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Ilkhanid Dynasty's Âq-Qaleh in Jeopardy


30 July 2005



Construction projects of the Sabzevar Municipality are threatening the Ilkhanid era complex of Aq-Qaleh, an archaeologist of the Sabzevar Cultural Heritage and Tourism Office said on Saturday.

“This is the only Ilkhanid era monument bearing an inscription. The monument is a large complex containing a town, a citadel, a tower, a rampart, and fortifications surrounded by a moat,” Mohammad Abdollahzadeh Sani added.


Although the Sabzevar Cultural Heritage and Tourism Office is preparing a dossier for registration of the monument on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, new construction projects have damaged some parts of the complex and will harm Aq-Qaleh’s bid for international recognition as part of the world’s cultural heritage, Sani lamented.


The city’s cultural heritage office recently filed a lawsuit against the municipality to force it to stop the construction projects.


A team of Iranian cultural heritage experts is currently using historical documents to restore the monument, which is located in Khorasan Razavi Province, northwest of the city of Sabzevar.


The Sabzevar Municipality has filled the moat of the complex, but experts will excavate it after the construction projects are halted, Abdollahzadeh explained.


“Aq-Qaleh’s mosque, which bears the inscription, is carefully protected, but the mosque is in urgent need of excavation,” Sabzevar cultural heritage official Siavash Saberi said.


Some historians believe Aq-Qaleh was built at the same time as Soltanieh in Zanjan Province, but the theory can only be proven after excavations and geophysical operations are conducted, Saberi added.


Experts believe that Aq-Qaleh was as magnificent as Soltanieh, which was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List on July 15, 2005.  




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