TEHRAN, Sept. 23 (Mehr News Agency) -- A week-long study by experts will determine the fate of the Achaemenid site of Naqsh-e Rustam in southern Iran's Fars Province.
The decision was made during a meeting attended by officials from the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) and the Ministry of Roads and Transportation (MRT) on September 22.
The MRT's officials have come to an agreement with the CHTHO to modify a nearby railway route which would threaten the existence of the site if it were to become operational.
The final decision will be announced on September 29, CHTHO deputy director Fariborz Dowlatabadi said on Sunday.
The railway route embankment has been constructed at a distance of about 350 meters from Naqsh-e Rustam, but CHTHO's archaeologists have requested that the distance be increased to 1000 meters.
They believe that if the railway route were to become operational at the shorter distance, train vibrations would eventually damage the monument and also cause the destruction of Zoroaster's Kaba within less than ten years.
Naqsh-e Rustam is an extremely important historical site since the tombs of Achaemenid kings including Darius I and Xerxes I have been carved into the solid rock of Mt. Hossein in that region. The site also contains remains dating back to the Elamite and Sassanid eras.
Mohammad-Taqi Ataii, an archaeologist at the Parseh and Pasargadae Research Foundation, delivered a lecture during a seminar held at the University of Tehran (UT) on September 11 in which he expounded on the threats posed by the railway route to the Naqsh-e Rustam site.
Ataii believes that if the railway route were to become operational at a distance of 350 meters from the monument, vibrations caused by passing trains are likely to broaden existing cracks in the tomb of Xerxes I and result in its collapse.
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