Esfand 9 1399 - February 27 2021
Buried for 4,000 years, this ancient culture could expand the 'Cradle of Civilization'

Flooding in 2001 near Jiroft, Iran, exposed the ruins of an ancient necropolis from a Bronze Age culture that flourished alongside Mesopotamia. -Antomio Ratti, National Geographic 2/26/21

The evil empire

The title of this exhibition is a bit misleading. Forgotten Empire, the British Museum calls its spectacular resurrection of ancient Persia. Yet the Persians are as notorious in their way as Darth Vader, the Sheriff of Nottingham, General Custer, or any other embodiment of evil empire you care to mention. They are history's original villains. -Jonathan Jones, Guardian 2/12/21

Ruins of majestic historical gateway unearthed near Persepolis

The ruins of a majestic historical gateway, built upon the order of Cyrus the Great, who was the founder of the mighty Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550 - 330 BC), have been unearthed near the UNESCO-registered Persepolis in southern Iran, Iranian researchers said on Monday. Supervised by a joint mission of Iranian and Italian archaeologists and cultural heritage experts, the dig uncovered vestiges of a massive gateway measuring 30 by 40 meters with a height of approximately 12 meters. 2/9/21

Photos: Sadeh Festival celebrated in Yazd

Zoroastrian Festival of Sadeh was celebrated in Yazd, Iran late on Friday with a limited audience and observing health protocols due to the coronavirus pandemic. The photos pertain to Zoroastrian Youth Club beside Zoroastrians Fire Temple in Yazd. -Masoud Mir Jalili 2/1/21

Publication of 'Studies in Ancient Persia and the Achaemenid Period'

The Iran Heritage Foundation is pleased to announce the recent publication of a book entitled Studies in Ancient Persia and the Achaemenid Period, edited by John Curtis, the Academic Director of IHF. The book is published by James Clarke & Co and has been sponsored by IHF. 1/28/21

Iran offers to help Iraq reconstruct damaged archaeological masterpiece

Part of a famed arch that was part of an ancient Persian palace in Iraq collapsed around the beginning of the year, and Iran has expressed its readiness to help rebuild it. Iran's minister of cultural heritage, Ali Asghar Mounesan, said Iranian archaeologists are ready to help rebuild the ancient Taq Kasra arch following the collapse of a section of it. -Adnan Abu Zeed, Al Monitor 1/26/21

Photos: Vermal citadel In Hamoon, Sistan-Baluchestan Province of Iran

Vermal citadel is one of the greatest archeological masterpieces in the province and is being destroyed by natural erosion. Recent studies show that Vermal citadel due to the fact that it has all the characteristics of traditional Sistan-Baluchestan Province architecture such as ventilation system, space division, beautiful decorations and the presence of Asbad, prison is not seen any other structures of Sistan. -Hamed Gholami, IRNA 1/20/21

Archaeologists to make final attempt to unearth Laodicea Temple in Nahavand, Iran

Iranian archaeologists will be making a final attempt to unearth the ruins of the enigmatic Laodicea Temple, believed to be buried under the modern town of Nahavand in Hamedan province, west-central Iran. The sixth and the last archaeology season has been scheduled to possibly unearth the main structure of Laodicea Temple, Nahavand's tourism chief Mohsen Khanjan announced on Sunday. 1/12/21

The 2,000-year-old Wonder Women who inspired the comic

The contemporary superheroine has a backstory inspired by Greek mythology, which in turn was inspired by real-life ancient warrior women. Experts have identified depictions of the women in battle with Greek men on vases and other ceramics as dressed in Persian-style clothing. By the 470s, the Greeks began to refer to portrayals of the Persians as the Amazons, turning their real-life adversaries into mythological folklore. Even the word "Amazon", meaning "warrior", is likely rooted in the Iranian language. -Kimiya Shokoohi, BBC 1/12/21

Photos: Renovation of historical houses in Isfahan

East of Isfahan has numerous historical monuments that are supposed to be rebuilt and renovated with the aim of the tourism boom, which will lead to the development of the tourism industry in this region. -Zahra Baghban, IRNA 1/5/21

