Railway Construction near Naqsh-e Rostam Stopped

Following strong oppositions made by Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) with construction of railway near Naqsh-e Rostam, security guard of ICHHTO has stopped the construction operations.

Tehran, 22 August 2007 (CHN Foreign Desk) – Activities of Isfahan-Shiraz railway construction in a close distance of Naqsh-e Rostam historic site have been stopped due to oppositions raised by cultural heritage authorities.

According to reports released by Marvdasht’s Cultural Heritage Enthusiasts, the activities of road construction machines which were present in the area for building the infrastructure for railway construction have been stopped by Persepolis cultural heritage guards.

Based on the same report, authorities of Persepolis security guard have declared the activities of Isfahan-Shiraz workers just in 500 meters of Naqshe Rostam historic site illegal and following the disagreement of ICHHTO with the project it has stopped railway construction activities.

After examining the path of Isfahan-Shiraz railway, Technical Council of ICHHTO officially announced its final decision to Iran’s Ministry of Road and Transportation about the maximum distance which the railway should be constructed from Naqsh-e Rostam to cause the least harm to this historic site.

Experts of ICHHTO have previously warned that the powerful jolts caused by train would have a harmful effect on the historic monuments in the region including Zoroaster’s Kaaba and train vibrations would eventually damage Naqsh-e Rostam monument.

After studying different alternatives for saving the cultural landscape of the historic site of Naqsh-e Rostam against railway construction, experts of Pars-e Pasargadae Research Center concluded that the most effective way to prevent the railway from intruding the historic landscape of this Achaemenid site is to construct a 6-kilometer-long tunnel from Sivand to Shoul village and direct the train through the tunnel. This is while authorities of the railway project have already started the nearby farm lands located in vicinity of Naqsh-e Rostam.

While the news related to the activities of Iran’s Ministry of Road and Transportation without getting the approval of ICHHTO seems to be go through a crisis which has aroused the concern of cultural heritage enthusiasts, it seems nobody is in charge of giving a clarifying explain to reporters about the project.

Located in Iranian Fars province, 12 kilometer distance of Persepolis, Naqsh-e Rostam contains four tombs belonging to Achaemenid kings (550-330 BC) which were carved out of the rock. Kaaba of Zoroaster bears number of inscription dating back to Parthian (248 BC-224 AD) and Sassanian dynastic eras (224-651 AD).