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Buried Safavid City Awaits Excavations

By Soudabeh Sadigh

Experts believe that archeological excavations in Haft Daghnan would result in unearthing the biggest city belonging to the Safavid era which will turn it into a tourism destination.

Haft Daghnan, biggest buried city
from Safavid era

Tehran, 22 October 2006 (CHN) -- Archeological excavations in Gaskarat region in Iran's northern province of Gilan led to discovery of one of the biggest buried cities dating back to the Safavid dynastic era (1501-1736 AD) which has not yet been completely unearthed. Archeological studies indicate that this buried city covers a 120 hectare area and it must receive more attentions. Excavation in this historical city has been put forward by the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of Gilan province as an important project to be considered among national mega projects.

"Haft Daghnan is the biggest city remained from the Safavid period which is still buried under soil. Archeological excavations revealed that architectural remains of this 120- hectare city can still be found under the ground. Studies revealed how important it is for this historical site to be added to the list of the country's national projects," said Vali Jahani, head of excavation team in Haft Daghnan to CHN.

Haft Daghnan historical city is located 55 kilometers from Some-e Sara city in Gilan province, covering an area of 60 hectares. However, archeological excavations revealed that this historical city must have been twice bigger but it was never delimited precisely.

"A budget has been considered by Gilan's governor office to dispatch an archeology team to the region to determine the boundaries of the city as well finding the exact location of the ancient public bathhouse during this season of archeological excavations through sounding activities," added Jahani.

Some sounding works were carried out for the first time in this historical city in 2003, based on which the city was identified as a historic site and was later registered in the list of Iran's national cultural heritage.

The first season of excavations in this historical site resulted in discovery of a large number of archeological evidence including the remains of three earthen bridges, ancient buildings, archeological hills, an ancient bathhouse as well as a trench and the remains of a tower and bulwark.

In one of the soundings created by the archeologists in the center of Haft Daghnan, archeologists faced the remains of a large number of shops, believed to have been the place of the city's old bazaar. The discovered construction included blacksmith and stone stores. Discovery of Safavid coins along with other historic remains indicate that the city was a well developed and industrial center during the Safavid period.

The similarity between the historical relics discovered in Haft Daghnan with those found in Armenia, China, Azerbaijan, and Russia from the same period shows that this historical city enjoyed trade relations with the mentioned countries during that time.

Based on some historical evidence, it was believed that the city of Haft Daghnan was devastated by a severe earthquake. However, further studies revealed that prior to the earthquake, in 1886 a large number of people of the city died when cholera hit the area and most probably the city was abandoned since then.

During the archeological excavations in the vicinity of Haft Daghnan, archeologists faced with a cemetery from the Islamic era in which some mass graves were found.

Head of the excavation team at Haft Daghnan believes that excavations in this historic city must be considered as a mega project and this way the area could be turned into an important tourism destination.

... Payvand News - 10/23/06 ... --

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