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Sivand will not Submerge Achaemenid Imperial Road


22 October 2005


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  Section of Rah-e Shahi passes through Bolaghi Valley (Click to enlarge)

(CHN) -- Following the decision to reduce the level of water in the flooding of Sivand dam, Imperial Road, which is one of the unique structures remaining of the Achaemenid era in Bolaghi Gorge will be saved from being drowned.

The Road is a mystery to archaeologists; while Iranians believe that it was part of the hunting grounds of the Achaemenid kings, the French believe it should have been the location of irrigation channels.

“Imperial Road is located in Bolaghi Gorge in Dokhtar Bar area. With the lowering of the flooding of the dam, Dakhtar Bar area will not drown, therefore, the Imperial Road will be saved as well,” says Ali Asadi, an Iranian archeologist working on the site.

“Imperial Road is one of the chef d’oeuvres of the Achaemenid era, the construction of which remained a mystery with the collapse of the Achaemenid dynasty. This road was constructed with a straight cut from the mountain and the pavement of the foothill; it is really marvelous,” added Asadi.

According to Asadi, Imperial Road historical site is as valuable as Pasargadae and Persepolis, and if it was going to be drowned, they would have never let the dam being flooded.

The Imperial Road was built 2500 years ago by order of Darius the Great, the Achaemenid king, which connected Pasargadae to Persepolis and Susa.

With the flooding of Sivand Dam, scheduled for February the first 2006, some flagstone parts of the Imperial Road will be inundated but the main part of it will rest safe and sound.

Archaeological excavations on Imperial Road have been carried out by a joint team of Iranian and French archaeologists, leading to important discoveries in this respect.

“During the Safavid period, by order of Shah Abbas the Great, a group was appointed to expand the Imperial Road but since the technique for construction of the road was forgotten, they couldn’t cut the mountain straight out, only leading to the destruction of some part of the road,” explained Asadi.

Following the news of Sivand Dam in Bolaghi Gorge, Fars province, being watered in the near future, a false rumor spread around the world of Pasargadae site being in serious danger of being drowned and destructed. Today, experts believe that the only threat of the dam to Pasargadae is changes in humidity level, which is planned to be controlled by determining a justified water level for the dam.