


30 May 2004



Part of an old village intended by the lord of Alamut less than a thousand yeas ago for settlement of his followers was destroyed by an earthquake which struck northern Iran on Friday.

An official with the local cultural heritage and tourism department Mohammad Qasem Moradiha noted one third of houses the Gazorkhan village were torn down.

Known mostly for its affiliation with the Alamut fortress, the Gazorkhan village is thought to predate the presence of the Ismailids in the area.

Head of the department Mohammad Mohammadzadeh said the historical and architectural features of the village have survived the passage of time and that’s why the village was considered a pristine one.

“Our information suggests the village dates back to the time when Hassan Sabah was promoting Ismiliah faith. His followers used to take shelter in the fortress only in time of danger and were living in the village at other times,” he noted.

The fortress was used as a prison during the reign of the Safavids, while settlement in the village was underway. The village has preserved its traditional architectural style.

There were some 350 mud brick houses in Gazorkhan, 30 percent of which are reported to have been destroyed.

Mohammadzadeh pointed out no monument was restored recently unless it was reinforced to resist earthquakes as well. Yet, little improvement has been achieved when it comes to the houses of ordinary people who are too poor to pay for reinforcement of their old homes.

Given its unique environmental richness, the officials intend to nominate the Alamut region for inscription on the UNESCO’s List of Historical and Natural Heritage.


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