The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
LONDON, (CAIS) -- It seems for the first time cultural heritage has won out over the so-called construction projects as officials have been forced to change the path of the railroad that had threatened the ancient site of Naqsh-e Rustam in Fars Province.
embankment spoiling the landscape of the pre-Islamic site of Naqsh-e Rustam was
constructed for the railway track about 350 meters from the monument.
had said that the rumbling of the trains would damage the monuments at Naqsh-e
Rustam in the future and would cause Kaaba of Zoroaster to collapse in less than
ten years if the railroad became operational.
Rustam is important since the tombs of Achaemenid Emperors such as Darius the
Great, and his son Xerxes I are carved into the solid rock. The site also
contains remnants of the Parthian and Sasanian dynastic eras as well as Elamite.
addition, experts had said that the railway project could have caused Persepolis
to be added to the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger since Naqsh-e Rustam
is located on the perimeter of Persepolis.
construction projects have become the most serious threats to Iran’s ancient
sites and cultural heritage over the past few years.
following cases illustrate this point:
The ICHTO is currently involved in a legal dispute with the Esfahan Municipality
on the Jahan-Nama Tower, which has been built near Naqsh-e Jahan Square and its
complex of monuments from the Safavid era.
Jahan-Nama Tower spoils the horizontal view of Naqsh-e Jahan Square, which was
added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979 after the registration of
Persepolis. Therefore, UNESCO has called on the CHTO to modify the tower before
February 1, 2007. Otherwise, the square will be added to the UNESCO List of
World Heritage in Danger.
The Sivand Dam will flood a large section of the Bolaghi Valley in Fars
Province, which is home to over 130 archaeological sites dating from prehistoric
periods to the Sasanian dynastic era. The Sivand Dam’s reservoir was scheduled
to be filled in early December, but the Bolaghi Valley has been given a brief
reprieve to give experts more time to conduct archaeological excavations and
The Karun-3 Dam, which came on stream in November 2004, devoured many ancient
sites and artifacts dating back to the Elamite era, the Stone Age, and the
Epipaleolithic period (20,000-10,000 BCE) in the Izeh region of Khuzestan
The Sussan Plain, where many Elamite, Parthian, Achaemenid, and Sasanian dynastic
era sites are located, will be submerged by the Karun-2 Dam in the Izeh region,
A plaster company’s frequent blasts are the main reason for the damage to the Sasanian
dynasty Da va Dokhtar Castle in Ramhormoz, Khuzestan Province. The operations
had been stopped for a time by Ramhormoz judicial officials, but shortly
afterwards the company resumed its activities near the ancient site.
Over 40 sites in Fars Province from the Elamite, Achaemenid, Parthian, Sasanian,
and early post-Sasanian eras will be flooded by the Mullah Sadra Dam, whose
reservoir is currently being filled, and two other dams currently under
construction, the Salman-e Farsi and Marvast dams.
The reservoir of a dam under construction near Ramhormoz in Khuzestan province
will submerge the 1700-year-old Sasanian era Jareh Dam. Archaeologists recently
lost hope of saving the ancient dam when they realized the relocation proposal
was not feasible.
The 6000-year-old Kul-Tappeh site in East Azarbaijan province is being submerged
as the operators of the Sahand Dam started filling the reservoir last May.
A total of 16 historic sites will be submerged by a dam currently under
construction on the Pol-Rud River near the city of Rudsar in the northern
province of Gilan.
The construction of the Gilan-e Gharb Dam is threatening a number of ancient
sites dating back to the first millennium BCE in Kermanshah Province.
The Shian Dam, which is scheduled to come on stream in Kermanshah Province in
2007, will flood one of the earliest settlements in the region, which dates back
to about 2400 BCE, and a great number of historic and ancient sites from the
Parthian to the early post-Sasanian eras.
Road construction and railroad development are threatening the 6000-year-old
Yaqut-Tappeh mound near Behshahr in Mazandaran Province.
The decision was music to the ears of Iranian cultural heritage lovers, although there is a long way to go before the decision is fully implemented.
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