The destruction of historical sites in the ancient city of Shiraz has raised the ire of cultural heritage lovers.
Recently, 87 historical sites, including a number of ancient houses, baths and a mosque, were destroyed in Shiraz to make way for the construction of commercial and lodging centers in the vicinity of Shah-e Cheragh Mausoleum.
According to Mehr News Agency, the Cabinet, during its latest trip to Shiraz, ratified the renovation of historical sites spread over 57 hectares in the perimeters of the mausoleum, which led to the destruction of the historical sites.
Alireza Golgoli, the head of the national plan titled “Documentation of Iranian Historical Houses”, said the historical site of Shah-e Cheragh had become a refuge of addicts and criminal gangs, which triggered the complaints of citizens.
The plan titled “Bein-ol-Haramein” was ratified by the Cabinet following the citizen’s complaints and aimed to improve the condition of the place.
The official noted that those involved in the plan aim to replace the old texture of the area with modern buildings, pointing out that there are over 900 historical buildings near the mausoleum, of which 500 are among the most attractive monuments of the city.
“Such a plan will damage the city’s cultural heritage because the monuments situated near Shah-e Cheragh are among the most important historical sites of the province and can boost tourism in case of renovation,” he said.
Golgoli said that while there is a significant difference between historical sites and old texture, some officials consider them to be the same.
He noted that renovation projects have become more popular in Shiraz in recent years while Shiraz is an ancient city and its historical sites must be preserved for the next generation.
Pointing to the destruction of 87 historical sites in the vicinity of Shah-e Cheragh, Golgoli said all the monuments are registered on the National Heritage List.
He criticized the government’s decision and said that destroying historical sites to build modern buildings is not a proper decision and the government must take another decision to improve the condition of the area.
“Addicts and criminal gangs can be found in every part of the city and this is not a good excuse for destroying the sites,” he said.
The official stressed that more destruction can be expected in the future.
“Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) is responsible for safeguarding historical sites but shortage of fund prevents the organization from interfering in this plan and stopping new constructions,” he said.
Golgoli said ICHHTO was against the destruction of historical sites in the vicinity of mausoleum, but it could not take any effective measure due to shortage of funds.
While many cultural heritage experts are against the destruction of historical sites in the ancient city of Shiraz, some officials have claimed that such places pose a threat to citizens.
Earlier, an official in Shiraz had claimed that in case of an earthquake, the old texture in the vicinity of Shah-e Cheragh will destroyed entirely and endanger people’s lives.
Cultural heritage experts believe historical sites must be safeguarded for future generations.
As one of the most ancient cities of Iran, Shiraz attracts many tourists and pilgrims every year. It boasts of world-known historical sites such as Persepolis and Pasargad.
Shiraz is also home to many monuments dating back to Zandieh and Qajarid dynasties, which include Shiraz Bazaar, Kolah-Farangi Mansion and Eram Garden.
Shah Cheragh is a shrine and mosque in Shiraz, housing the tomb of the brothers Ahmad and Mohammad, sons of Imam Musa Al-Kazem and brothers of Imam Reza (AS). The two took refuge in the city during the Abbasid persecution of Shiite Muslims.
The tombs became celebrated pilgrimage centers in the 14th century when Queen Tashi Khatoun erected a mosque and theological school in the vicinity.
UNESCO Experts Document Iranian Customs
UNESCO’s experts visited Qeshm Island in Iran’s southern Hormuzgan province during a two-day trip to document its cultural activities.
Announcing this, Davoud Ahmadi, the head of Qeshm Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Department, told CHTN that the three-member team headed by Park Jung-wu from South Korea arrived this week and visited the island’s historical and natural attractions.
“The experts visited different parts of the island and took photographs and films of people’s daily activities and their customs,” he said.
Ahmadi said the experts described the wind towers of Qeshm Island as being similar to those of North Africa.
Supported by Qeshm Free Trade Zone and the Cultural Department of the National Commission of UNESCO, the experts visited Port of Laft, Star Valley, Chahkouh Strait and Hara Forest.
Alireza Dashtizadeh, an expert from Qeshm’s cultural heritage department who accompanied the team, said the unique architecture of buildings situated on Laft Island attracted the attention of UNESCO’s experts.
“They were very surprised to see such ancient buildings on the island with their colorful paintings and carvings,” he said, adding that the diversity of food in the region also surprised them.
He noted that the Asia-Pacific Center of Education for International Understanding, affiliated to UNESCO, has selected Iran and Uzbekistan for this year’s research programs.
“The center has focused on Iran and Uzbekistan this year to document their indigenous rituals and historical sites,” he said.
Dashtizadeh said an exhibition will be held next year in Iran and South Korea to review the documentaries produced by UNESCO’s experts.
