Millennia-old Great Wall of Gorgan on verge of destruction

October 10, 2020 - 20:0

TEHRAN- Remnants of the Sassanid-era (224 CE–651) Great Wall of Gorgan, a national heritage which is regarded as the longest brick wall in the world, are at the risk of destruction, IRNA reported on Saturday.

Situated in the city of Gorgan, the capital of northern Golestan province, the defensive wall is about 200 km in length and it was built to prevent the invasion of the northern tribes. It is said to be the longest architectural work of ancient Iran, which was built in 90 years.

While the city’s cultural heritage officials are making efforts to register the historic structure on the World Heritage List, the slow but continuous destruction of the wall by farmers and owners of agricultural lands in the region has put the wall in serious danger, the report added.

Also known as Red Wall, which in some ancient texts is referred to as the Red Snake, this wall is the longest brick wall in the world and the third-largest wall in the world after the walls of China and Germany.

Archaeological excavations have so far identified ditches, brick kilns, earthen dams, water canals, 38 castles, and watchtowers attached to the wall and more than 25 castles in the southern margin of the wall as well as several ancient sites from prehistoric, historic, and Islamic eras.

Due to the outbreak of coronavirus and the reduction in the number of the domestic and foreign tourists, the province’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Department has launched online visits and virtual tours of the province’s historical sites, and in this regard, a documentation project has commenced on the Great Wall of Gorgan, provincial tourism chief Ahmad Tajari said.

However, in recent years, as a result of poor monitoring and control, hundreds of thousands of bricks of this historic wall, which has been buried for thousands of years, were looted for the construction of residential buildings in the surrounding areas.

The Great Wall of Gorgan was added to the National Heritage list in 1999.

Golestan is reportedly embracing some 2,500 historical and natural sites, with UNESCO-registered Gonbad-e Qabus – a one-millennium-old brick tower – amongst its most famous.

ABU/MG

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