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Iran: Lake Bolaghi takes shape but ancient Naqsh-e Rustam safe

By Hamid Golpira

TEHRAN, Nov. 28 (Mehr News Agency) -- Lake Bolaghi is beginning to flood the Bolaghi Valley, but Naqsh-e Rustam seems to be safe from the proposed railway line that could have damaged the structures of the ancient site.


In an interview with the Tehran Times in the Bolaghi Valley earlier this month, Parsa-Pasargadae Research Foundation archaeologist Afshin Yazdani, who is based at Persepolis, said that the government has given preliminary approval to a plan according to which the route of the Shiraz-Isfahan railway line will be located 1200 meters from Naqsh-e Rustam, although the final decision has not been made yet.  


There had been another plan to locate the railway line only 400 meters away from Naqsh-e Rustam, but experts protested, saying vibrations caused by passing trains would most likely broaden existing cracks in the tomb of Xerxes I and result in its collapse and would also probably cause the destruction of Zoroaster's Kaba within less than ten years if the railway line were to be located so close. 


Part of an Achaemenid era structure discovered in
the Bolaghi Valley


It is said that rich landowners who wanted to earn money by selling their land to the Roads and Transportation Ministry were behind the plan to locate the railway route only 400 meters away from Naqsh-e Rustam, which is situated about 12 kilometers northwest of Persepolis.


Naqsh-e Rustam is an extremely important historical site since the tombs of the Achaemenid kings Darius I, Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I, and Darius II have been carved into the solid rock of the mountain. The site also contains bas-reliefs dating back to the Elamite and Sassanid eras.


Yazdani said that Naqsh-e Rustam was an important ceremonial site for the Elamites as early as 1500 BC, nearly 1000 years before the rise of the Achaemenid dynasty.


Yazdani also took me on a tour of some of the ancient sites of the Bolaghi Valley that will be flooded by the filling of the reservoir of the Sivand Dam, a process which is currently underway, unfortunately.


The Bolaghi Valley, which has over 130 important archaeological sites, is located in Fars Province and stretches for about 15 kilometers from the Bolaghi Pass (Tang-e Bolaghi) to the Sivand Dam and then for several more kilometers after the dam. The Bolaghi Pass is about four kilometers from the village of Pasargad, which is beside the ruins of the ancient Persian capital of Pasargadae.


The reservoir of the Sivand Dam (background) is currently
being filled, a process that will eventually flood a large
area of the Bolaghi Valley.


The area was previously called Tang-e Bolaghi, but since most of the ancient sites are in the valley that opens up after the mountain pass, experts changed its appellation to the Bolaghi Valley or Darreh Bolaghi in Persian.


A project called the Archaeological Rescue Excavations of the Bolaghi Valley was implemented from 2004 to 2007 to study the area's archaeological sites. The filling of the reservoir of the Sivand Dam, which will flood a large section of the valley, began in spring 2007.


In an interview at the Persepolis Complex last spring, Parsa-Pasargadae Research Foundation Director Mohammad Hassan Talebian told the Tehran Times that only 24 of the archaeological sites of the Bolaghi Valley would be submerged by the reservoir of the Sivand Dam.


Lake Bolaghi is taking shape and has already
flooded some areas of the Bolaghi Valley.


During our tour of the Bolaghi Valley, Yazdani showed me a wall and stone foundation of a monumental building of the Achaemenid era discovered by the Polish-Iranian archaeological team.


At one Sassanid era site, we saw a large jug that was partly excavated, and nearby we saw a Sassanid era basin. 


In addition, archaeologists found jars, shards, and a house with a courtyard and hearth at the site.


A jar with an Aramaic inscription of a quantity, which was produced for the royal system of agriculture, was also discovered at the site, Yazdani said.


Near the Sivand Dam, we saw that Lake Bolaghi was taking shape and had already flooded some areas of the Bolaghi Valley.

... Payvand News - 11/29/07 ... --

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