Persepolis Funding Delayed

Persepolis Funding DelayedPersepolis Funding Delayed

In spite of a pledge by President Hassan Rouhani a year ago to allocate funds for the restoration and preservation of the ruins of Persepolis, economic woes has prevented the government from making good on its promise.

Speaking to ILNA, Mohammad Hassan Talebian, cultural heritage deputy at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Organization, said, “The directive has been issued, but due to the country’s financial troubles last year the funds are not yet available.”

During a tour of the ancient ruins in Fars Province last May, Rouhani pledged his administration’s support for the preservation of Persepolis.

Shortly after, the ICHHTO submitted a request for a 400-billion-rial ($11.7 million) budget, spread out over two years, which was approved.

The site is under threat due to a variety of natural and manmade factors.

Prolonged drought has rendered rivers and wetlands dry in Fars Province, forcing locals and especially farmers to tap into groundwater sources via illegally-dug wells. Excessive withdrawal from illegal water wells around Persepolis has caused land subsidence in some areas of the ancient ruins, with the first cracks appearing about a decade ago.

Furthermore, the site has been battling lichens for several years, but researchers have so far struggled to devise a risk-free method to rid the site of lichens without damaging the integrity of the structure.

Biological growth, such as algae, bacteria and lichens, can cause irreparable damage to ancient structures and cause engravings on stone surfaces to fade.

Founded by Darius I in 518 BC, Persepolis was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire and is situated 70 km northeast of the city of Shiraz. In 333 BC, Persepolis was devastated by Alexander the Great, and it has been in ruins ever since.

A magnificent example of the Achaemenid-style of architecture, the ruins were declared a World Heritage Site in 1979.