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.CAIS NEWS©

ARCHAEOLOGICAL & CULTURAL NEWS OF THE IRANIAN WORLD

 

UPDATE: Train Vibrations Threaten Tomb of King Xerxes

 

13 September 2007

 

 

 

Edited by Shapour Suren-Pahlav

 

LONDON, (CAIS) -- Vibrations caused by passing trains are likely to broaden existing cracks in the tomb of Xerxes I and result in its collapse if a nearby railway route becomes operational, archaeologist Mohammad-Taqi Ataii said during a seminar at the University Of Tehran (UT) on September 11.

 

Entitled “Naqsh-e Rustam in Danger”, the one-day colloquium was held to survey the threats from the railway route to the tomb of Xerxes I at the Naqsh-e Rustam site in southern Iran’s Fars Province.

 

“The [Achaemenid] builders of the tomb were aware of the natural cracks in the mountainside and built a canal to divert rainwater to a large pool thus preventing it from flowing into the gaps,” Ataii explained.

 

“The cracks in the rock are already widening as the pool has become full.

 

“This is happening as the result of a natural process and so far people have not made any effort to preserve the massive cliff. The situation will worsen if the railway route becomes operational.”

 

Attaii’s remarks met with protest from an unidentified individual defending the railway project. The man, who must an Islamic regime’s agent who declined to introduce himself, said that according to seismographic studies, vibrations from trains using the railway route would not cause damage to the monuments in the Naqsh-e Rustam region.

 

It has been rumoured that a number of the regime’s officials attending the ceremony denied that the man had any relationship with the railway project. The Islamic Republic’s Ministry of Roads and Transportation has not published the results of the seismographic studies.

 

Experts have previously said that if the railroad, the embankment of which has been constructed at a distance of about 350 meters from Naqsh-e Rustam, were to become operational, train vibrations would eventually damage the monument and  cause the destruction of Kaba of Zoroaster less than ten years.

 

In December 2006, the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) and cultural heritage enthusiasts finally convinced the Ministry of Road and Transportation to alter the railway route. However the extent of the modification has not satisfied the CHTHO or the cultural heritage enthusiasts.

 

The modification would place the route at a distance of 500 meters from the Naqsh-e Rustam site.

 

Naqsh-e Rustam is an extremely important historical site since holds four Achaemenid burials including Darius the Great and Xerxes I, which have been carved into the solid rock. The site also contains remnants dating back to the Elamite period as well as the Parthian (248 BCE-224 CE) and Sasanian (224-651 CE) dynastic eras.

 

In recent years the Islamic republic has stepped up its' cultural-cleansing of Iran’s pre-Islamic heritage under the guise of development projects. The regime has undermined and destroyed a number of major cultural landmarks associated with the ancient Iranian history in particularly the Achaemenid and Sasanian dynasties.

 

Since the coming of totalitarian-theocratic regime to power in Iran in 1979, the regime's leaders have dedicated significant resources to restructuring Iranian culture and values.

 

Iranians are now vigorously-encouraged to choose Arabic/Islamic names for their children, and a large number of Iranian names have been outlawed. Many pre-Islamic historical and archaeological sites have been devastated under the cover of development projects: destroyed as part of highway and railway track construction; contaminated irreparably by chemical factories; undermined by nearby hotels; obliterated as part of mining; or submerged beneath dam reservoirs. There have even been threats to bulldoze Persepolis. In general, pre-Islamic Iranian heritage has been downplayed and undermined in favour of the promotion of Islamic culture, the Islamic way of life, and above all the Arabic language.

 

 

 

 

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