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Crude restoration spoils authenticity of Cyrus Tomb


TEHRAN, Nov. 17 (Mehr News Agency) -- Recently, the authentic character of the tomb of Cyrus the Great has been seriously compromised during an inept restoration project.

A portion of the stone in the ceiling of the tomb have been cut and replaced with another piece during the project, an expert of the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO), who wished to remain anonymous, told MNA on Sunday.

"Even natural factors such as wind and storms were not able to cause this kind of damage," he added.

Photos: The tomb of Cyrus the Great is seen scaffolded for a restoration project in photos taken on November 15, 2008. The authenticity of the monument has been spoiled by the inexpert restoration of the ceiling. (Mehr/Mohammad-Hossein Nikupur).

The restoration project had been scheduled to be carried out by a team of Italian experts according to an agreement signed during the administration of former president Seyyed Mohammad Khatami.

However, an Iranian group was substituted for the Italian team after a new administration came to CHTHO under President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

The Iranian team led by Hassan Rahsaz began the project about two years ago.

"Rahsaz has learned restoration from on-the-job experience and he doesn't have a relevant academic degree," the CHTHO expert said.

"During the project, he made many mistakes, the most important of which is related to the ceiling of the Tomb of the Cyrus the Great," he added.

It took only one month to restore the ceiling of the monument, said another CHTHO expert, who also preferred to remain anonymous.

"While if the restoration of the ceiling was carried out based on scientific methods, it would have lasted in two years," he added.

He described the replacement of the stone of the ceiling as "the kiss of death" at the monument.

The experts said that the restoration should be done by repairing the pieces of stones and mortar that have separated from the monument over the time.

Meanwhile, the director of the Parsa and Pasargadae Research Foundation (PPRF), which is responsible for all restoration and study projects in the ancient site, believes that the restoration carried out on the ceiling of the tomb is of high standard.

"The restoration is one the best of its kind carried out in this country," Mohammad-Hassan Talebian noted.

He described the latest rainfall as a "good test" of the restoration, adding, "The restoration prevented rain from leaking into the tomb during the latest rainfall, so the opinion is based on scientific evidence."

"A report containing details of the restoration project has been sent to UNESCO; if there was problem with the method used for restoration of the monument, they would certainly have notified us of a problem," Talebian said.

Located in Iran's southern province of Fars, the Tomb of Cyrus the Great is one of the main sites of Pasargadae, and was registered on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 2004.

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