The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
(CAIS) -- Once again pre-Islamic Iranian heritage
faces destruction, this time the victim is the famous historical platform known
as the Anahita Temple, in the township of Kangavar in Kermanshah Province.
The damages have been caused by construction activities including excavations for concrete-footings on the ancient platform, reported the Persian service of Mehr News on Sunday.
The construction has outraged
archaeologists and cultural enthusiasts who are voicing their concerns over the
The construction work at the site has
begun despite the fact that the heritage regulations ban any constructions on or
around cultural heritage sites, though Islamic Republic is no stranger to
ignoring this law.
The Islamic Republic’s authorities are also refusing to comment on the issue.
When Mehr News agency reporter asked
Zeinoldini the director of Kangavar Cultural Heritage Department about the
destruction of the site, he refused to comment, responded “the order came from
the top to not give any information, and you should contact the ICHTHO’s
Public Relation Office to obtain the information.”
This is not the first time however the
pre-Islamic Iranian heritage is threatened by new constructions. Since the
Islamic Republic came to power in 1979, pre-Islamic Iranian heritage has
suffered extensively and many historical sites have been destroyed under the
guise of development projects.
The biggest of them all is the notorious
Sivand Dam in Fars province, which submerged over 137 archaeological sites,
including an Achaemenid dynastic (550-330 BCE) palace denoted to Darius the
Great; a section of the Achaemenid Imperial Road; a Parthian cemetery and a
Sasanian dynastic wine workshop. In addition, the humidity that is generated
from the artificial lake has affected the structural-integrity of the Pasargadae
the first capital of Achaemenid dynasty.
Many Iranians and cultural institutions including CAIS, believe the regime’s main objective for building the Sivand dam was a gradual destruction of Pasargadae and particularly the mausoleum of Cyrus the Great as the result of high humidity levels in the area.
The historical figure of the Cyrus the
Great is placed on the top of the Islamic Regime leaders’ hate list. He who is
considered by Iranians as the ‘Father of the Nation’ has been under constant
attack and name-callings, simply because Iranians have great respect and deep
warm feelings for the benevolent ancient Iranian king.
With the current ongoing uprising in Iran,
and new hopes for the fall of the theocratic-totalitarian regime on the horizon,
Iranians archaeologists and cultural enthusiasts believe the first task of the
new regime in power, is an immediate decommissioning of a number of dams built
to target pre-Islamic Iranian heritage sites.
The proposed date for the construction of
the Anahita Temple is circa 200 BCE, thus placing it as the oldest surviving
stone structure from the Parthian dynasty (248BCE - 224CE) in Iran-proper.
The platform covers 4,600 sq.m,
constructed over a mound 32-meters high, and is claimed to have been a temple
dedicated to the Zoroastrian deity ‘Aredvi
Sura Anahita’ (Arədvī Sūrā Anāhitā),
venerated as the divinity of 'the Waters' (Aban), associated with fertility,
healing, purity and wisdom.
Since its construction, the ancient structure
underwent numerous major reconstruction periods continuing into 19th
century, and until detailed further excavations are to be carried out, no
definite judgments may be declared on its function.
With the recent
invasion and destruction of the site, obtaining and establishing the exact date
or the function of the structure sinks further into ambiguity.
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