Photos: Dahaneh Gholaman in eastern Iran

Dahaneh-e Gholaman is a town located 57 km from Zabol in the northern areas of Sistan and Baluchestan province. Italian archeologists discovered the town in 1959. The town is named after a natural canyon, where slave traders brought African slaves into Iran for sale. -Hamed Gholami, IRNA 12/31/20

Photo exhibit explores erosion of ancient Iranian bas-reliefs

An exhibition of photos depicting the erosion of a selection of ancient Iranian bas-reliefs will open on Monday at the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts. The three-day exhibition has been organized under the auspices of the ministry's Research Center for Conservation of Cultural Relics as part of their programs for National Research Week. 12/21/20

Exhibition: Epic Iran

Opening in February 2021, Epic Iran will explore 5,000 years of Iranian art, design and culture, bringing together more than 300 objects from ancient, Islamic and contemporary Iran. It will be the UK's first major exhibition in 90 years to present an overarching narrative of Iran from 3000 BC to the present day. Epic Iran is organised by the V&A with the Iran Heritage Foundation in association with The Sarikhani Collection. -IHF 12/18/20

Photos: Autumn view of Taq-e Bostan

Taq-e Bostan, which literally means "arch or the garden", is a historical site in western Iranian city of Kermanshah. The arch, carved in stone on a hillside with the same name, dates back to Sassanid Empire of Persia around the 4th century CE. In the following series of images, you can see an autumn view of the site on December 14, 2020. -Bahman Zarei, IRNA 12/17/20

Photos: Rooftops come to life again in Yazd

Most people living in the historic city of Yazd used the rooftops of their traditional houses for resting in the cold night air in summers. Gradually, fewer houses were built with the same rooftops as those in traditional houses because of changes in the construction and people's lives. But, people and tourists have become more interested in spending time on the rooftops of traditional houses in Yazd city. -Baharak Roshanbakhsh, ISNA 12/15/20

5,000 years in 350 objects: Victoria and Albert Museum reveals details about its epic 'immersive' Iran show

Just as London museums are closing down again due to heightened Covid-19 restrictions, the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) has optimistically announced further details about its forthcoming 2021 blockbuster survey on Iran. Epic by name and epic by nature, this exhibition will cover an ambitious 5,000 years of Iranian history through 350 objects. -Art Newspaper 12/15/20

New study tells tale of Qoroq shipwreck found in northern Iran

A fresh scientific study has shed a new light on the fate of a centuries-old shipwreck, which was found in 2005 in northern Iran. A team of researchers from the Iranian National Institute for Oceanography and Atmospheric Science (INIOAS) and the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism (RICHT), in collaboration with researchers from France and Malta, has recently published the results of their research on the Qoroq historical shipwreck in a prestigious international journal. 11/27/20

What Archaeology Can Achieve in US-Iran Relations

In the 1920s, relations between the United States and Iran had reached a low point. According to historian James F. Goode, the American charge d'affairs at the time, Hugh Millard, wrote to the US State Department's Near East Bureau Chief, Wallace Murray, stating that there had been "one flub after another in American efforts in Persia" but that '"archaeology is about the only thing [the United States] are likely to be interested in which stands much chance of bringing results." -Kyle G. Olson, Bourse & Bazaar 11/25/20

Photos: Karkouy fire temple in Iran

Fire temple (Atashkadeh in Persian) is a place where followers of Zoroastrianism make fire and perform their religious ceremonies. The photo album depicts the Karkouy fire temple which is located in Hirmand County in the Sistan and Baluchestan Province of Iran. -Hamed Gholami, IRNA 11/23/20

Iran Archaeology is Awaiting a Sanctions Breakthrough

Cooperation in the field of archaeology between Iranian and foreign researchers has a long history. In my academic research, I am currently combing the archives associated with all the major American archaeological expeditions to Iran, beginning in 1930 and continuing until 1978, focusing on the activities of the University of Pennsylvania Museum, the Oriental Institute, the Field Museum, the Boston Fine Arts Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, among others. -Kyle G. Olson, Bourse & Bazaar 11/20/20

