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Naqsh-e Jahan Square Again Under Assault by Unscrupulous Builders


31 August 2005



naghse-jahan.jpg (71918 bytes)The Hakim Complex seems to be a repetition of the story of the Jahan-Nama Tower, which is rising up near the historical Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan.


After the Isfahan Municipality issued a building permit, construction began near the square on the Hakim Complex, with a planned height exceeding the legal limit.


With the approval of the municipality, the site, which was originally zoned to be a parking lot, is now being turned into a complex which could spoil the horizontal view of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square.


The deputy director of the Renovation and Protection Office of the Isfahan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department said on Wednesday that the area was zoned to be a parking lot based on the regulations of Iran’s High Council for Architectural Urban Development.


“If there has been a change since then, the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) is unaware. It seems that the Isfahan Municipality has issued the permit without clarifying its usage and with a planned height exceeding the legal limit,” Ali Khajuii added.


Khajuii warned officials that the construction of the Hakim Complex is the beginning of a new Jahan-Nama Tower.


If there is no response from the relevant organizations, the Isfahan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department will file a letter of complaint, he said.


Farhad Ravanfar, the mayor of Isfahan’s District Three, has the opposite view. He says the complex has been zoned to be a parking lot according to Housing and Urban Development Organization regulations and will not rise higher than three or four stories, so there has been no violation of building regulations.


Meanwhile, the director of the Historical Houses Office of the Isfahan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department says that 7.5 meters is the maximum authorized height, but the height of this complex will be nine meters, so it is a violation of the building code.


Nasser Taheri added that the Isfahan cultural department has already submitted two letters to the Urban Development Department of the Isfahan Municipality and the provincial Housing and Urban Development Organization, but has received no reply and the construction continues.


“Copies of the letters have been sent to the Isfahan City Council and the Inspection Department of the Isfahan Municipality, but still there has been no reply,” he said.


It should be noted that the Hakim project is being carried out by the Saman Gostar Company, the same company which is currently working on the Jahan-Nama Tower project.


Naqsh-e Jahan Square, at nearly 1700 feet long, is twice the size of Red Square in Moscow and seven times the size of St. Mark’s Square in Venice. Indeed, after Tiananmen Square in Beijing, it is the second largest square in the world.


It is completely surrounded by decorated arcades and a bazaar, and the center of each side is marked by a monumental building: the entrance to the Grand Bazaar and the Shah Mosque at opposite ends, and the Ali Qapu Palace and the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque on either side. Naqsh-e Jahan Square is connected at its northern end to the old city by the monumental entrance of the grand bazaar opening onto miles of vaulted passageways and caravanserais that eventually lead to the Jame’ Mosque.  



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