UNESCO rep visits Shushtar’s ancient waterfalls

November 2, 2006 - 0:0
TEHRAN -- Program specialist of the UNESCO Office in Tehran Junko Taniguchi recently visited Shushtar’s man-made waterfalls in order to investigate the ancient structures for registration on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Persian service of CHN announced on Wednesday, quoting the Shushtar Cultural Heritage and Tourism Office (SCHTO) director.

“Ms. Taniguchi paid visits to all Shushtar’s ancient waterworks, particularly the waterfalls, which drew her admiration, while she expressed surprise at why the complex had not been proposed for registration earlier,” Mohammad-Hossein Arastuzadeh said.

The SCHTO presented the dossier of the Shushtar waterfalls to Iranian cultural officials last March for improvements. They will then hand it over to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

“The SCHTO originally planned to prepare a dossier for all Shushtar’s ancient waterworks, but these structures face some problems that might threaten the registration of the waterfalls, so we only prepared a dossier for the waterfalls,” Arastuzadeh noted.

A team of Iranian archaeologists and experts have been preparing and compiling information and documents for the dossier since 1998.

Construction of the structures, which are located near the Elamite capital Susa in Khuzestan Province, began during the Achaemenid era (about 550-331 BC) on one of the Gargar River’s tributaries and then the system was improved by the Sassanid dynasty (224-651 CE).

The structures were used as an irrigation system and encouraged cultural interactions in the region. The waterfalls presented visitors a beautiful unique landscape, enjoying a water engineering technology rare for that point in history.

The Shushtar waterfalls are among the few ancient waterworks in Iran still used for irrigation. Remnants of some of the many watermills built on the waterfalls during the Safavid era (1501-1722) still remain.