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Vandals Smash Achaemenid Column Bases of Susa's Apadana Palace


06 January 2008



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  Pictures courtesy of Persian Service of CHN

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LONDON, (CAIS) -- Column bases of the Achaemenid Apadana Palace of ancient Susa in Khuzestan Province have recently been demolished by vandals.


The palace’s remaining column bases have been broken into two pieces and the Old-Persian cuneiform inscriptions on the base have been obliterated, the Khuzestan Cultural Heritage Lovers Society (Tariana) spokesman Mojtaba Gahestuni told the Persian service of CHN on Sunday.


The stone inscriptions have been severed and scattered around the ancient archaeological site, he added.


“The reason for the destruction of the artefacts is not clear,” Gahestuni remarked, adding, “The incident probably results from the vandals’ ignorance of the historical significance of the relics.”


He went on to say that many problems are caused by the lack of protection and appropriate fencing around the site which covers about 360 hectares.


“The Khuzestan Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department (KCHTHD) undertook the installation of rods around the zone, but the measure was inadequate and has not prevented unauthorized people from entering the precinct,” Gahestuni explained.


According to Gahestuni, the use of concrete and iron rods for demarcation purposes has even led to some damage to the area.


The Apadana Palace is also being threatened by the construction of a preparatory school on its perimeter.


In early December, Tariana sent letters to the Islamic regime’s president Mahmud Ahmadinejad, asking him put a stop to the project – but the letter not so surprisingly was ignored.


The school building, which is to be four stories tall, will spoil the horizontal view from the palace ruins.


In addition, the historical metropolis of Susa, which has been inhabited for over 7000 years, is being spoilt by regime’s Municipality’s construction of a passenger bus terminal in the Shush city’s southern section. 


Experts have previously given warning of the chaotic situation at the site, pointing out that such disorder has facilitated the illegal activities of smugglers who have managed to carry out excavations in search of antiquities.


“Although some have claimed who try to be politically correct, that the vandalism was done out of ignorance, but everyone knows that it was done on purpose – the evidence is the razing of the Old-Persian cuneiform inscription from the base”, said an archaeologists with KCHTHD who wished to remain anonymous for his safety.


Same archaeologist added: “this crime against our national heritage either was done by the regime's elements, who are against anything Iranian in particular pre-Islamic, or the Arab settlers of the province, who are anti-Iranians and have always acted as a fifth column in our country, esp during the Iran-Iraq war – which the Islamic regime has increased their numbers since 1980s”.



Historical background:

Susa is one of the oldest-known settlements in the world, which possibly was founded about 4200 BCE, although the first traces of an inhabited village have been dated to ca. 7000 BCE.


In historic times, Susa was the primary capital of the Elamite Empire, and was known as Šušan and Šušun. The city appears in the Sumerian records of Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, and it is described as one of the places obedient to Inanna, patron deity of Uruk.


Cyrus the Great incorporated Susa to the Achaemnid Persian Empire in 538 BCE, and later under his son Cambyses II, the capital of the dynastic Empire was moved from Pasargadae to Susa. The city lost some of its importance when Alexander of Macedon sacked and looted the city in 331 BCE. After Alexander, Susa fell to his successors, the Seleucids. The city was finally liberated by the third Iranian dynasty, the Parthians who made Susa as one of their capitals alongside Ctesiphon.


Susa was destroyed at least four times in its’ history. The first was in 647 BCE, by the Assyrian king, Assurbanipal; the second destruction took place in 331BCE by Alexander; the third destruction was done in 338 CE, by the Moslem’s invading armies. Finally, in 1218, the city was completely destroyed by invading Mongols. The ancient city was gradually abandoned in the years that followed - and now its' remains witnesses the last blow to its existence by the Islamic regime and Arab settlers of the province.



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Extracted From/Source*: Mehr News - Edited by Shapour Suren-Pahlav


*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, transparent, accurate and suitable for academics and cultural enthusiasts who visit the CAIS website.


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