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Isfahan Subway to Stubbornly Pass Under Historical Street

Source: Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency

Despite stark warnings by Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization (CHO), Isfahan subway officials have doggedly decided to pass the route of an underground line beneath the historical street of Chahar-Bagh Abbasi, raising the possibility of impeachment for Interior Minister.

Chahar-Bagh (Four Gardens) is one of the oldest and finest streets in Iran, built during the Safavid dynasty (1501-1722) and decked out with fountains, trees, mansions and unique cobblestones. It has become a popular tourist attraction in the monument-rich city of Isfahan, about 400 km (250 m) south of Tehran.

Isfahan subway authority has set up a construction workshop at the beginning of the avenue to start digging. Among the public outrage, CHO's warnings about the potential destruction of relics buried under the street have fallen on deaf ears.

"The possible shocks of digging and drilling the tunnel could damage the historical monuments dotting Chahar-Bagh," said Mohsen Javari, an expert with local CHO offices.

Meanwhile, a group of conservative Iranian MPs insisted that Iranian reformist Interior Minister would be summoned to the parliament and possibly stand for impeachment should the subway route passes Chahar-Bagh.

Member of cultural committee Said Abutaleb, a former doc-maker who was detained for a couple of months in Iraq by U.S.-led coalition forces last year, said, "Isfahan's historical monuments are national and world heritage properties, which do not merely belong to officials and people of the city and require special preservation.

Chahar-Bagh Abbasi Street was built under the reign of King Abbas I (1587 - 1629). The Safavids, who came to power in 1501, were leaders of a militant Sufi order. They traced their ancestry to Shaykh Safi ad Din (died circa 1334), the founder of their order, who claimed descent from Shiite Islam's Seventh Imam, Musa al Kazim. From their home base in Ardabil, they recruited followers among the Turkoman tribesmen of Anatolia and forged them into an effective fighting force and an instrument for territorial expansion. Sometime in the mid-fifteenth century, the Safavids adopted Shiite Islam. In 1501, under their leader Ismail, the Safavids seized power in Tabriz, which became their capital.

The Safavid state reached its apogee during the reign of King Abbas. The shah gained breathing space to confront and defeat the Uzbeks by signing a largely disadvantageous treaty with the Ottomans. He then fought successful campaigns against the Ottomans, reestablishing Iranian control over Iraq, Georgia, and parts of the Caucasus.

... Payvand News - 8/16/04 ... --

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