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Iran to Call for Foreign Aid in Salvaging Pasargadae Gorge


Iran intends to urge international experts to help prevent historical sites located in Balaghi Gorge near Pasargadae from sinking under water, Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency reported on Monday.

The 18-km-long gorge is situated 4 km down the world heritage site of Pasargadae, part of the Achaemenids' capital city. Now plans to build a dam pose a formidable threat for the whole region.

"Since the project is overwhelmingly vast, we intent to issue an international plea for experts to help us. We expect all academic institutes in the world to welcome the recall," said Mohammad Hassan Talebian, head of the project.

Right now a group of Iranian experts are drawing up a salvage plan for the historical sites near Pasargadae and it is expected that they finish their plans in a couple of weeks. Iranian utility officials have announced plans to build a dam in the area, south of Iran that would inundate the gorge and its surrounding areas, all rich in unearthed artifacts.

Prior to his death, Cyrus the Great founded a new capital city at Pasargadae in Fars and established a government for his Empire. Pasargadae covered an area almost 1.5 miles in length and included palaces, a temple and the tomb of the king of kings. The city was built on the site where King Cyrus defeated the leader of the Medes, Astyages, in 550 BC.

The heart of Pasargadae is the citadel, which is known as Tall-i-Takht or 'throne hill'. It overlooks a garden in the south, and the palace complex itself. This consists of two smaller units: the residential palace and the many columned audience hall. The audience hall or Apadana can be approached from the south-east; the visitor first has to pass a gate and then has to cross a bridge over the river Pulvār.

The small tomb of King Cyrus is situated a little to the southwest. It was venerated by later rulers, the Macedonian king Alexander the Great, who ordered restorations in January 324 BC. The tomb of Cyrus' successor Cambyses was never finished.

Even though King Darius built a new capital, Persepolis, 43 kilometers downstream along the river Pulvar, Pasargadae remained an important place, probably as the religious capital of the Achaemenid empire where the inauguration of the kings took place.

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