People, Travel

ICHHTO Orders Speedy Restoration of Quake-Hit Sites

Photo from April 7 shows a crack on the entrance of the bazaar in Mashhad, next to the Shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH).Photo from April 7 shows a crack on the entrance of the bazaar in Mashhad, next to the Shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH).

Iran's cultural heritage chief has ordered affiliated officials in the quake-hit Khorasan Razavi Province to immediately prepare for restoring cultural and historical sites damaged by an earthquake late last week.

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck the central and eastern parts of the province on Wednesday, leaving 2 dead and 15 injured.

Zahra Ahmadipour, the head of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, has ordered provincial officials of the organization to study any possible damage to heritage sites and start restoration work as soon as possible, ISNA reported.

Pictures posted on social media showed deep cracks in roads and buildings, including the wall of the city's major bazaar adjacent to the holy shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH), the eighth Shia imam.

Speaking to ISNA, Mohammad Hossein Zare-Sefat, the head of the provincial ICHHTO office, said none of the historical buildings, even those located adjacent to deep fault lines, has been seriously damaged by the earthquake.

According to the official, old cracks have deepened in a number of ancient buildings in Robat Sharif, Baba Loqman and Khwaf, but the only noticeable impact of the quake was the collapse of Golshan Bathhouse in Nishabour.

"The structure had already been damaged by the recent heavy rainfall and was structurally weak," he said.

Zare-Sefat did not provide details on the status of the holy shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH).

Elaborating on cracks on the walls of the historical bazaar, the official excused ICHHTO from any responsibility over the structure, citing the fact that the site is not inscribed on the National Heritage List.

The earthquake's epicenter was in Sefidrang Village, near the provincial capital Mashhad. According to a report by a seismography center affiliated to Tehran University Geophysics Institute, the tremor occurred at 10:40 a.m. local time around 81 km southwest of the shrine city of Mashhad at a depth of 10 km.

The quake also shook the neighboring cities of Gonabad and Torbat Heydarieh, and barely an hour later 15 aftershocks were registered measuring a magnitude of between 3 and 5 degrees.


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