Museum Diplomacy Falters in the Face of Iran Sanctions

In 1926, Alexander Upham Pope, an art historian, collector, and dealer who specialized in Iranian art, was contracted by the Iranian government to design the Persian Pavilion at the Sesquicentennial International Exposition in Philadelphia. The centerpiece of the exhibition was a replica of the magnificent Safavid-era mosque Masjid-e Shah from Naqsh-e Jahan square in Isfahan, which sat in what is now the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park and the Sports Complex in South Philadelphia... -Kyle G. Olson, Bourse & Bazaar 11/13/20

Angry TV film-makers stop release of lauded Iranian documentary

Coup 53, which charts MI6's role in the shah's restoration, has been blocked by makers of an 1985 show, who say it sullies their names. Made over 10 years by Walter Murch, the celebrated editor of Apocalypse Now and The English Patient, in collaboration with the Anglo-Iranian director Taghi Amirani, it tells the story of covert British intervention in Iran after the second world war and stars Ralph Fiennes, left, as an MI6 spy in a reconstruction of a key incident. -Vanessa Thorpe, Guardian 11/2/20

American Policy Casts a Shadow Over Persepolis

Five years ago, I traveled to Iran to attend a conference in Tehran, The International Congress of Young Archaeologists (ICYA). It was my second time participating in this biannual event, which was and is the most important conference for students and early career researchers specializing in Iranian archaeology. On my first trip in 2013, I was one of only three Americans who made the journey... -Kyle G. Olson, Bourse & Bazaar 10/30/20

Steve House in Kashan, Iran Wins Golden Plaque

Steve House in Kashan, which is a specialized gallery with a focus on photography, has received a gold license plaque. Mizan Architecture Event, in summer 2020, selected its winners from among 70 architectural projects. Steve House was established in the neighborhood of Kohneh Square in Kashan, near the oldest building in the city, by Hossein Farmani and with the cooperation of Hossein Roshanbakht and Hassan Roshanbakht on June 14, 2019. -Honar online 10/22/20

How filmmaker Khosrow Sinai uncovered the hidden history of Polish refugees in Iran

Iranian filmmaker Khosrow Sinai passed away in August from COVID-19, leaving behind an important and eye-opening document of Polish exodus during the Second World War. His documentary The Lost Requiem is now available to watch free online. - Aga Sablinska, Calvert Journal 10/7/20

Enlightenment On Middle Eastern History And Culture Through Artwork

Assyria. Babylonia. Persia. These ancient empires covered an area generally consisting of modern-day Iraq and Iran. Museum goers can learn more about these cultures through exhibitions of their artistic expressions across North America. When Western audiences imagine artwork from this region, carpets often first come to mind. One of the most extraordinary examples of which can be seen now at the Aga Khan Museum, 15 minutes outside of downtown Toronto. -Chadd Scott, Forbes 10/6/20

Photos: Ittihadiyeh House in Tehran

The garden house belonged to Amin ul-Sultan, the prime minister of Nasser al-Din Shah, Muzaffar al-Din Shah, and Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar. The house was bought by Haj Rahim Ittihadiyeh after the death of Amin ul-Sultan. Over time, this historic house was dilapidated and ruined. Now it is owned by the Tehran Municipality and is being renovated. -Davoud Ghahrdar, IRNA 10/6/20

"City of Belqeys" prosperous in late Sassanid, early Islamic eras: Expert

Shahr-e Belqeys ("City of Belqeys"), situated in northeastern Iran, was prosperous during a span of time from the late Sassanid era to early Islamic times, a cultural heritage expert has said. "Though [previous] archaeological excavations at nearby mounts and hilltops put the antiquity of Belqeys at some 6,000 years, it enjoyed prosperity from the late Sassanid to the early Islamic eras," ILNA quoted Hossein Rahmani, director of the Belqeys national heritage, as saying on Tuesday. 9/30/20

Kashan, home to architectural wonders, labyrinthine bazaars

A photo collection depicts variety of architectural wonders such as atmospheric houses, covered labyrinthine bazaars, public bathhouses, madrasas, caravanserais, mudbrick wind-towers, cisterns, Persian gardens and boutique hotels scattered across the oasis city of Kashan. Many travelers opt to bypass Kashan on their journeys between Tehran, Isfahan and Yazd, to visit its must-see destinations on the edge of one of the most beautiful deserts in central Iran. -Samira Nazari, Tehran Times 9/16/20

