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All construction activities prohibited in Iran's Bisotun territory: CHTO director

TEHRAN, Aug. 28 (Mehr News Agency) -- Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) director Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaii said that all construction activities are prohibited in the territory of the Bisotun ancient site, the Persian service of CHN reported on Monday.

Rahim-Mashaii emphasized that no agreement has been made on the recent activities in the area by the Kermanshah Petrochemical Company.

However, the officials of the petrochemical company say their activities are based on an agreement with the CHTO.

CHTO officials and city officials of Kermanshah and Bisotun had held several meetings in the past few months on observing the regulations set by UNESCO, which state that every new construction activity and every major change in the area must be approved by the World Heritage Center beforehand.

Bisotun, an ancient Iranian site bearing bas-reliefs and inscriptions of Darius the Great, along with 17 sites from other countries, was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List on July 13.

However, only one month later, the construction of the industrial town of Hersin in the territory of Bisotun began, compelling the UNESCO World Heritage Center to send a letter to the CHTO demanding an explanation.

Bisotun (also known as Bistun) is located in western Iran, 30 kilometers east of the provincial capital Kermanshah, at the foot of the Zagros Mountains.

The area was on the ancient trade route linking the Iranian high plateau with Mesopotamia and contains remains from prehistoric times to the Median and Achaemenid eras.

The principal monument of this archaeological site is the bas-relief and cuneiform inscription ordered by Darius the Great shortly after he ascended to the throne of the Persian Empire in 521 BC.

The bas-relief portrays Darius holding a bow, as a sign of sovereignty and treading on the chest of a figure who lies on his back before him. According to legend, the figure represents Gaumata, the Median Magus and pretender to the throne whose assassination led to Darius's rise to power.

Below and around the bas-reliefs, there are about 1,200 lines of inscriptions telling the story of the battles Darius waged in 521-520 BC against the governors who attempted to dismantle the empire founded by Cyrus.

... Payvand News - 8/28/06 ... --

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