Iran estimating flood damage to its historical sites, monuments

April 9, 2019

TEHRAN – A number of Iran’s age-old cultural heritage sites and monuments have been affected by heavy rainfall, flash floods and extreme weather in various parts of the country in the past weeks.

Mohammad-Hassan Talebian, a deputy for the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, told reporters on Sunday that in Lorestan province, damages add up to more than 500 billion rials (nearly $12 million) in the area of cultural heritage, while other provinces are also estimating the amount of losses. 

A total of 730 historical structures have been suffered from the recent floods in 25 provinces, Talebian said, adding, based on surveys conducted so far, they need a credit worth of 3 trillion rials (around $71 million) to be rehabilitated, ISNA reported on Monday.

In the wake of the floodwaters, cracks on the ancient reliefs in Naqsh-e Rustam in Fars province were widening in a critical way. Naqsh-e Rustam, six kilometers from the Persepolis, is an ancient necropolis that includes several relics and monuments such as rock-hewn tombs of four of Persian Achaemenid kings who reigned Persian Empire from 550-330 BC.

Waterfall made by the floods have washed away parts of the relics across Iran.

According to Talebian, the UNESCO-registered Persepolis remains intact as its ancient water ducts have drained flood water.

Reports say that parts of the Great Wall of Gorgan, that Iran hopes to get it registered on the UNESCO World Heritage list, has been damaged. The northern wall was built during the Sassanid period (224 CE - 651) to ward off invaders from Central Asia.

Talebian also broke the news about rising moisture in the one-millennium-old Gonbad-e Qabus in Golestan province, saying that the CHHTO is monitoring the situation. The Tower is one of the tallest brick towers in the world.

Recent floods have slightly damaged Aq-Qala bridge in the north and UNESCO-tagged Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System in the southwest.

Other sites, including the UNESCO-registered Tchogha Zanbil are being monitored by the Organization, the official said. The magnificent ruins of Tchogha Zanbil is amongst the topmost tourist attractions in southwest Iran as it is considered by many the finest surviving example of the Elamite architecture in the globe.

AFM/MQ/MG

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