The experts headed to Yazd and Isfahan after their Qeshm trip ended on Oct. 4.
2 Isfahan Attractions Up for Registration
The dossier of two historical attractions of Isfahan province, namely Chehelsotun Garden and Fin Garden, will be submitted to UNESCO for registration on its World Heritage List.
Announcing this, Alireza Zaker, the governor of Isfahan, told Mehr News Agency on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of Isfahan’s Birds Garden that registration of sites on the World Heritage List will help boost tourism in the province.
“Fin and Chehelsotoun gardens are among the most important historical sites of the province, which attract many tourists every year,” he said, adding that the number of foreign tourists visiting the province is very high because Isfahan’s fame goes back to ancient times.
Isfahan hosts Iran’s most famous historical sites, most of them dating back to Qajarid and Safavid dynasties.
Zaker added that recently a number of plans have been devised by experts to reduce air pollution in the province, which include the inauguration of the Birds Garden in Qamsar.
“Other plans will be implemented gradually in the province,” he said.
Imam Square in Isfahan is one of the most attractive sites of the province, which include the Imam Mosque, Aali-Qapu Mansion and the historical Isfahan Bazaar.
Chinese Lead Asian Tourism
The attitude toward China in the world of tourism is rapidly changing.
China has retained its reputation as a culturally rich place that is overloaded with people. However, whereas China has since long being known for producing and exporting almost everything, at present its people constitute the most important ‘commodity’.
It is no coincidence that literature for tourists is now being translated into Chinese languages faster than it has been translated into any other language, Tourism-Review reported.
At a time when the whole of Asia was hit by the swine flu crisis last year, the number of Chinese tourists visiting New Zealand was still on the rise.
Now that fears of the pandemic have abated, there has been a 112-percent increase in the number of Chinese tourists this year. The good news for New Zealanders is that the Chinese tend to spend a significant amount of cash on travel. It is also true that Chinese tourists have partially replaced tourists from countries still reeling from the global financial crisis.
Aryan City Discovered in Russia
Russian archeologists have unearthed ancient and virtually unknown settlements, which they believe were built by the original Aryan race about 4,000 years ago.
According to the team that has discovered 20 spiral-shaped settlements in remote Russia steppe in southern Siberia bordering Kazakhstan, the buildings date back to the beginning of the Western civilization in Europe, the Hindu reported.
The Bronze Age settlements, experts said, could have been built shortly after the Great Pyramid, some 4,000 years ago, by the original Aryan race whose swastika symbol was later adopted by the Nazis in the 1930s.
The remains of the ancient city were explored for the first time around 20 years ago, shortly after the then-Soviet officials relaxed the laws banning non-military aerial photography.
But, as the region is so remote, the incredible cities remained unknown until now, the archeologists said.
The cities are about the same size as several of the city states of ancient Greece and would have housed between 1,000 and 2,000 people.
The Aryan’s language has been identified as the precursor to a number of modern European tongues. Many English words such as brother, oxen and guest have all been tracked to the Aryans.
Machu Picchu Reveals More Secrets
Only ever seen by a few people over the past century, the Inca site of Inkaraqay located on an inaccessible and nearly vertical side of the Huayna Picchu Mountain that overlooks Machu Picchu, is only now being revealed to the wider world.
With the appearance of a fort hanging on to the sheer drop that gives way to the Vilcanota River and the well-known moon temple below, its huge walls and terraces covering 4,500 square meters are actually agricultural in nature, En Peru reported.
Accompanying the five levels of farming terraces is a ritual platform dedicated, as with the temple nearer the mountain’s foot, to the worship of the moon.
“The architecture of these terraces is superior to even those of Machu Picchu itself,” says Piedad Champi, resident archeologist.
Specially designed water channels appear and disappear from terrace to terrace, bringing running water to every area without fail.
“This was one of the sectors that provided food that they ate in Machu Picchu. It’s connected through a series of stairs that go to the Moon Temple and then around Huayna Picchu”, explains Champi, himself of the opinion that Machu Picchu was a retreat for emperor Pachacutec.
This route is not for those who suffer vertigo. It involves an infinitely long and incredibly steep climb of seven hours. In some areas, quite unlike the way it would have been in Inca times, the path now involves climbs with ropes over sharp rocks.
A guide, a machete and several types of snake anti-venoms are must-haves, although these are scarce among those working on restoring the site.
“They’ve bitten my grandfather plenty of times”, one worker laughs, his mouth full of coca, “but they don’t bite me; they know me now.”
Hebert’s grandfather, German Echegaray, has lived for 70 years at the foot of Huayna Picchu making a living from growing avocados, coffee and fruit for sale in Cusco.
The 7th National Handicrafts Exhibition opened in Arak, Markazi province, on Wednesday with the participation of 250 artists from across the country.