Earthquake and historic sites in Iran


A powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck western Iran late on Sunday November 12, causing relatively minor damage to several historic and heritage sites in Kermanshah and Ilam provinces.

“It slightly damaged five historical sites including a Safavid-era caravanserai and a Sassanid-era fortress in the counties of Qasr-e Shirin, Sarpol-e Zahab and Dalahu in Kermanshah province while assessing the damage is still ongoing,” CHTN quoted Jalil Baalai, the provincial tourism chief, as saying on Monday.

The Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicraft Department dispatched several cultural heritage task forces to determine the extent of [possible] damage to each monument, the official said, adding “The five sites can be restored.”

UNESCO-registered sites of Bisotun and Taq-e Bostan went unhurt, ISNA quoted Baalai as saying. 

Bisotun features a life-size bas-relief carving that depicts Achaemenid king Darius I and several other figures while Taq-e Bostan meaning “Arch of the Garden” is home to series of large rock reliefs from Sassanid era.

A historical palace was sold for a nominal price


Amongst the turmoil of the presidential election in the Islamic Republic of Iran, The Motazefan Foundation, a government-related entity, has recently sold the “Gach-sar Palace” to one of the regime’s insiders for a mere price of about $300,000. Experts put a much higher price on the property and believe that a historical landmark has been sold out by the Islamic functionaries.

The historic “Gach-sar Palace” belonged to Reza Shah Pahlavi and was registered under #6575, as a national monument and, thus, was owned by the Iranian nation and no one could sell it as a private property.

Gach-sar Palace,” with its fine and unique architecture and ornamented plaster work was built in 1938 together with the first important railroad Tunnel of Iran in Kandovan region and Reza Shah, spending ample time there, used it as a surveillance station, overseeing the construction of the tunnel.

The remainders of an ancient city on the verge of extinction


sasanian-bridgeOn Wednesday November 24, and during a seminar on “The place of clay works in Iranian arts and architecture, coviened by te invitation of Azad University of Dezful, Mr. Habib Asefi, the governor of Dezful, in southern Iran, announced that the old parts of this historic city, covering 200 acres, is being demolished.
Dezful is an ancient city that contains some of the unique and beautiful samples of pre-Islamic and especially Sassanid period of Iranian history. Mr.Nasser Khorrami, the dean of the Azad University, while presenting some of more famous historic sites of the city, including a 1700 years old bridge, water mills, and the Choghamish Hill (where is recognized as the birth place of written texts), told the seminar that if these unique sites would not be preserved, the county would lose some important parts of its historical identity.
old-historic-cityThe Historical Heritage Organization has announced that it has is no budget for preservation of the old sections of Dezful city and needs the contributions of the private sector. This is parallel to the fact that the same organization has spent large sums of money to repair the mosque and preserve Shiite sites, creating a clear discrimination against pre-Islamic period of the country’s history. Thus, with the lack of any budget to save the historic sections of Dezful, the demise of such historic sites had gain an ever-increasing speed.

Pink Lake Turned Into a Vast Salt Desert


Including 3 new pictures of  Maharloo (August 2015)
by Farzad Arian.

Maharlo-farzad-aryan1“Maharloo” or “Pink lake”, located 27 kilometers southeast of Shiraz, Iran, and considered as a beautiful salt lake that was flourishing with abundance volume of water just a few years ago has now have completely dried up and turned into a vast salt desert. Experts contribute this situation to the plan-less use of underground water resources and un-regulated building of dams over the rivers that use to end in the lake. Unfortunately, Maharloo is only one of the last additions to a long list of rivers and lakes that have died or are dying due to such careless exercises.

Maharloo, photographed in 2011


Maharloo, August 2015

 Maharlo-farzad-aryan3 Maharlo-farzad-aryan2