At the Mercy of Moisture

At the Mercy of MoistureAt the Mercy of Moisture

Moisture is threatening the integrity and longevity of the ancient Sarvestan Palace in Sarvestan County, Fars Province, ILNA reported.

The problem was spotted 4 months ago; nevertheless, no measures have been taken to prevent further damage to the ancient structure, which dates back to the Sassanid era (224 – 651 AD).

Speaking to ILNA, head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) office in Sarvestan County, Razieh Rahpeyma, said experts from Tehran and Shiraz had visited the site a month ago to diagnose the problem, adding: “It was decided to use drainage pipes and other means to help drain the moisture.”


The official blamed lack of funding for the structure’s dismal condition, and added that the moisture problem worsened in the early weeks of 2015. “We have asked for money to tackle problem, but the officials are more concerned with securing funding for Golestan Palace.” Golestan Palace in Tehran also suffers from moisture problems.

Rahpeyma said that there are plans to tentatively list Sarvestan Palace along with other Sassanid-era structure in Fars Province as a possible UNESCO World Heritage Site. “To that end, we have to take care of these old structures, lest they fall into disrepair.”

  architectural significance

Sarvestan Palace, located 90 km southeast of provincial capital Shiraz, is of significant architectural importance to archeologists and architects alike.

Despite sharing physical similarities with the well-known Palace of Ardashir (locally called Firouzabad Palace) in Firouzabad, Fars Province, archeologists believe the architectural style used in designing  Sarvestan Palace’s arches are among the very first examples of the iconic parabolic and pointed arches employed in palaces and sacred structures during the Sassanid era which heavily influenced 12th-century European Gothic architecture.

  Uncontrolled Moisture

Uncontrolled moisture is the most prevalent cause of deterioration in historic buildings. It leads to erosion, corrosion, rot, and ultimately the destruction of materials, finishes, and eventually structural components. Ever-present in the environment, moisture can be controlled to provide the differing levels of moisture necessary for the longevity of historic building materials, according to Sharon C. Park, a preservation specialist.

The challenge to building owners and preservation professionals alike is to understand the patterns of moisture movement in order to better manage it-not to try to eliminate it.

There is never a single answer to a moisture problem. Diagnosis and treatment will always differ depending on where the building is located, climatic and soil conditions, ground water effects, and local traditions in building construction.