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Taq-e Bostan Loses its Chance to be Included in UNESCO' World Heritage Sites


16 June 2006




taqi_bostan.gif (587121 bytes)LONDON, (CAIS - edited by Shapour Suren-Pahlav) -- While cultural heritage experts have warned that construction of a railway in the city of Kermanshah in the north-south direction will endanger Taq-e Bostan ancient site and greatly reduce its chance of being inscribed in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

Although construction of a city train will reduce the heavy traffic of Kermanshah to a large extent, but it has now become a huge concern for Iranian cultural heritage authorities and experts who are deeply worried that this project, which would seriously threaten the historical site of Taq-e Bostan and Iran will lose its chance for inscribing this historical monument in UNESCO’s World Heritage List forever.

On the other hand, while the authorities of Kermanshah’s Transportation Organization have approved the project of the city train, according to Siamak Khadivi, head of Taq-e Bostan project, it is still on its initial process and has not been formally announced. He also said that no negotiations have been made so far between the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of Kermanshah province and the Islamic regime's municipality of the city of Kermanshah about this project.

“The news indicates that the city train will pass near the wall of Khosrow’s hunting ground, the place where Sayaad-e Shirazi Bridge was once under construction. This has somehow confused us because only one of these two projects can be performed in this region,” said Khadivi.

Prior to this, Cultural Heritage experts had expressed their concern about the construction of cable cars by Islamic regime in the landscape of Taq-e Bostan ancient site and when they alarmed that the construction of Sayaad-e Shirazi Bridge in the vicinity of Khosrow’s hunting ground is a threat to the Iranian heritage site, Kermanshah’s governor as tyhe resyult of pressure from public and cultural heritage enthusiasts, forced to stop the project and change the path of the bridge. Now after more than one year, not only the map of the new path of the bridge has not been submitted to the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of Kermanshah for further studies, another dilemma which is that of launching a city train near Taq-e Bostan has been created. 


Experts believe that the Iran’s proposal to inscribe Taq-e Bostan in UNESCO’s list would for sure be rejected if the train track passes near this historic site.

Taqe_bustan.jpg (43736 bytes) In any case, it seems these problems that Iranians are facing is the systematic approach by Islamic regime to destroy and endanger Pre-Islamic Iranian under the cover of development. The deputy of Kermanshah’s Transportation Organization has confirmed that the project is in its initial phase and its path can be changed provided that an agreement be reached with the other parties. Yet, the deputy of Kermanshah’s Transportation Organization, a former member of Islamic regime' vigilantes, which is no expert in this field, believes that no harm will come to Taq-e Bostan historical site by performing this project. Regarding the existing concerns over the project endangering this historical site and its world registration, he claimed: “The Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization should clarify the vicinity of this historical site and determine whether the construction of the city train will have a positive or negative affect on Taq-e Bostan.”

This is while the landscape of Taq-e Bostan had already been determined in 1970, which covered a long area including its nearby lake and forest. However, Kermanshah and its historic sites received great damages during the Iran-Iraq war which started in 1980 and lasted for eight years. Also, those who became homeless as a result of the war rushed to these historic regions and the land dealers close to Islamic regime, began to take advantage of the situation and sold some of the nearby ancient lands. Thus the outstanding landscape of Taq-e Bostan historical site was changed and it became limited to a very small vicinity. Now the time has come to stop more destructive activities by the regime in the area to save this historical site and not permit such a tragedy happen again in the area which will permanently take Taq-e Bostan out of UNESCO’s considered list. 

What is obvious is that it is not the first time and for sure will not be the last time in Iran that a pre-Islamic cultural heritage site is in a real jeopardy as a result of the Islamic regime's so-called development projects. ICHTO believes that many fail to see the priority of preserving Iran’s cultural heritage over its development projects and find a balance which would let the development plans go forward without causing harm to the country’s cultural and natural heritage, without realising the systematic approach for destruction of Pre-Islamic Iranian heritage by the Islamic regime.

The Taq-e Bostan (Bostan Arch) is situated 5 kilometers from of the city of Kermanshah, capital of Kurdistan province, western Iran. It is a series of large rock reliefs in the heart of Zagross Mountains, belonging to the Sasanid dynasty (224-651 CE). The carvings which include representations of the investitures of Ardeshir II (379-383) and Shapur III (383-388), and Khosrow II (d. 628), are some of the best examples of Iranian sculptures during the Sasanid dynasty, survived after almost 1700 years despite the situating in an open area exposed to strong winds and heavy rainfall. Like other Sasanid symbols, Taq-e Bostan and its relief patterns accentuate power, religious tendencies, glory, honor, the vastness of the imperial court, game and fighting spirit, festivity, joy, and rejoicing.





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