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Jundi Shapur, the Oldest Academic City in the World Facing Destruction


22 June 2005



The remaining 8, out of the 50 historical mounds in Jundi Shapour (Gondê Shâpûr) in Khuzestan province, are facing destruction, while the other 42 mounds covering an area of 700 hectares have been flattened in the process of agriculture over the past 40 years.

According to CHN, archeological studies indicate that Jundi Shapour was once a thriving city in which a the first world university by the same name was established by King of Kings Shapour I, of Sasanian dynasty

With the advent of Islam and the growth of its influence in Iran, many texts in Sasanid-Pahlavi scripts were translated into Arabic and Iranian heritage was transferred to Arab countries.

Saeed Mohammadpour, an official in charge of legal affairs at Iran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) said that farmers have leveled the historical mounds of Jundi Shapour in the past 40 years.

He said that the historical site is currently owned by the Department for State Lands which has leased the land to farmers on annual basis.

"Currently, some 50 farmers are working at the site and the lease contract will expire in 2007. The ICHTO has initiated legal action to prevent the Department for State Lands from extending the contract after the period expires."

Archeologists believe that cultivation of the land during the four decades has damaged the buried structures which are of cultural heritage significance

Meanwhile an expert with the ICHTO office in Khuzestan, Abdolreza Peymani said that archaeological evidence in this ancient city has been destroyed in the process of farming and no excavation has been conducted at the site.

Dr Masoud Azarnoush, head of Iran Archaeological Research Center, said that Jundi Shapour historical site has been damaged and Iran would cooperate with Chicago-based Institute of Eastern Studies to carry out excavation in the area. The Jundi Shapour historical site is located in Dezful.



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