Fire incident causes no harm to historical Susa

June 14, 2020 - 23:9

TEHRAN – A fire broke out at the UNESCO-registered site of Susa in the southwestern Khuzestan province on Friday, but fortunately the incident has inflicted no damage to the historical site.    

Susa was once the capital of the Elamite Empire and later an administrative capital of the Achaemenian king Darius I and his successors from 522 BC.

Part of Susa is still inhabited as Shush on a strip of land between the rivers Shaour (a tributary of the Karkheh) and Dez.

Weed growth and dry vegetation, as well as heat and wind, caused the fire, cultural heritage expert Mohammad Darvishi said on Sunday, ISNA reported.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country and the lockdown of the historical sites, the small number of employees, who attended their workplace in the site, couldn’t monitor the whole area every day, he added.  

Although the volume of fire was too high due to strong winds, it was contained and successfully extinguished by firefighters, he concluded.

Earlier last week, fires broke out at the ancient Hegmataneh Hill in the west-central Iranian province of Hamedan and Rab’-e Rashidi, a 14th-century educational complex in northwestern East Azarbaijan province.

In both incidents, fire inflicted no damages to the historical sites and dry vegetation and hot weather were announced as the causes of fire.

It seems that the way these historical sites are managed and maintained needs to be reconsidered because even if the fire did not cause any damage to them, according to the officials, it has certainly destroyed their visual beauty, which is not good for the tourism industry of the country.

Excavations have uncovered evidence of continual habitation dating back since about 5000 BC. The earliest urban structures there date around 4000 BC.

According to UNESCO, “the excavated architectural monuments include administrative, residential, and palatial structures” and the site contains several layers of urban settlement dating from the 5th millennium BC through the 13th century CE.

Relics unearthed from the region demonstrates that even the earliest potteries and ceramics in Susa were of unsurpassed quality, decorated with birds, mountain goats, and other animals designs.

After the fall of the Achaemenid empire and the reign of Alexander the Great, who married in Susa, the city became part of the Seleucid empire. It was now called Seleucia on the Eulaeus. A palace in Greek style was erected, next to Darius’ palace. The administrative center, however, was in the southern part of the city, where nearly all Greek and Parthian inscriptions were discovered. In the Parthian age, the city minted coins.


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