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Latest Archeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


Islamic Republic Ministry of Energy Prohibits Experts Visiting Sasanian Dam of Jarreh Prior to inundation of the New-Jarreh Dam


22 April 2008



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 Sasanian Jarreh (Hormuz) Dam

(Click to enlarge)


By Shapour Suren-Pahlav


LONDON, (CAIS) -- Islamic Republic Ministry of Energy has banned Iranian Cultural authorities visiting 1700-year-old Sasanian dam of Jarreh (also Jareh) located behind the newly-built Kuh-Shur Dam. This was announced by Mansur Motamedi, the director of Romhormoz' Friends of Cultural heritage Society (RFCHS), reported Persian service of ISNA on Monday.


"Despite all the objections, no one has yet been permitted [by Ministry of Energy] to examine the current status of the historical dam of Jarreh" said Motamedi.


In relation to the archaeological sites behind the new dam and its historical importance and their destruction, once the Kuh-Shur dam become operational he said: "The inundation is taking place while no research has ever been carried out in this area and no endeavours were made to protect this invaluable site."


"It has been decided that RFCHS's representatives should meet with the director of Khuzestan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation (KCHTO) to discuss this issue. This is while last year, through various channels we have asked KCHTO's vice president to do something about it, in which at the end we been told that the KCHTO is incapable of facing the powerful Ministry of Energy," said Motamedi.


Back then add to the injury, KCHTO took mockery of Iranian nation and their national heritage and told RFCHS, "if [Iranians] want to visit the Jarreh Dam in future, they can scuba dive."


Motamedi added: "two years ago, as the result of widespread condemnations by people of Romhormoz, Ministry of Energy's authorities forced to allow RFCHS [experts] and Sadeq Mohamadi the director of KCHTO to attend at the site for only ten minutes, and since then no one has ever been permitted to visit the ancient dam."


Motamedi condemned KCHTO for failing to safeguard Iran's national heritage.


Newly built Kuh-Shur dam is 113 meter height (above lowest foundation), and 450 meters in length, which will submerge the ancient dam and surrounding archaeological sites once become operational in six months time.


The historical Jarreh Dam also known as Hormuz, is located 35 kilometres northwest of the city of Romhormoz in the Iranian southwestern province of Khuzestan in a narrow valley over Shapur or Zard (yellow) River.


The Jarreh Dam is the most intact out of the five surviving Sasanian dams in the Romhormoz region. It is 20 meters in height, and the canals which led to this historic dam used to provide water to farmlands in the neighbouring area, which were in use for a very long time.


The 17 century-old dam of Jarreh was built with such accuracy and strength that it has survived the elements and is still standing. This partly being due to the materials used in it's construction. Studies on this ancient structure revealed that egg-yolks were used in constructing the dam in addition to gypsum and lime to give it extra strength.


The Sasanian dam of Jarreh was pointlessly registered as a national heritage in 1999, and making ICHTO responsible for its protection.




Original News bulletin published in Persian by ISNA , and translated and prepared by CAIS [*]




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