Visually impaired people toured Khuzestan attractions

November 16, 2021 - 20:30

TEHRAN – Khuzestan has hosted a group of 20 visually impaired people on a tour across the southwestern province. 

“The blind tourists, who came from different cities throughout the province, visited UNESCO-listed Tchogha Zanbil, the archaeological site Haft Tappeh and an eco-lodge unit on Sunday,” a provincial tourism official, Peyman Nabhani, said on Tuesday. 

“The tour was organized by the province’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department in collaboration with the association of the blind as well as several tourism activists,” the official added.

A special focus of the tour was paying attention to the disabled, including their participation in tourism activities and institutionalizing the culture of tourism, he noted. 

To ensure that such experiences continue, tour guides and travel agencies should offer blind tourists audible, touchable and movable tours and visits, he explained. 

They should also prepare Braille brochures and models of the works that will be visited to help the blind learn about monuments and historical sites, he noted. 

Furthermore, the official noted that blind people should be offered these tours so that they can achieve confidence, experience adventure, and enjoy the pleasures of traveling.

UNESCO-registered Tchogha Zanbil, which is a ruined prehistoric ziggurat and a top tourist destination in southwest Iran, is widely known as the world’s best surviving example of Elamite architecture. The ruined ziggurat stands in Khuzestan province, southwest Iran. It was made a UNESCO site in 1979.

According to UNESCO, Tchogha Zanbil is the largest ziggurat outside of Mesopotamia and the best preserved of this type of stepped pyramidal monument. Lonely Planet says that even if you’re not a fan of ancient ruins, the great bulk and splendid semi-desert isolation of the site can’t fail to impress. Try to catch it in the soft, golden light of late afternoon rather than the harsh midday sun.

The ziggurat is located approximately 30 km southeast of Shush and 80 km north of Ahvaz. Reaching a total height of some 25m, the gigantic monument was used to be surmounted by a temple and estimated to hit 52m during its heyday. Tchogha Zanbil was excavated in six seasons between 1951 and 1961 by Roman Ghirshman, a Russian-born French archeologist who was specialized in ancient Iran.

Ziggurats, in general, are pyramidal stepped temple towers that bear architectural and religious characteristics of the major cities of Mesopotamia from approximately 2200 until 500 BC. They were usually built with a core of mud brick and an exterior covered with baked brick. Approximately 25 ziggurats are known, being equally divided among Sumer, Babylonia, and Assyria.

Haft-Tappeh (literary meaning “Seven Mounds”) is located 15 kilometers to the south of the ancient city of Susa, itself a highly significant archeological site in southwest Iran.

Early excavations in Haft-Tappeh conducted by the late Iranian archaeologist Dr. Ezzatollah Negahban yielded a large number of petroglyphs bearing cuneiform inscriptions in Akkadian, belonging to Elamite kings. The petroglyphs contain information on the religious beliefs, trading methods, and the political, cultural, and social relations of the time.

The site first drew attention to itself when parts of a brick wall and a vault were found during a construction project in the area. Early archeological studies showed that the site housed the world's oldest vault built over the tomb of Tepti-Ahar, the last ruler of the Kidinuid period (1460-1400 BC). 

Khuzestan is home to three UNESCO World Heritage sites of Susa, Tchogha Zanbil, and Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System yet it is a region of raw beauty where its visitors could spend weeks exploring. The province is also a cradle for handicrafts and arts whose crafters inherited from their preceding generations.

Lying at the head of the Persian Gulf and bordering Iraq on the west, Khuzestan was settled about 6000 BC by a people with affinities to the Sumerians, who came from the Zagros Mountains region. Urban centers appeared there nearly contemporaneously with the first cities in Mesopotamia in the 4th millennium. Khuzestan, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, came to constitute the heart of the Elamite kingdom, with Susa as its capital.


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