Art And Culture

Plea to Safeguard Shiraz Cultural Heritage

Plea to Safeguard Shiraz Cultural HeritagePlea to Safeguard Shiraz Cultural Heritage

One of the issues appearing and reappearing in the cultural corridors of Shiraz is the demolition of historical homes across Fars Province of which Shiraz is the capital.

It was not in the too distant past that law enforcement agents would approach the homes, many of them dating back hundreds of years, to flush out junkies and addicts who normally made such places their refuge.

According to the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), such uncalled for and unwanted incidents had over time become a norm much to the chagrin and dismay of the people of the province, especially those concerned about and contributing to the cultural richness of this ancient land. It was after the news agency published some inconvenient and disturbing pictures of the raids on the historic homes that ‘some brakes were put’ on the negative development.

 However, in recent times something worse is unfolding in Shiraz’s old textures. This time around there is neither sign of the law enforcers nor the pretext of flushing out the junkies and their clients. A common instance in the tiny alleys and famous suburbs, where even motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians jostle to pass by, is the roaring of bulldozers brought in by hitherto unknown groups.

According to available reports, those involved in this destruction and cultural demolitions, especially in the world famous ancient Shahcheragh district, go so far as to pick up fights with the inhabitants who oppose their apparently illegal and unlawful actions. Meetings were held by the relevant officials to take stock of the dire situation and initiate some ‘damage control.’ But to no avail, ISNA reported on Sunday. The only ‘positive’ outcome of the unending meetings was a claim that the plan for expanding old textures in Shiraz lacks official permit. Translation: such demolitions of ancient and priceless buildings are prohibited!

 Lack of Attention

On the same critical issue, the governor general of this key southern region and world famous tourist hub is of the opinion that such lawlessness, despite its colossal negative value, is still not getting the attention it deserves in the mass media. Seyyed Muhammad Ahmadi told a press briefing that the renovation and rehabilitation of 1,400 hectares of old textures has been officially approved. “In this area there are old homes that carry heritage value. Some have national registration while others do not. However, in the latter there is nothing taken away from its national and historical value.”

Ahmadi was frank in his assessment of the crisis unfolding on the provincial cultural landscape, and made little secret of the fact that he holds the principal cultural organization responsible. “I told the people who had come from Tehran that the ICHHTO is dragging its feet… If they put up the money and buy these ancient homes the problems would be solved.”  Doing nothing is not an option, he noted, and urged the Iran Cultural, Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization to move sooner rather than later.

The senior official stressed that there are investors willing to repair and renovate the ancient dwelling places “but the possibility is now not available.” He did not elaborate.