The Persian Invasions of Greece Reconsidered: Online talk by Professor Nicholas Sekunda

The 2500th anniversary of the Battles of Thermopylae and Salamis in 2021 and that of Plataea in 2022 provides a good opportunity to reconsider the Persian invasion of Greece in the light of modern scholarship and a critical analysis of the Greek texts. This lecture seeks to demonstrate that the number of Achaemenid forces sent against Greece is unknown, and that the figures given by Herodotus are falsely constructed. The defeats of Salamis and Plataea are undeniable, but they have to be put into their context of an already overstretched Empire fighting on the absolute periphery of its possibilities.​ -Iran Heritage Foundation 9/10/20

Third Parthian skeleton unearthed in Isfahan

Iranian archaeologists have discovered the remains of an ancient human in a prehistorical mount in Isfahan, central Iran, saying that is "the third Parthian skeleton" being unearthed there over the past couple of weeks. The Parthian Empire (247 BC - 224 CE), also known as the Arsacid Empire, was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran. 9/9/20

Archaeological survey finds prehistorical hatch to Apadana Palace in Persepolis

Archaeologists have recently discovered a prehistorical hatch to Apadana Palace, a majestic ruined royal complex within the UNESCO-registered Persepolis, southern Iran. "The hatch was discovered in the eastern part of Apadana Palace, and it was created during the Achaemenid period to repel the surface water of the courtyard, and after this period, it was hidden due to the destruction of the complex," said archaeologist Ali Asadi who leads a survey at the ruined palace 9/8/20

'Mantis man' drawing captures ancient fascination with insects

"Mantis man" may sound like a pirate version of Marvel's superhero, but it's actually the nickname given to an unusual petroglyph discovered in central Iran. Prehistoric rock art depicts a six-legged figure that appears to be inspired by the insect known as the praying mantis. Archaeologists and entomologists teamed up to analyze the petroglyph. Their study, which was published in the Journal of Orthoptera Research, suggests that the figure may be a combination of a praying mantis and a man. -James Ashley, The Bulletin Time 9/8/20

Photos: Dovecotes of Mazrae Gavart Village

Mazrae Gavart is a village located in the east of Isfahan Province. There are old dovecotes in the village, known as Borj-e Kabootar in Persian, which means Pigeon Tower. Over two thousand pigeons live in a dovecote of Mazrae Gavart Village, while some of them used to be home to nearly 20,000 pigeons. -Saman Khoshpeyman, ISNA 8/21/20

Darak, where desert meets sea, added to Iran's National Heritage list

The coastal village of Darak in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan has recently been inscribed on the National Heritage list, CHTN reported. Located between the two important port cities of Chabahar and Bandar Abbas, Darak is one of the few places in the world where the sea and the desert meet. Darak or Darag in the local language means settling along the sea. 8/18/20

Human, animal skeletons discovered in Persepolis

Thirteen skeletons, including 11 human and 2 animal skeletons, were discovered during archeological excavations in Persepolis, located in Shiraz City of Iran. Persepolis is an archeological site featuring majestic approaches, monumental stairways, throne rooms, reception rooms, and dependencies built by Darius I (522-486 BCE), his son Xerxes I (486-465 BCE), and his grandson Artaxerxes I (465-424 BCE). -Mohammad Reza Dehdari, ISNA 8/18/20

Iran Digs Ancient Cup Out of Fallen Soldier's Chest

A precious antique cup has been dug out at Iran's Hassanlou historical site, which is one of the most important ancient spots in the Iranian plateau with international reputation. Iran Digs Ancient Cup Out of Fallen Soldier's Chest 3Among the most important finds at the site is a 3000-year-old golden cup discovered in the bosom of a wounded soldier. -IFP 8/17/20

Skeleton of another 'Parthian lady' discovered in Isfahan, Iran

A team of Iranian archaeologists has found what they say is the skeleton of the second Parthian-era (247 BC - 224 CE) lady at the ancient Tepe Ashraf in Isfahan, hoping new range of discoveries offer novel clues about the history of the central Iranian city. The team, led by senior archaeologist Alireza Jafari-Zand, unearthed the remains of the first 'Parthian lady' last month in a place they believe is likely to be an ancient cemetery. 8/13/20

