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Height of Silos in Persepolis Marginally Reduced

Height of Silos in Persepolis Marginally ReducedHeight of Silos in Persepolis Marginally Reduced

After months of legal struggle, the height of two silos on the outskirts of the ruins of Persepolis and Naqsh-e-Rostam in Marvdasht, Fars Province, was reduced on Sunday.

According to a court order, seven meters were shaved off the 24-meter-high structures by knocking down concrete parts and large metal roof caps to reduce the height of the constructions that marred the ancient landscapes.

"We can now claim that the risks of damage to the view of the historical places have been reduced to a great extent," said Afshin Yazdani, archeologist and advisor to the Persepolis site manager, IRNA reported.

Legally, no structure in the vicinity of Persepolis should be taller than 8.5 meters. This means that the silos are still higher than permitted.    

Cultural heritage sites have boundaries known as buffer zones that are divided into three areas, with Zone 1 being the closest to and Zone 3 the furthest from the main site. A buffer zone provides an additional layer of protection to a world heritage property, separating it from other sites and ensuring no harm comes to the site.

National and international laws explicitly ban encroaching on the boundaries of historical places, especially zones 1 and 2. The aforementioned structures are located within Zone 2; that is to say that their construction was illegal to begin with.

Following meetings between the prosecutor of Marvdasht County, the proprietor of Naqsh-e-Rostam Flour Factory and the officials of the protection unit of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, the ruling called for reducing the height of the structures.

"This indicates ICHHTO's determination to take proceedings against any illegal activity within the world heritage site's buffer zone," said Masoud Rezaei, who is Persepolis' site manager.

Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1979, Persepolis was at risk of losing its heritage status, as the silos spoiled its landscape.

Already threatened by land subsidence due to depleting groundwater resources, the ancient structure is besieged by unrelenting lichens that experts say cannot yet be removed without harming the popular attraction site.

Naqsh-e-Rostam, which has been on the UNESCO Tentative List since 1997, could also lose its chances of being inscribed on the list.

Only two sites—Oman’s Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in 2007 and Germany’s Desden Elbe Valley in 2009—have been dropped from UNESCO’s list of heritage sites. The former was removed due to Oman's decision to reduce the size of the sanctuary by 90% and the latter was knocked off the list as a result of the construction of the four-lane Waldschlosschen Bridge across the valley.


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