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Power Grids Threaten World Registration of Ferdowsi Tomb

By Soudabeh Sadigh

As electricity grids continue to threaten the cultural landscape of tomb of the 10th century Persian poet Ferdowsi, chances for world registration of this monument become slimmer.

Tomb of Persian poet Ferdowsi,
Toos historic city, northeast Iran

Tehran, 25 December 2006 (CHN) -- Installation of power poles for transferring 400 kilowatt hours of power from the city of Mashhad to Sarakhs in the Iranian northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi has not only vulgarized the historical-cultural landscape of Toos historic city and the tomb of renowned Persian poet Ferdowsi, it has also reduced the chances for registration of this historic monument in UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.

While based on initial talks between the Power & Energy Department of Khorasan Razavi province and the provincial Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department, the electricity grids are agreed to be relocated to somewhere outside the city, cultural heritage experts believe that due to the geographical position of the city of Toos which stands at a lower elevation compared to its surrounding northern lands, the height of the poles is still a real threat to the cultural landscape of Ferdowsi's tomb.

In the first 8 months of Iranian year 1385, over 650,000
people have visited Ferdowsi's tomb (source ISNA)

"12 electricity poles for transferring 400 kilowatt hours of power from Iran to Turkmenistan are installed just at a distance of 2500 meters from Ferdowsi's tomb. This is while experts believe that the poles must have been installed at distance of 6400 meters from Toos city center and 5200 meters from the walls of the garden in which Ferdowsi's tomb is located," said Siavash Saberi, director of Toos Cultural Heritage Station to CHN.

Considering that the electric poles are installed north of Ferdowsi's tomb and that the slope of the land increases as one moves northward from the Tomb which is located on a hillside, Saberi believes that transferring the poles farther north will not solve the problem. According to him, even if the poles are relocated to somewhere behind the hills which stand north of Toos historic city, UNESCO could still argue that they are within the city's cultural landscape.

The world famous Persian poet, Ferdowsi (940-1020 AD) is best known for his epic masterpiece of Shahnameh (The Epic of Kings) which has widely been translated in several languages. Ferdowsi's tomb in the city of Toos is one of the major tourist attraction sites of the Khorasan Razavi province.

... Payvand News - 12/28/06 ... --

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