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Sassanid Bas-reliefs of Mt. Khajeh Fortress Falling Apart


By Maryam Tabeshian

Almost nothing has remained from bas-reliefs depicting three Sassanid horse-riders inscribed on the wall of a Parthian fortress built on Khajeh Mountain, southeast Iran.

Khajeh Mountain in
Sistan va Baluchestan province

Tehran, 10 December 2006 (CHN) -- Bas-reliefs depicting three Sassanid horse-riders inscribed on one of the walls of the Parthian fortress of Khajeh Mountain are being destroyed as a result of lack of attention.

The reliefs were carved during Sassanid dynastic period (224-651 AD) after Sassanid soldiers conquered the fortress which had been constructed on Mt. Khajeh during the Parthian Empire (248 BC-AD 224). The Mountain is located in Sistan va Baluchestan province, southeast Iran.

"When Mt. Khajeh was overtaken by the Sassanids, bas-reliefs of three Sassanid horse riders were carved on one of the walls of the fortress which is entirely made of adobe. The reliefs are the only ones made of clay remained from the Sassanid dynastic period. They are now falling apart due to lack of attention," explained Ali-Reza Khosravi, director of Burnt City Research Center.

The scale of destruction is so enormous that only by concentrating on the bas-reliefs and connecting the remaining relief lines can one detect the original image. This has also made restoration of these Sassanid bas-reliefs a challenging task.

"What has remained of the Sassanid bas-reliefs of Mt. Khajeh is extremely vulnerable and will be completely washed off by heavy rains. If the province had not experienced drought in the past few years, nothing would have remained from these bas-reliefs by now," added Khosravi. He further stressed the importance of covering up the bas-reliefs and calling on some of the most skilled restoration experts to immediately start restoring these Sassanid remains.

The highest peak in southeast Iran, Khajeh Mountain is referred to as a sacred mountain in Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam. Remains of a gigantic fortress built during the Parthian dynastic period can still be seen atop this mountain which also bears evidence of the Sassanid era. This fortress is now on the verge of collapse and needs immediate restoration by experts.

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