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Iran: Cultural Heritage Authorities Demands Transportation Ministry Change Railway Path

By Soudabeh Sadigh
Iranian cultural heritage authorities strictly ordered the Ministry of Transportation to define a new path for the railway under construction in Kermanshah to be directed away from Taq-e Bostan historical site.

Sassanid monument of Taq-e Bostan
Tehran, 12 October 2006 (CHN) -- In response to a request by the administrators of Kermanshah’s urban railway construction project to continue their construction activities, the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of Kermanshah province categorically announced that it would under no circumstances agree with the original path of the railway which is intended to pass near the historical site of Taq-e Bostan.
Development activities in the vicinity of Taq-e Bostan historical site during the last three decades have created a dilemma and posed a real threat to the world registration of this archeological site. Iran’s cultural heritage authorities are determined to clearly define the boundaries of the cultural landscape of Taq-e Bostan to prevent any kind of development projects in the area that falls within.
In an interview with CHN, Siamak Khadivi, manager of Taq-e Bostan project said that the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of Kermanshah province has asked the country’s Ministry of Transportation to ask operators of the railway project in Kermanshah to determine a new path that does not go through the area that is considered Taq-e Bostan’s cultural landscape. “On the other hand,” he added “the municipality of the city of Kermanshah believes that passing of the railway close to Taq-e Bostan would result in an increase in the number of tourists to the area.” But Khadivi and cultural heritage experts argue that the natural and historical attractions of this ancient site by itself have the potential to attract large numbers of visitors daily and thus there is no need to construct the railway near this area.    
By showing its disagreement to development projects in the vicinity of Taq-e Bostan and attempts to stop such activities, Kermanshah’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department is trying to promote the chance for world registration of this historic site.
Taq-e Bostan (Bostan Arch) is situated 5 kilometers from of the city of Kermanshah, capital of Kermanshah province, western Iran. It is a series of large rock reliefs in the heart of Zagross Mountains, belonging to the Sassanid era (226-651 AD). The carvings which include representations of the investitures of Ardeshir II (379-383) and Shapur III (383-388) are some of the best examples of Persian sculpture during the Sassanid dynasty, survived after nearly 17 centuries despite being situated in an open area exposed to strong winds and heavy rainfall.


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