& CULTURAL NEWS
First Academic City Under Threat
the increase of illegal excavations in the
historical site of Jondi Shapur, Cultural Heritage
Enthusiasts Association of Abadan city, and the
provincial office of Iran’s Cultural Heritage
and Tourism Organization of Khuzestan have asked
President Ahmadi-Nejad through a letter to help
save the historical site.
Jondi Shapur or Gondi Shapur, located in the
southern province of Khuzestan, was the very first
world major academic city established during the Sasanid
dynasty. After the invasion of Iran by Arabs in
7th century, many scholarly texts began to be
translated from Pahlavi (middle-Persian) language
into Arabic, transferring the Iranian knowledge to
the Aran-Islamic world and this city flourished
for almost 700 years.
Within the last 3 years, almost 80 percent of the
300-hectare ancient site has been damaged due to
farming activities and smuggling, and more neglect
of the city will led to the complete destruction
of this ancient site.
In a letter to the president, it has been also
mentioned that Jondi Shapur is important not only
due to archaeological historical aspects, but also
due to identity and national issues. “While
every four years Greece focuses on the defeat of
Iran from Rome in Olympic Marathon, why
shouldn’t we save our symbol of victory over
Rome; as Jondi Shapur had been built by 70,000
Greek prisoners of war after the defeat of Rome
from Persia,” the letter reads.
It is not just the farmers who are threatening the
historical site of Jondi Sahpur; experts of the
Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of
Khuzestan are warning of the illegal excavations
in this historical site as well.
Among the 30 hills registered in 1979, just 14
have remained and 16 have been flattened by the
farmers for agricultural use.
According to the Cultural Heritage and Tourism
Organization of Khuzestan province, the illegal
diggings in the historical site of Jondi Shapur
have increased so much that if the trend
continues, nothing will remain of the historical
site within a few years.
Furthermore, according to the latest reports,
while carrying out new excavations, determining
the perimeters of the area, and mapping of the
site, experts have sensed the depth of the misery,
of which the public is unfortunately still unaware
The historical academic city of Jondi Shapur was
famous in the ancient time, founded during the Sasanid
dynasty as the city of the elite. Medicine science
spread from this city to the other places, and
there were a lot of scientists in the city
carrying out researches and studies. The Jondi
Shapur University, now ruined, was considered one
of the most famous architectural structures of its
A few months ago, a joint project was approved by
the Iranian Foreign Ministry for excavations by
Iranian experts and archaeologists from the
Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago in
Jondi Shapur. The program is planned to be
launched in January 2006.