Pasargadae Will Never Drown


September 16, 2005

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Recently we posted about The Islamic Republic of Iran having embarked on the finalizing stages of a dam construction in south of Iran that would have ultimately drowned the archeological sites of Pasargad and Persepolice. There was a lot of media attention to this and we are happy to note that CHN has addressed this issue. Here is a press release from them…

CHIN Reports…..

These days a widespread rumor is heard among Iranians and culture lovers around the world that the historical sites of Pasargadae and Persepolis will be drowned after Sivand dam is put into service.

But considering the distance of the dam and its reservoir perimeters all the

rumors are totally dismissed,

and the safety of the world heritage sites guaranteed.

[Previous post on Parsi Khabar]

[cross posted on news views and analysis]

Tehran, 12 September 2005 (CHN) –

Sivand dam project has been one of the most sensational development projects in Iran due to cultural heritage issues. After being flooded, it will drown Bolaghi Gorge with 130 historical remains, however, the damn is not a threat to the historical sites of Pasargadae and Persepolis.

The rumor of drowning of Pasargadae and Persepolis actually started abroad Iran, by some opposition groups who want to take political advantages of the situation by exaggerating and manipulating the reality. They have claimed that by the dam being flooded, not only the historical site of Morghab plain will be drowned, but also Cyrus Tomb and Persepolis will be drowned forever. The claim has caused many serious worries around the world, initiating even a cyber petition against the flooding.

CHN has talked with some Iranian officials concerned with the situation. Mohamad Hassan Talebian, director of Parse-Pasargadae Research Center, explains, “The perimeters of the lake behind the dam at its largest reach 7 kilometers from Pasargadae site [9 kilometers from Cyrus Monument], and Persepolis which is ten times farther, is located 70 kilometers from the lake. Therefore, there are no threats to these two historical sites.”

“The humidity changes which will be caused by the flooding of the dam may be a threat to Pasargadae. But we can not yet be sure about that,” he adds.

According to Talebian, after the dam is flooded, humidity levels will be measured and then, exact remarks can be given on the humidity and its threats to the site.

Another issue that can help eliminate the worries is the existence of a big mountain between Sivand dam and Pasargadae, a mountain through which Bolaghi Gorge passes.

Masud Azarnoosh, director of Iran’s Archaeology Research Center, told CHN about the mountain. “There is a mountain in between the dam and Pasargadae which separates the Sivand dam and Pasargadae plain. Bolaghi Gorge passes through this mountain, and it is the site that will be drowned with its 130 historical remains. The geology and archaeology studies indicate that the level of the water in this part is 20 meters below the Cyrus Tomb, and that the tomb is located 9 kilometers from the dam. Considering such a distance we can say for sure that there is no threat that Pasargadae will be drowned,” Azarnoosh said.

Referring to the letters sent to the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran, he appreciated people’s concern about the issue, and assured them that considering the 70-kilometer distance of Persepolis from the dam lake, there are no threats to this historical site.

Regarding the threat of humidity changes for Persepolis, he explained that, since there is a big mountain between Sivand dam and Persepolis, most probably the humidity will not cause as much harm to the Persepolis, but nothing is sure yet.

After all, the bitter part is that after the dam is flooded, the Bolaghi Gorge with 130 historical remains will be drowned for sure which include parts of the ancient King’s Road as well.

During the past months eight international teams have been excavating the site to save some parts of the evidence before the flooding of the dam which according to Seyed Mohamad Beheshti, director of the Research Center of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization, this is the first time that eight international groups are working together to save a historical site of Iran.

“How can a country that is right now holding an exhibition of its Achaemenid empire in the British Museum be so neglectful of an important national heritage such as Persepolis and Pasargadae and let them be drowned,” said Beheshti, expressing his surprise of some people making rumors without having proper information on the matter.

The 18-kilometer Bolaghi Gorge, located in Fars province, has been according to some experts the passage way of King’s Road, the most ancient road of Iran. Some evidence from the cave dwelling period and settlements dating to the prehistoric times to the Islamic period are found in the site as well.