Fath-Abad Garden; a glamorous tourist attraction in Southern Iran

Fathabad Garden (Biglar Beigi Mansion) is located about 25km from Iran's southeastern city of Kerman. It enjoys very outstanding ornaments including patterns which historians believe have been also used in Shahzdeh Garden in Mahan. The garden has not been registered as a "Persian Garden" by the UNESCO World Heritage, but is still a mesmerizing tourist attraction in the heart of Iran's world known deserts in southeast of the country. -Abouzar Ahmadizadeh, IRNA 8/7/20

Ancient human skeleton, possibly Parthian woman, unearthed in Isfahan

The remains of an ancient person, believed to date back to the Parthian era (247 BC - 224 CE), has been discovered during an archaeological season which is underway at Tepe Ashraf, the sole archaeological hill in Isfahan, central Iran. Though the gender of the skeleton has not been determined yet, it is likely that it belonged to a Parthian woman based on specifications of its burial site, IRNA quoted senior archaeologist Alireza Jafari-Zand as saying on Saturday. 7/27/20

Newly unearthed workshops may push back history of Isfahan by millennia

Archaeologists have unearthed the ruins of two workshops, estimated to date from the Parthian era (247 BC - 224 CE), in Isfahan in a significant discovery that may push back the history of the central Iranian city in time by millennia. 7/17/20

Photos: Oldest settlement in Iranian Plateau

Archaeologists uncovered 21 historical sites in Sadrabad Village located in Zarandieh County of Markazi Province nearly a month ago in what is called the 'most extensive' systematic field research so far conducted in the central Iranian plateau. -Hadi Zand 7/8/20

Discover Ghadamgah: A millennia-old place of worship embedded beneath rock cliff

Ghadamgah is a millennia-old subterranean temple that was repurposed to be a mosque. The temple is said to be a place of worship where the ancient Mithraism rituals observed before the advent of Islam. The place of worship, which sometimes is referred to as a cave, is situated at the upstream of Ghadamgah's graveyard, near Badamyar village, from environs of Azarshahr in the northwestern West Azarbaijan province. 6/30/20

Crumbling but still fabulous: UNESCO-registered Takht-e Soleyman

Photos depict scenes from the UNESCO-registered Takht-e Soleyman ("Solomon's Throne"), a ruined sanctuary in northwest Iran, which is still a source of charm for avid holidaymakers, history buffs and archaeologists. The deserted sanctuary bears testimony to various eras of the nation's history. It is situated in the southeastern highlands of West Azarbaijan province overlooking a lake with a backdrop of a snowcapped mountain range. -Tehran Times 6/29/20

The surprising origins of the postal service

With mail processing delays around the world and the United States Postal Service (USPS) teetering on the brink of collapse as a result of the financial losses caused by the pandemic, as reported by Politico, many people are coming to realise just how crucial a role the mail plays in their daily lives. Far fewer, however, may be aware of how the modern postal service came to be, and the ancient Persian institution that served as the model and inspiration for the USPS and other such delivery services. -Joobin Bekhrad, BBC 6/26/20

Kaldar cave in Iran estimated to date over 63,000 years

Nearly one decade of archaeological surveys at Kaldar cave has concluded that parts of this western Iranian shelter date more than 63,000 years. "After a decade of studying the cultural evidence yielded from the three seasons of archeological excavations at Kaldar Cave, the recent results show that a Paleolithic layer in the middle of this the cave is more than 63,000 years old," CHTN quoted Iranian archaeologist Behrouz Bazgir as saying on Sunday. 6/23/20

The Art of Persia: A rare glimpse into an ancient world of art and culture

Samira Ahmed and her team, with the help of some amazing drone photography, make a pretty good stab at revealing Iran's fascinating, rich and complex past, a story of successive invasions and empire-building, about which, I imagine, most of us are fairly ignorant. By calling the three-parter The Art of Persia, as opposed to Iran, there's a clear delineation between the country's past and present, its pre-Islamic and Islamic cultures, and the time before and after it became an Islamic Republic in 1979. -Evening Standard 6/16/20

