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Mining Continues to Tremble Partho-Sasanian Observatory in Niasar


22 November 2006




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LONDON, (CAIS) -- Islamic Republic’s Mines and Industries Ministry has issued a permission for stone extraction from a quarry which is located close to the historical Fire Temple of Niasar, ignoring objections raised by cultural heritage experts and undermining Iranian heritage.  As the result, the private sector who is connected to the regime will continue mining in this quarry for another 20 years which would gradually destroy this ancient monument date back to the late Parthian dynasty (248 BCE-224 CE) or early Sasanian dynastic era (224–651 CE) .


Experts of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of Niasar have several times warned about the destructive effects of mining in this region which can demolish this Sasanian monument. They argued that severe shakes caused by extracting operations could lead into complete destruction of the building in a long run, which possibly is the intention of the Islamic Regime’s Ministry. In addition, the piles of rubbles left by the miners in the region have also intruded the cultural landscape of this historic structure.


Another factor endangering the Niasar monument is a high concentration of poisonous gas in the air, produced during the process of making the stones into powder for industrial use.


“A mill for producing stone powder has been established next to the quarry without considering that the process increases environmental pollution. This will not only seriously damage this historical monument overtime, it can highly reduce the number of tourists to the region,” said Nasser Mashhadi-zadeh Dahaghani, head of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of Niasar.


Moreover, considering the direction of the wind-blow in Niasar, which is from the mountain in which the quarry is located toward Niasar village, the uncontrolled toxic gas release during the process to grind stones in this mill will eventually cause serious health problems for the residents of the village.


“We have sent several letters to the related organizations including Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) and Iran’s Mines and Industry Ministry to take immediate action; however we still have not received any response,” added Mashhadi-zadeh.


Cultural heritage experts strongly believe that continuation of mining activities in the area will not only result in destruction of this historic monument, it will also permanently take away the chance for registering this Partho-Sasanian structure in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.


The green and beautiful resort village of Niasar is located 28 kilometers west of the city of Kashan, Esfahan province. Niasar’s Partho-Sasanian monument is a domed building constructed over a rock at the highest point of Niasar village which can be seen from afar.


For a long time, people thought that the building was a fire temple belonging to the either Parthian or Sasanian dynastic eras. However, further investigations revealed that some 1800 years ago the monument was used as an observatory to study the movements of the sun in the early days of summer and winter. This building is one of the greatest and oldest ones in Iran which has remained intact. It has a quadrangular shape when looked from distance but is actually a trapezoid with identical sides that are almost 12 meters high.


The light stones used in the construction of this Partho-Sasanian monument are of volcanic rocks, which is why the monument has remained intact after nearly 2000 years and has withstood several earthquakes.


In keeping with the tradition, each year Niasar’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department organises a ceremony at this ancient building to mark the observance of sun’s birth on summer and winter solstice.




Extracted From/Source: Cultural Heritage News Agency (CHN)

Please note the above-news is NOT a "copy & paste" version from the mentioned-source. The news/article above has been modified with the following interventions by CAIS: Spelling corrections; -Rectification and correction of the historical facts and data; - Providing additional historical information within the text; -Removing any unnecessary, irrelevant & repetitive information.

     All these measures have been taken in order to ensure that the published news provided by CAIS is coherent, accurate and suitable for academics and cultural enthusiasts who visit the CAIS website.



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