Officials Mum on Destruction of Susa Cultural Heritage
LONDON, (CAIS) -- Iranian cultural officials have chosen to remain silent on the threat posed by the Amir Zargar hotel project to Susa as the project owner is still continuing to build the hotel at the perimeter of the ancient city.
In early September 2008, an official of the Shush Cultural Heritage Center (SCHC) said that the project had been banned following a series of investigations by experts.
“Despite all objections (from cultural heritage enthusiasts), the owner of the hotel has fenced off the area and plans to finish the project before any new demarcation is determined for the site,” Khuzestan Cultural Heritage Lovers Society (Taryana) spokesman Mojtaba Gahestuni told the Persian service of CHN on Tuesday.
Gahestuni has even accused the Khuzestan Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department (KCHTHD) and the SCHC of supporting the project.
According to a reliable source who preferred to remain anonymous, the owner has no economic justification for building the hotel, so he plans to convert it into a trade center after it is completed.
Gahestuni said that SCHC officials who have previously visited the area upon which the hotel is being built, insist that there are no significant ancient strata at the site.
Meanwhile, another hotel construction project named Laleh is also in dispute at the site. The project began with an excavation of 100x100 meters in area and 6 meters in depth.
Construction of the hotels began in 2007 but both were halted shortly thereafter as a result of objections raised by media and cultural heritage enthusiasts.
The hotel construction projects provoked a debate over the precise location of the perimeter of Susa.
Consequently, a team led by archaeologist Mohammad-Taqi Ataii made 61 excavations at Susa and determined a 1200-hectare perimeter for the city, as 32 of the digs resulted in the discovery of ancient strata.
The previous demarcation, which had been carried out decades before, determined a 400-hectare perimeter for Susa.