Excavations reveal rare find of Bronze Age culture in Iran

Iran has recently unearthed a rare Bronze Age culture, related settlements and relics following to rounds of excavation in a plain near the north-central city of Qom. "Archaeological excavations carried out at a broad natural sandy-gravel hill named Tepe Yousef Khan has revealed relics and remains which are related to the Kura-Araxes culture known as one of the most developed Bronze Age cultures of the time," IRNA quoted senior Iranian archaeologist Siamak Sarlak, who led the excavations, as saying on Tuesday. 6/12/20

Petroglyphs hold clues to 14,000 years of human life in Iran

Archaeologists have found prehistoric rock drawings near Natanz in central Iran which give clues about the rise of human presence that is rooted in 14,000 years of history. Existing findings prove that human life goes back to 6,000 years in the region. 5/25/20

PHOTOS: On the verge of oblivion? Meet stone lions deserted in southwest Iran

Some cultural heritage enthusiasts say that hundreds of stone lions, which were placed on top of the tombstones of brave and courageous people of Bakhtiari tribe in the past, are now on the verge of oblivion and even fading away. Bakhtiari nomads regard such stone statues, locally called 'Bard Shirs' as a symbol of bravery, valor, and characteristics like adroitness at hunting and shooting in war as well as horseback riding on top of the gravestone of that group of people. -Alireza Mohammadi 4/29/20

Sassanid Inscription Unearthed In Ancient Iran Necropolis Being Deciphered

Experts are working to decipher a newly discovered inscription unearthed in an ancient necropolis near Persepolis, an official of the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran, said on Monday. The inscription which dates from the Sassanian period (224-651 AD) was found in Naqsh-e Rostam and is written in Pahlavi language (also known as Middle Persian) which was the official language of the Sassanian Empire. 4/28/20

Precious stolen work by Persian poet Hafez, now recovered, will be sold

A "magnificent" stolen manuscript by the revered 14th-century Persian poet Hafez, which was dramatically discovered earlier this year by a Dutch art sleuth, is set to be sold at auction next month. The gold-illuminated Divan of Hafez is dated to 1462 and is one of the earliest copies of the work of the Persian poet, who died in 1390. -Guardian 3/10/20

Iranian Instrument maker Zolfaqar Beitaneh picked as Living Human Treasure

The South Khorasan Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department (SKCHTHD) has selected dotar maker Zolfaqar Beitaneh as a Living Human Treasure. The 58-year-old master, who lives in Ferdows, South Khorasan Province, has also skills in crafting a kind of reed flute, which is used in the folk music of Khorasan. 3/4/20

Atashgah: A hillside Zoroastrian fire temple in Isfahan

Though Iran is a Muslim-majority country, it is home to ancient Zoroastrian sites still retaining otherworldly charm. Isfahan's Atashgah is one of those which is situated on a mountain of the same name in western site of the central Iranian city. Experts say the fire temple dates back Sassanid era (224-651). 2/24/20

Trump's Threat to Iran's Cultural Sites Hasn't Gone Away

Think about the cultural sites around the world that are important to you. For most Americans, these sites would include the Statue of Liberty, the Lincoln Memorial, Mount Rushmore, among others. Imagine if these sites were targeted and destroyed by our enemies, nations that decided to throw off the yokes of the laws of armed conflict and destroy sites that are a testament to American values. -Anisha Hindocha, Inkstick 2/13/20

The Amazing Windcatchers of Yazd: Talk by Dr Susan Roaf - March 4, 2020 in London

We take so much for granted when we look only at the visible structures of buildings, but windcatchers demonstrate that their invisible attributes may often be more important. Their story in Yazd reaches out in many directions, showing how one apparently simple design feature links us to many aspects of the physical, historic and political past of the whole region. 2/6/20

Jashn-e Sadeh, ancient festival of mid-winter, observed by Zoroastrians across Iran

