Floods Threaten Iran’s Ancient Relics As Cracks On Historic Walls Widen

Some of Iran’s age-old cultural heritage sites have been reportedly damaged as a result of heavy rainfall and extreme weather during recent days.

Reports from Iran say some ancient relics have also been affected by floods in various parts of Iran.

Mohamad Hossein Talebian, deputy chairman of Iran’s Cultural Heritage Organization (CHO), told reporters on Wednesday March 27 “cracks on the ancient reliefs in Naqsh-I Rustam in Fars province are widening in a critical way.”

Naqsh-I Rustam, six kilometres from the Persepolis, is an ancient site that includes several relics and monuments including the tombs of four of ancient Persian Achaemenid kings who reigned in the Persian empire from 550-330 BC.

Social media reports from the area say a waterfall made by the floods is washing away parts of the relics.

A waterfall has emerged in Naqsh-i Rostam, March 25.

However, according to Talebian, “The Persepolis remains intact as its ancient water ducts have drained flood water.” The over one kilometres of the ducts were cleaned from 2000 onwards.

He also said that restoration works done in the 2000s at the site of the tomb of Cyrus the Great and the walls of a nearby canal have saved the internationally acclaimed site.

Nevertheless, videos on social media show floods running in the vicinity of the tomb in Pasargadae.

Meanwhile, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported that parts of a historic wall as well as excavations near a river bed close to the city of Gorgan in northern Iran have been damaged.

The wall built during the Sassanid period (224-651 AD) to ward off invaders from Central Asia is second only to the Great Wall of China.

Talebian also broke the news about rising humidity in the Gonbad-E Kavous Tower in Golestan Province, but said that the CHO is monitoring the situation. The Tower is one of the tallest brick towers in the world. Reports published prior to the floods said that the tower was damaged by heavy traffic in its surrounding area.

Persepolis and flood waters.

Reports from Iran say recent floods have damaged the Aq Qala bridge in the north as well as several bridges in Isfahan (15 and 16th centuries) and Shoushtar (over two millennia old). The CHO has characterized damage to the bridges in Isfahan as “alarming.”

The historic Vakil Hammam in Shiraz has reportedly been flooded but relief workers have been pumping out the water.

In Lorestan province, the historic Falak ol-Aflak Fortress reportedly remains unharmed, but several bridges have been damaged, with some totally ruined.

According to the Cultural Heritage Organization, there is still no reports on damage made to historic sites in other provinces, although some of them may have been affected by the unusually extreme weather.

The CHO reported that Ayatollah Khomeini’s old house in Qom was among the damaged sites in the city.

Other sites, including the UNESCO-registered Choghazanbil in Shusha region which dates back to the Elamid period (2700-539 BC) are being monitored by the CHO, said its deputy chief.

The floods have claimed at least 37 lives in various parts of Iran during the past week.