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Latest Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


Part of ancient Iranian water system structure in Shushtar collapsed


14 February 2011



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LONDON, (CAIS) -- A part of the ancient water system of canals, tunnels and waterfalls in Shushtar has collapsed as a result of lack of attention from the Khuzestan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation (KCHTO). The Islamic regime claimed the damages caused as the result of excessive rainfalls.


The collapse occurred in the Gargar Bridge, one of the 13 parts of the water system, which has been registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2009.


No action has been taken to prevent more collapses as the destruction continues, the Khuzestan Cultural Heritage Lovers Society (Tariana) spokesman Mojtaba Gahestuni told the Persian service of the Mehr News Agency on Sunday.


A part of the Gargar collapsed two years ago due to deterioration as well as cars driving over the bridge, he said.


“Now, even the people walking over the bridge are causing damage to the structure,” he warned.


He urged establishing an international committee to work on preventing more destruction to the ancient water system, which may also be added to the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger, because of the destruction.


The man-made Shushtar waterfalls are located near the ancient city of Susa in Khuzestan Province. Construction of the structures began during the Achaemenid dynasty (550-33 BCE) on one of the Gargar River’s tributaries and the system was then improved and expanded by the Sasanian dynasty (224-651 CE).


The waterworks are comprised of bridges, dams, mills, aquifers, reservoirs, tunnels, and canals, most of which were constructed in the Sassanid period especially during the reign of Emperor Shapur I (241-272 CE).


The structures were used as an irrigation system and encouraged cultural interactions within the region. The waterfalls presented visitors with a beautiful and unique landscape, while enjoying the results of hydraulic engineering technology rare at that point in history.


The Shushtar waterfalls are among the few ancient water systems in Iran used for irrigating the Shushtar plain.


Despite the numerous previous warnings from cultural figures no action was taken to prevent the ancient structure from destruction. It is believed the Islamic republic purposely ignored the warnings to ensure its destruction as the structure is pre-Islamic Iranian heritage. The local authority of the province blamed the destruction on the lack of budget. This is while the Islamic Republic recently spent $10,000,000 on 230kg gold to cover the domes of the tomb of a Shi’a Imam in Iraq, which has nothing to do with Iranians or Iranian heritage.             


It is greatly feared Persepolis will have the same fate as Shushtra Water Systems as experts have recently warned the edifice is danger of immanent collapse.






Original news bulletin published by Mehr News  rectified and edited by CAIS [*]





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