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CAIS ARCHAEOLOGICAL & CULTURAL NEWS©

ARCHAEOLOGICAL & CULTURAL NEWS OF THE IRANIAN WORLD

 

Ardeshir's Qale Dokhtar Trembles with the Constant Explosions

 

24 September 2006

 

 

 

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LONDON, (CAIS - edited by Shapour Suren-Pahlav) -- The explosions in the vicinity and under the Sasanian Qale Dokhtar, causes further damage beyond salvation to the ancient monument.

 

“It is nearly 10 years that some people with permission from the Islamic Republic Ministry of Industries and Mining, have conducted mining expeditions in the vicinity and under the ancient Qale Dokhtar. Although their permit for mining is currently out of date, they are still continuing their works”, said Azam Kazemi.

 

With regard to the 2004/2005 explosions, which resulted in collapse of a large section of the monument, he said: “in fact the mining began under the nearby architectural remain known as Nāqāreh Khāneh. Their tunneling now being extended to the mound, which the castle is located on top. The current constant explosions directly underneath the castle are the main threat.”

 

According to Kazemi, the cultural heritage’s night watchers are being intimidated and threatened, and as a result the illegal excavation is also another crisis that the ancient monument is facing.

 

“We are absolutely hopeless; we cannot do anything about the illegal excavations nor the explosions. Anytime that we have submit a complaint to the local Islamic Court, they do not take any action to resolve it; and when we persist, they ask us to resubmit again – it is unknown to us for what reason we should resubmit another complaint over and over again, and has taken years, with no constructive outcome to protect the site”, concluded Kazemi.

 

Qale Dokhtar (The Maiden Castle), in Fīruzābād (ancient Ardeshir-Khurra/Gur) is a fortified palace, built on a high bluff, by the order of Ardashir I (d. 241 CE), the founder of the fourth Iranian dynasty and the second Persian Empire, the Sasanians (224-651 CE).

 

The fortified palace is splendidly coherent and a confident building containing many of the recurring features of Sasanian palaces and civic architecture: ayvans, arches, domes, recessed windows, and stairways. The construction is uniform of roughly shaped stone and mortar, but the surfaces were obviously all finished with a thick coating of plaster or stucco, giving a smooth and elegant appearance, which could have been decorated with ornamentation or painting. The name implies it was dedicated to the Goddess Anahita, to whom the term "Maiden" refers.

 

The 1800-year-old castle, despite damages it still produces awe in visitors. Experts warn if urgent measures are not taken to enforce it the castle may soon collapse and will be lost forever.

 

 


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