Transportation Ministry Obliged to Change Fars Railway Path
The Iranian Ministry of Transportation has officially been ordered to change path of the railway connecting Isfahan to Fars which was planned to pass close to the historic site of Naqsh-e Rostam.
Tehran, 4 December 2006 (CHN Foreign Desk) — In a meeting held this morning between authorities of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO), Iran’s Ministry of Road and Transportation, and Fars Governor Office regarding railway construction in the vicinity of the historic site of Naqsh-e Rostam, the Ministry was obliged to change the railway path in order to prevent the historic evidence of the area from destruction.
Experts had previously warned that the powerful jolts caused by trains would devastate the region’s historic monuments, mostly from the Achaemenid dynastic era (550 BC-330 BC), should the railway become operational.
Moreover, in a recent visit to the railway construction site near Naqsh-e Rostam by legal representatives from Marvadsh judiciary and the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of Fars province, the Ministry was found guilty for construction of the railway at such close proximity to the ancient site of Naqsh-e Rostam without prior coordination with ICHTO.
In the said meeting, the current map of the railroad was studied closely and ICHTO representatives once again stressed the priority of cultural heritage preservation over development projects. It was also decided to completely stop all railway construction operations close to Naqsh-e Rostam to give experts a chance to examine different possible routes for the railroad so that it would be of no threat to either Naqsh-e Rostam or the Sassanid city of Estakhr.
Experts from the three organizations will get together to find an alternative route in one month.
Construction of a railway connecting Shiraz in Fars province to the city of Isfahan started in the recent years and the embankments for the railway tracks were completed from Shiraz to Hajiabad village and from Isfahan to Marvdasht.
Experts had warned earlier that if the railroad becomes operational, the rumbling of the trains would devastate the unique Achaemenid monuments of Naqsh-e Rostam and would cause Kaba of Zoroaster to collapse in less than ten years. The project also threatens the Sassanid era bas-reliefs of Naqsh-e Rostam depicting king Shapur I’s triumph over the Roman emperor Valerian. Construction of the railway is also seen as a real threat to the world heritage site of Persepolis and could placed it in UNESCO’s endangered heritage list.