Historic Kasra Arch

Preserving the historic Kasra Arch as a Persian heritage in danger and inscribing its name in UNESCO’s list of endangered heritage were discussed during the third conference of Iran’s History of Architectural Style and City Planning currently held in the city of Bam in Kerman province. The participants of this conference also called on immediate action to save the historical cities of Jondi Shapour, Ivan Karkheh, and Tisfoon.

In an interview with CHN, Faramarz Tathir Moqadam, member of managing board of Institute for Tehran University Graduate Engineers said, “In an official statement, our institute has requested the coordinators and participants of the third conference of Iran’s History of Architectural Style and City Planning to call on all related world organizations to put their maximum efforts into renovating the Kasra Arch which is not only considered a national treasure, but is also a world heritage currently in real jeopardy.”

According to Tathir Moqadam, inscribing this architectural masterpiece in UNESCO’s List of Endangered Heritage will draw the attention of the world and would result in both financial and moral support from world organizations to preserve this ancient monument.

The Institute for Tehran University Graduate Engineers which is partly engaged with the condition of endangered historic monuments both inside Iran and abroad is one of the institutions that have taken part in this year’s architectural style conference of Iran.

For more than 12 centuries the city of Tisfoon with its huge castles and magnificent buildings was the capital city of Persian Emperors until 642 AD when Arabs seized and destroyed all its castles and buildings except for one which is named Taq-e Kasra or Kasra Arch.

The Kasra Arch was located within the Persian Empire in the present-day Iraq when Baghdad and its suburbs used to be part of the Persian Sassanid capital city of Tisfoon. The remains of this castle can still be seen 38 km from Baghdad. It is still alive and speaks of the great and magnificent Persian civilization and culture. This magnificent example of Persian architectural style has seen a lot of harm during the past few centuries, especially during the Iran-Iraq war. Also, the ancient city of Tisfoon was completely abandoned during Saddam’s regime in Iraq. “This world heritage does not at all deserve such a destiny,” said Tathir Moqadam with regret.

Tathir Moqadam also talked about Iraq’s National Museum which was once host of the most valuable historic artifacts from the Mesopotamian region which were considered part of the people’s identity but unfortunately were stolen from this museum after the recent US military attack to Iraq. “It is quite odd to see huge historic artifacts being taken out from this museum so easily during the day and while the American troops were present at the scene. It is rather unfortunate that none of those who once claimed to be the sole protectors of culture, freedom, and democracy ever bothered to stop this open plundering of our cultural heritage. I must remind you that nearly two years earlier we were faced with almost the same situation in Afghanistan,” he commented on the endangered condition of world heritage in the Middle East.

Part of the official statement sent to this year’s conference of Iran’s History of Architectural Style and City Planning by the said institute reads: “We must pay attention that cities such as Tisfoon with monuments like the Kasra Arch are examples of Persian culture, art, and architectural style in this region which must receive a continuous attention should they need to be renovated and preserved so that we may not only introduce them to the world this way but also let the world experts conduct their studies on these sites and bring them under protection of world organizations devoted to preservation of culture.”

Regarding the pictures, slides, and short movies which were displayed during this conference about the present condition of the Kasra Arch, Tathir Moqadam said, “These pictures very well show the critical condition of this giant monument which is not so far from complete devastation. Iran must at least pay as much attention it does to the existing religious cultural heritage in Iraq to preserve such valuable historic remains through which it can establish more cultural bonds with its neighboring countries.”

The Third International Conference of Iran’s History of Architectural Style and City Planning is currently held in the city of Bam in Kerman province and will run to 19 of April 2006.

Original article here