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CAIS ARCHAEOLOGICAL & CULTURAL NEWS©

 

Shahr-e Rey Heritage in Ruins

 

04 September 2004

 

Shahr-e Rey district in southern Tehran, a place where garbage and wastewater are disposed, boasts several historically valuable monuments. Unfortunately, most of these relics have been wrecked and ruined as a result of construction and development projects or simply out of ignorance.


Shahr-e Rey Cement Factory has already gulped down several historic works including an embossed design of Fathali Shah dating back to the Qajarid era.


The plant is also devouring the slopes of the Bibi Shahrbanoo Mount at a rapid pace, ISNA wrote.


The Rashkan Fortress and Saljuqid Citadel, belonging to the Parthian and Saljuqid periods respectively and noted for their delicate embossments, are under private ownership. Iran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization has so far failed to convince the owners to sell the relics.
Moreover, these monuments have not undergone any repair work because Shahr-e Rey does not have a cultural heritage department of its own.


The Royal Al-e Bouyeh Cemetery, with a 4,000-year-old history, is under threat of destruction due to large-scale construction projects in its vicinity.


Surprisingly, the administrative office of the Abdolazim Shrine has been based in Gabri Castle, a monument of historical significance--whereas no rules and conventions sanction using historic places for administrative purposes. ICHTO, the official owner of the castle, must be obliged to take back the property.


The negligence on the part of ICHTO and the Organization for Religious Endowments and Charity Affairs has caused ancient religious monuments to incur damages as well.


Apart from recognizing cultural heritage sites, ICHTO should as well have the power to guard and preserve those places.


Director of Tehran Cultural Heritage Department admitted that historic monuments in Shahr-e Rey district are endangered by construction, industrial and agriculture projects, adding, "The population growth in the capital city boosts the real estates value constantly. As a result, people residing around historic hills destroy the hills to secure more land or sell the area's soil."


He regretted that the ICHTO is lacking sufficient manpower and budget to safeguard those places. "A special taskforce was formed in recent years to guards sites of culture heritage, but the Management and Planning Organization has so far failed to fund the scheme," he explained.


"We repaired some of the monuments in Shahr-e Rey in 11 workshops last year. There are a total 170 historic places in the area, which will undergo renovation based on priorities."


He also pointed to illegal excavations and said, "Some people dig up the area in search of treasures. But the majority of hills in Shahr-e Rey date back to prehistoric times. Since gold did not exist during that era, the illicit excavators fail in their fortune-hunting attempts."

 

 

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