Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System closed amid safety concerns

November 14, 2021 - 18:43

TEHRAN – The UNESCO-registered Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System has been closed to visitors amid safety concerns after its western side was announced to be “unstable”.

“Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System was closed to the public until further notice due to the unstable conditions of the western wall,” Mehr reported on Sunday.

“Cultural heritage experts have warned for years about the instability of this part of the World Heritage,” the report said.

Earlier in October, a local official announced that leakage of the site, which is known globally as a masterpiece of creative genius, is an immediate concern and needs to be restored. “To prevent water leakage in the historical structure, which could result in its destruction, short-term measures are taken,” the official said, Mehr reported.

Studies and research are being conducted and meetings with consulting engineers are underway to find a way to cause the least damage to this ensemble, the official added.

The ancient hydraulic system comprises bridges, weirs, tunnels, canals, and a series of ancient watermills powered by human-made waterfalls. It is named after an ancient city of the same name with its history dating back to the time of Darius the Great, the Achaemenid king.

Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2009, the Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System may testify to the heritage and the synthesis of earlier Elamite and Mesopotamian knowhow. According to UNESCO, the ensemble was probably influenced by the Petra dam and tunnel and by Roman civil engineering.

The property is as rich in its diversity of civil engineering structures and its constructions as in the diversity of its uses (urban water supply, mills, irrigation, river transport, and defensive system). The Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System testifies to the heritage and the synthesis of earlier Elamite and Mesopotamian knowhow; it was probably influenced by the Petra dam and tunnel and by Roman civil engineering.

“The hydraulic system has been considered a Wonder of the World not only by the Persians but also by the Arab-Muslims at the peak of their civilization,” according to the UN cultural body.

Furthermore, one of its main canals is a veritable artificial watercourse that made possible the construction of a new town and the irrigation of a vast plain, at the time semi-desert.

UNESCO says that the Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System demonstrates outstanding universal value as in its present form, it dates from the 3rd century CE, probably on older bases from the 5th century BC. It is complete, with numerous functions, and large-scale, making it exceptional.

AFM

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