Historical sites demarcated in West Azarbaijan to curb illegal digging, land grabbing

September 25, 2020 - 21:3

TEHRAN – Nearly all historical and archaeological sites in northern parts of West Azarbaijan province have recently been demarcated in a bid to restrict illegal digging and land grabbing, CHTN reported on Wednesday.

“The reason for carrying out this project was due to the fact that in recent years, the amount of encroachment and occupation of (local) residents into the surrounding areas of the [ancient] hills were increasing greatly,” said archaeologist Leila Gargari, wholed the project.

“The project was carried out due to the fact that in recent years encroachment and trespassing by (local) residents into the surrounding areas of the [ancient] hills has increased greatly,” Gargari noted.

Elsewhere in her remarks, the archaeologist announced the termination of another archaeological project conducted on the eastern side of the centuries-old Jameh Mosque of Urmia that stands tall at the provincial capital. Last year, excavations were carried out on this side of the mosque, leading to the discovery of artifacts which were similar to the remains of the stone pillars that currently exists at shabestan of the mosque.

Consequently, a theory that the currently-existing shabestan would once have existed on other sides of the mosque is strengthened, according to experts. Shabestan is an underground space that can be usually found in Iran's traditional mosques, houses, and schools.

The provincial capital of Urmia, also spelled Orumiyeh, lies just west of Lake Urmia on a large fertile plain that yields grains, fruits, tobacco, and other crops. The population is mainly Azeri Turkish, with Kurdish, Assyrian Christian, and Armenian minorities. The remains of ancient settlements are scattered over the plain, as are traces of the ancient kingdom of Urartu.

AFM/MG

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