A host of Iranian Zoroastrians come together in Taft county, central Yazd province, to observe Jashn-e Sadeh, a time-honored religious festival of mid-winter on January 30, 2020. Same ceremonies were also held by followers of the Zoroastrian faith in several other cities across the country, including Tehran, Shiraz, and Kerman. Narratives say that the festivity is to remember the mythical discovery of fire. That's why they set fire to a big pile of wood when the event reaches its climax. 1/31/20

Iran's cultural heritage reflects the grandeur and beauty of the golden age of the Persian empire

It's simply not possible to do justice to the value of Iran's cultural heritage - it's a rich and noble history that has had a fundamental impact on the world through art, architecture, poetry, in science and technology, medicine, philosophy and engineering. The Iranian people are intensely aware - and rightly proud of - their Persian heritage. -MENAFN 1/23/20

2020: Millennium of Persian Poet Ferdowsi

Anniversaries are important; they celebrate legacies and signify presence and continuity. This year, 2020, marks the 1000th anniversary of Ferdowsi's death. This renowned Persian poet died at age 81 in 1020, more than five centuries before Shakespeare was born. Ferdowsi has not only endured for a thousand years but has also defined the very identity and language of his own country - Iran. This is, indeed, a great achievement for a poet or for any person, for that matter. -Rasoul Shams 1/13/20

Pentagon Says Will Not Violate Law Of War Amid Alarm Over Trump's Threat To Target Iranian cultural sites

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has strongly indicated that the U.S. military will not fire on Iranian cultural sites, targets that President Donald Trump had threatened to strike. "We will follow the laws of armed conflict," Esper said during a briefing at the Pentagon. When asked if that ruled out targeting cultural sites, Esper said pointedly, "That's the laws of armed conflict." Trump's suggestion that the United States could target Iranian cultural sites has sparked alarm in Iran and beyond, with Human Rights Watch (HRW) saying such action would be a war crime. 1/7/20

Iranians Flood Twitter With Photos of Favorite Cultural Sites as Trump Threatens Them With Destruction

Ordinary Iranians on Saturday responded to U.S. President Donald Trump's monstrous threat to strike sites "important to Iran and the Iranian culture" with an outpouring of photos highlighting their favorite mosques, museums, monuments, and other stunning architecture. "Fastest way to unify all political factions in Iran against you is to assassinate the general who led Iran's fight against ISIS," tweeted Independent correspondent Negar Mortazavi. -Jake Johnson, Common Dreams 1/6/20

Donald Trump's belligerent threats to Iran's cultural sites are grotesque

Donald Trump's threat to destroy the sites of ancient Persia should send a shiver down the spine of any civilised person. How can anything justify American bombing of Persepolis or the mosques of Isfahan? Only the demented can see them as "threatening America". It is on the same ethical plane as the Islamic State vandalism of Palmyra and Mosul. -Simon Jenkins, Guardian 1/6/20

In pictures: Iran's silk makers still weaving a 3,000-year-old trade

The memory of the Silk Road is still alive in the remotest regions of Iran, where the ancient route once passed. For more than 3,000 years, silk thread produced in Iran has been used to make clothing fabric and for weaving Persian rugs. Thousands of families in northern and eastern Iran still earn a living through the ancient trade, mainly in the Gilan, Razavi Khorasan, and Torbat-e Heydarieh provinces -Middle East Eye 1/2/20

Yalda Night: Iranians celebrate winter solstice tonight!

A new Yalda Night is approaching the hearts of Iranians no matter which part of the globe they live. On that graceful night the winter chill is vanquished and the warmth of love embraces the entire family. The last evening of autumn and the beginning of winter is a ceremonious, auspicious time for Iranians and lovers of Iranian traditions everywhere on earth. -Afshin Majlesi, Tehran Times 12/21/19

Book: Tappeh Sialk, The Glory Of Ancient Kashan

Tappeh Sialk on the outskirts of modern Kashan is arguably the most important ancient site in Iran before the rise of the Persian Empire in 550 BCE. Excavations here in the 1930s by a French team and by Iranian teams from 2000 AD onwards have cast light on the history of Iran from 6000 BCE onwards, spanning the Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age periods. 12/16/19

