The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
(CAIS) -- Despite
frequent warnings by the experts, one of the most unique Parthian sites in
Iran-proper known as the Kuh-e Khajeh (Parthian Ushida) remains in danger of
total destruction, and the cultural authorities have not take any action to
ensure its protection.
with the Persian service of ISNA on Wednesday, Rasul Haj-Mousavi, the director
of Sistan’ Cultural Heritage Base (SCHB) said: “the daily destruction of the
unique Parthian site has become very serious. [Saving] the site should become a
matter of concern for Iran Cultural Heritage and Organisation (ICHTO), and [its
protection] should be considered as a national programme.”
said the two main difficulties that SCHB is facing are, “ICHTO would not
follow the SCHB’s recommendation, when comes to prioritising the sites in the
province for allocating the necessary budget, and also the lack of manpower.
SCHB is a very large archaeological base, with no manpower.”
recommended the protection of Khuh-e Khwajeh should become the priority and
called for allocation of the whole of next years budget to save the site.
added “a strong team of experts needed to conduct necessary work including
surveying, cataloguing and damage-studies, which should lead to a
sign of protest, Haj-Mosavi has submitted his resignation to ICHTO a few months
ago, which was turned down. He submits his resignation for the second time.
2006, Mohammadali Ebrahimi, the director of Sistan and Baluchestan province's
Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department asserted that the area badly needs
vegetation to neutralize the destructive impacts of the strong winds, which
occur for four months of the year with speeds reaching 120 km per hour. Despite
his warnings in August 2006 one of the eastern walls of the palace has
While the Iranian heritage sites are in desperate need of funding in order to be rescued from total destruction, the Islamic Republic is spending billions of dollars of the Iranian assets every year in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq. In June 2008, Iran Focus revealed that the regime spends $2.5B every year on activities in Iraq, in which a fraction of the money that is being spent for futile aims could be used to save thousands of heritage sites like Kuh-e Khajeh.
Khwajeh, also spelled Kuh-e Khajeh, Kuh-i Khaja, is a flat-topped black basalt
mountain located 30 km southwest of the town of Zabol and is located on an
island in the middle of Hamun lake, in the Iranian province of Sistan and
trapezoid-shaped basalt lava, situated 609 meters from the sea level, with a
diameter ranging from 2.0 to 2.5 kilometers covering an area of 40,000 square
meters, is the only natural height left behind the Sistan area. It is here we
can find a citadel with palaces, fire temple, a pilgrimage centre and graveyard.
Also there are number of small temples (possibly Mithraist or Anahit), known to
the locals as the "Kouchakchal Ganjeh".
Khwajeh historical complex is one of the most significant archaeological sites
in Iran and the biggest model of unbaked mud brick architecture remaining in
Sistan region, which dates back to the Parthian dynasty (248 BCE-224 CE).
site was identified by A. Stein, E. Herzfeld, and was investigated in part by G.
Gullini in a short expedition conducted in the 1960. According to his findings
the palace and the fire temple were already in existence in the Parthian period.
The ruins on the southern slope, dates back to 1st century BCE and it is still
known as Kuk-u Kohzadh.
discovered a Buddhist monastery at Mth. Khajeh in 1916. Roman Ghirshman pointed
out that the art of Mth. Khajeh predates Gandhara art which disproves the widely
accepted notion that Buddhism spread from Nepal or Eastern India, and it claimed
that Mth. Khajeh was Kapilavastu, the birthplace of Gotama.
clearly shows that Buddhism was born in Iran but was later nurtured in modern
India, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Khwajeh Mountain Complex is greatly respected by followers of the three faiths
of Zoroastrian, Christianity and Islam and considered as a holy place. The
mountain has been named after the mausoleum of "Khwajeh Mehdi", one of
the sympathizers of Alavi rulers, which is situated on this mountain, often
referred under its Islamic name Kuh-i Ushida.
and by far the most important structure of the site is an ancient fortress found
on the eastern slope, referred to under various connotations such as Rostam’s
castle, the Kāferūn castle, Kohan-Dež, etc.
murals decorated the walls of the fortress, few of which have survived.
Recently, a complete documentation of the site was carried out. In addition,
partial restoration and fortification of the castle were conducted on its walls
Sistan, known as the birthplace of Iranian hero Rostam, has very strong associations with Zoroastrianism. According to Zoroastrian mythology, Lake Hamun was the keeper of the Prophet Zoroaster's seed. And when the world’s end is at hand, three maidens will enter the lake, and afterwards will give birth to the messiah known as the Saoshyant, who will then be the "final saviour" of mankind.
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