The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
(CAIS) -- The stones of the ancient city of
Persepolis requires urgent attention to be protected otherwise it will be
destroyed in less than two decades and even possibly a decade.
The penetration of rainwater inside the
platform, which has formed a large pool, as well as the severe damp have caused
the stonework to crack and crumble, particularly in the recent months, and
within a few years the whole platform will collapse.
This is mainly due to the fact that the
sewages-channels constructed by the Achaemenid engineers to direct the excess
waters outside the platform have been blocked. In addition, due to the increase
of subterranean waters generated from the lake formed behind the infamous Sivand
Dam has caused a severe rise in damp, to the extent that can be smelt and felt
in the air.
In an interview with the Persian service
of Mehr News Agency, an Iranian expert in the Cultural Heritage whose identity
remains anonymous for his safety, revealed the extent of damages to Persepolis
in the past few months.
“Rainfall is quite heavy in the area and
apart from the yearly rain falls over the platform, the rainwater from Mount
Rahmat located in the northern section of platform also flows into Persepolis.
As the result, year after year, these rain waters have gathered and turned the
120,000 sq.m., platform into a massive water reservoir. In addition, the
subterranean waters have increased and since the waters inside the platform have
no where to go, they have begun to penetrate the foundation of the structures
built over the platform and then evaporate trough the stonework”, said the
The dampness has caused chemical
weathering that has brought corrosion and decays, caused the stone masonry walls
to crack and gradually crumble. Lichens growing and salt residues have appeared
on the stones throughout Persepolis, particularly in the Treasury Hall and south
western section of the structure peculiarly called the Harem. In addition the
mud-brick structures also act as sponge and are totally wet.
As a whole, the water and dampness have
caused serious damage to stone-structure; and their erosions have affected the
detailed features, carvings of the bas-reliefs friezes the surfaces of which
have been gradually worn away layer by layer, and in some instances have
weakened and already broken away.
“In the Harem section there is no system
to take the water away, as the result, every year we are witnessing further
destruction and no one cares to do anything about it”, said the expert.
The expert added: “another main reason
for damp in the foundation is that the pebbles have been spread over the
platform so that the visitors do not walk in the mud during the winter. As the
result less water can evaporate trough the surface.”
He emphasised: “there are a number of
solutions to tackle the problem. First, clean and reopen the blocked ancient
sewage system, then create small water-channels throughout the platform to
direct the water towards them to take the water outside the platform. Also, to
separate the stonework from the mud bricks, though it is a massive task, it will
be effective to prevent passing the water to each other.”
“There is a team present at Persepolis
consisting of four geologists, conservator and restorer experts. However,
the problem is that they are good at the theory but when comes to practical
works they have no experience, and so they cause more harm than good. For
instance, the damages that have been caused to one of the parapets of the
Tripylon Hall, during the moving for repairs it was dropped and broken to
pieces, and rather than restoring it properly, they used stone glue to put them
together”, expert lamented.
In December 2010 another expert expressed
his concerns about the alarming state of Persepolis. He warmed that the
atmospheric effects and stone decay of the outer-wall situated on the left side
of the main stairway leading to the Persepolis Platform has caused three cracks
He emphasised that strengthening the wall
and restoring it is a matter of utmost urgency, since a small tremor will cause
the outer-wall to collapse. No measure has been taken to rectify the issue.
Experts warned the twenty-five century old
citadel with its grandiose palaces will be destroyed less than a decade, if no
immediate measures are taken against the environmental and manmade threats.
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