Qajar-era crypt unearthed while digging at house yard in northwest Iran

June 19, 2020 - 22:2

TEHRAN – A historical crypt, supposed to date from the Qajar era (1789–1925), has recently been unearthed in the city of Urmia in northwest Iran while workers were digging in the yard of a house.

“A historical crypt, belonging to the Qajar period, has recently been discovered during a grading and site preparation at the yard of an old residential house located in the historical district of Urmia, [the capital of West Azarbaijan province],” provincial tourism chief Jalil Jabbari announced on Thursday.

“The excavation operation was started at the house, under the supervision of cultural heritage experts after its owner was granted a building permit within the historical context of Urmia,” the official explained.

“Accordingly, the excavation operation was stopped as soon as the crypt showed up. So archeological studies and architectural surveys could be carried out at the site.”

“[Initial] studies have shown that this crypt belongs to the Qajar period…. A memorandum of understanding has been signed with the owner of the building to facilitate steps to [possibly] restore or putting the monument on the National Cultural Heritage list,” Jabbari noted.

A crypt (from Latin crypta “vault”) is traditionally a stone chamber beneath the floor of a religious place of worship or other building. It typically contains coffins, sarcophagi, or religious relics. Originally, crypts were typically found below the main apse of a church, such as at the Abbey of Saint-Germain en Auxerre, but were later located beneath chancel, naves and transepts as well.


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