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Sivand Dam to be inaugurated by March 2007

By Maryam Tabeshian

Tehran, 8 November 2006 (CHN) -- Disputes will finally come to an end by inundation of the newly constructed Sivand Dam in Bolaghi Gorge, Fars province, which will drown all the remaining historic evidence in the area. Based on the Ministry of Energy's timeline, the Dam is set to be inaugurated by the end of the current Iranian year which will fall in late March 2007.

Sivand Dam, Bolaghi Gorge, Fars

In a press conference held on Nov. 6, Parviz Fattah, Iran's Minister of Energy, said that the plan will be carried through by the end of this year while, according to him, all the negotiations between the Ministry and Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) have already been settled. He also said that the Energy Ministry has provided ICHTO with the promised budgets to build Pasargadae museum near the historic Bolaghi Gorge, although this claim was rejected by Mohammad Hassan Talebian, director of Parse-Pasargadae Research Center, who said that the promised 600,000 USD was never received.

Speaking of the agreements reached between the two parties, Fattah added: "The presence of the excavation team and foreign archeologists [at Bolaghi Gorge area] was confirmed by means of agreement between the two organizations."

He further stressed that since an equivalent of 80,000,000 USD was invested for Sivand Dam construction on the part of the Ministry and due to its economic importance for the region, the Dam was to be inaugurated in the shortest time. "However," he added "its inundation was postponed for a year only because of the importance of the region's historic heritage."

The Minister of Energy declared inundation of 18 dams in Iran, including Sivand and Mulla-Sadra in Fars, in the next 4-5 months.

Dam construction has become a nightmare for the Iranian cultural heritage enthusiasts in the recent years. Although economically important, constructions of dams in Iran have threatened the country's rich cultural heritage. One of the most important examples of such is construction of Sivand Dam in Bolaghi Gorge which is an important archeological site close to the world heritage site of Pasargadae. This issue raised many concerns and created rumors across the country saying that some anonymous groups have vowed to destroy the dam by explosives.

Ever since the initial phase of Sivand Dam construction, large groups of archeologists and experts from Iran and across the globe have become engaged in an emergency salvation project to save the remaining evidence at Bolaghi Gorge before they are immersed under water, making it the biggest salvation project ever in the history of Iran's archeological activities.

The large number of cultural evidence and archeological relics found in this area over the past two and a half years alone as well as architectural remains of a palace denoted to the Achaemenid king, Darius the Great, all testify to the historic importance of Bolaghi Gorge. Hundreds of archeological sites identified in the area so far will soon be engulfed when the reservoir of Sivand Dam is filled with water, an event which is scheduled to take place within the next five months.

Archeologists are hoping to finish their excavations in Bolaghi Gorge in one month to submit the final report before the Dam floods the entire area.

Click here to read more on Bolaghi Gorge

... Payvand News - 11/8/06 ... --

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