Conference in Paris - Tappeh Sialk: A Key Site for the Archaeology of Iran

​The site of Tappeh Sialk in Iran was excavated by the archaeologist Roman Ghirshman between 1933 and 1937, exposing whole areas of the ancient cultures of the plateau, from the Neolithic to the Iron Age. The objective of this conference will be to take stock, 80 years after the publication of Ghirshman's work, on the history of this site and on its central role for Iranian archaeology. -Iran Heritage Foundation 11/21/19

Irish Museum hosts exhibition on ancient Persian prophet MANI

The Persian prophet Mani created a new religion in the 3rd century AD. He believed the world is a struggle between the forces of dark and light which ultimately causes the release of the light-soul from the material body. The Persian Emperor, Shapur I, allowed Mani to freely promote his ideas through the empire but later, following the pressure of Zoroastrian priests, Bahram I arrested Mani. -Pejman Akbarzadeh 11/8/19

Visit Tappeh Mill, one of the most ancient temples in Iran

Of the buildings that still remain from the early years of civilization, are the ancient temples. Given the importance of religion for the mankind, it's not surprising that these spiritual sites were built using topmost architectural innovations of the time in imposing scales. 11/4/19

Newly-found petroglyph in western Iran may have link to Mithraism

A newly-discovered rock-carving in western Iran could have a link to Mithraism, a prehistorical religion inspired by Iranian worship of the Zoroastrian god Mithra. Some Iranian archaeologists suggest that the carving was created by a follower of Mithraism as it depicts a simple portrayal of a human with his right hand raised and an object in his hand. But, experts say it needs much more study in order to date the petroglyph. 11/1/19

The screening of 'COUP 53' in Manhattan

After ten protracted, nonetheless, scrupulous years of research and interviews, and arduous scripts writing and productions, COUP 53, the historical two hour chilling thriller documentary of the British MI6 and the American CIA's bloody covert actions against IRAN, which led to the overthrow of the first and perhaps the last ever democratically elected prime minster Dr. Mohammad Mosadegh, went on SVA Theatre silver screen in Manhattan on October 18. -Davood N. Rahni 10/22/19

Iran displays 300 Achaemenid tablets returned from U.S. after judicial saga

The National Museum of Iran is exhibiting some 300 cuneiform tablets returned from the United States following a judicial saga. Originally from the ruins of Persepolis, capital of the Persian Achaemenid Empire (559-330 B.C,) in southern Iran, these works belong to a batch of 1,783 tablets or pieces of clay tablets returned Monday by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. 10/3/19

Genome study shows that Iran's population is more heterogeneous than previously believed

An international research team including scientists from the University of Cologne, Germany, numerous Iranian universities and the University of Sydney, Australia, has shown that today's Iranian population is composed of partially highly heterogeneous ethnic groups, exhibiting a high degree of genetic variation. In many cases, their source goes back many thousands of years. The results, obtained from the first genome-wide genetic characterization of the Iranian population by this team, appeared in PLOS Genetics under the title 'Distinct genetic variation and heterogeneity of the Iranian population'. 9/25/19

Crowdfunding Campaign: First Documentary on Persian Fortress DARBAND in Russia

The Sasanian Fortress in Darband was built in the 6th century AD to protect the Persian Empire from invasion by nomadic peoples to the north. The defensive structures remained in continuous use by the succeeding Persian, Arab and Turkish forces until the Russian invasion in the 19th century. 8/12/19

Which "Gulf" Do They Mean?

If you've ever wondered how historical realities can be sacrificed and manipulated in the service of myopic political goals, there is a great example for you to follow in your daily roundup of international news offered by the mainstream media. While reading through coverage of current Middle Eastern affairs in international newspapers, magazines, and news websites, it's very common for readers to come across the words "the Gulf." -Kourosh Ziabari 8/7/19

The ancient art of making ships in southern Iran

Maritime trade, shipping and shipbuilding have long been practiced in Iran. There have been many small or big shipyards across the northern coasts of the Persian Gulf. If you are planning to travel to the southernmost parts of the country, we suggest to visit the Persian Gulf in trace of seeing the process of crafting and sailing traditional Lenj boats, which has passed down from father to son. The hand-built vessels are used for sea journeys, trading, fishing and pearl diving. -Afshin Majlesi, Tehran Times 8/6/19

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