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Vandals Damaged and Destroyed Part of Kul Farah Bas-reliefs


09 January 2007




Edited by Shapour Suren-Pahlav


LONDON, (CAIS) -- Chaos continues at the historic sites of Izeh, a city in the Iranian southwestern province of Khuzestan, as this time some anonymous individuals drew lines on the bas-reliefs of Kul Farah historic site with a marker and destroyed part of the reliefs with a sharp object.


This is the second time in the recent months that the region’s historic sites are being deliberately vandalized by an unknown party. Prior to this, the biggest Elamite cuneiform inscription carved on the rocks of Eshkaf-e Salman also known as Tarisha Temple, was found splashed with paint. This historic site is located very close to Kul Farah; and from the very beginning, experts had predicted and warned that the same disaster could happen to the bas-reliefs of Kul Farah. The two sites are dated to the Elamite period (3400-550 BCE).


No serious measure has been taken so far for removing the paints from bas-reliefs of Eshkaf-e Salman. Furthermore, almost nothing was done to protect them from possible future damages. Such inconsiderate behaviour on the part of the Iranian cultural heritage authorities has now resulted in the destruction of another Elamite evidence at the 3000-year-old archaeological site of Kul Farah.


The Elamite intaglios of Kul Farah used to have a metal cover which meant to protect them against possible damages. The metal protector was removed to be replaced with a vacuumed glass cover. However, the new glass protector was never made, as the idea could not win the approval of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization. Such negligence together with lack of security guards in the area has now severely put at risk the historic site of Kul Farah.


Kul Farah is situated 7 kilometres southeast of Izeh in Khuzestan province and is one of the most important historical sites of this province. It is located in a valley surrounded by two engraved stone mountains.


According to Faramarz Khushab, director of the Association of Cultural Heritage Supporters of Izeh, considering that the only person protecting the bas-reliefs of Kul Farah is a 70-year-old man who has minimum facilities, it is not a surprise to see such damages to this historic site.


This is while director of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of Khuzestan province told Persian service of CHN that the Organization is determined to provide lighting apparatuses in the area to light up the bas-reliefs. He also said that more facilities will be given to the guard to prevent repetition of such tragedies.


Due to the existence of large numbers of inscriptions and bas-reliefs, Izeh is known as the “Museum of Persian Tablets;” however, protection of the city’s ancient evidence is nowhere near the top priorities of ICHTO.


The lack of budget and neglect towards Iranian heritage is happening while the Islamic Republic are executing 300 reconstruction projects in the Iraqi cities of Karbala, Najaf and Kazamain (ISNA November 29, 2006), in which one of the projects in Karbala known as the “Safinat ul-Nejah” has cost the Iranian tax-payers US $7.5 million-dollars; - in December 2005, the regime spent $1.57 million dollars, only for retiling and paving the tomb of 11th Shi'at imam at Kazemain (ISNA January 01, 2006).


The Islamic Republic which is constantly spending hundreds of millions of dollars of the Iranian assets every year in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq; while Kul Farah and hundreds of other Iranian heritage sites are in danger of destruction as the result of lack of financial aid, in which a fraction of the money that is being spent for futile aims in Arab countries could be used to save Iranian heritage from destruction.


The Islamic Republic of Iran holds in great contempt anything Iranian, which has embarked on destroying the pre-Islamic archeological sites throughout Iran. These archaeological and historical sites are some of humanity's most prized cultural heritages and are more than a mere collection of ancient structures. They are embodiments of humanity's historical past and diversity. The atrocious destruction of the Buddha statues by Taliban regime of Afghanistan, pales in comparison to the present bellicose approach of the Islamic regime, to pre-Islamic Iranian heritage.





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