People, Travel

Floods Damage Heritage Sites

Floods Damage Heritage SitesFloods Damage Heritage Sites

Flash floods on Wednesday and Thursday that wreaked havoc across 126 cities in western and southwestern Iran have damaged historical sites and infrastructure in Ilam and Khuzestan provinces.

Severe flooding damaged water and power facilities, roads, recreational sites and tourist resorts, as well as six historically-significant monuments in Ilam, ISNA reported, quoting a statement by Abdolmalek Shanbezade, head of the provincial office of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.

The statement was all too familiar for Shanbezadeh, who in November had to make a similar announcement following heavy flooding in Ilam that cost the province’s tourism infrastructure an estimated 45 billion rials ($1.3 million) in damages.

The historical city of Simareh as well as Mirgholam, Vazil and Hezar Deb castles were among the province’s damaged heritage sites during last week’s flooding.

“The abundance of cultural and historical sites in Ilam notwithstanding, we always have problems with heavy rain and floods due to underdeveloped infrastructure and lack of (development)  budget,” Shanbezadeh said.

Elsewhere in Khuzestan, flooding of the Dez River in Dezful inflicted damage on the columns of the Old Bridge, which is said to be 1,700 years old, IRNA reported.

“A deep crack has appeared on one of the columns, while a couple of others are also damaged,” Yaqoob Zalaqi, caretaker of the provincial ICHHTO office, said.

The Old Bridge was constructed in 263 AD following the victory of Shapur I of the Sassanid Empire over the Romans to facilitate travel between Gondeshapur (Jondishapur in Persian) and Mesopotamia in modern-day Iraq.

A number of historical houses in Dezful have also incurred damages.