Impact of Quake on Relics, Heritage Sites Trivial

An earthquake hit Tehran and Alborz Provinces on Wednesday but only did minimal damage on heritage sites
The jolts were felt as far as Qazvin, Qom, Markazi and Gilan provinces. The jolts were felt as far as Qazvin, Qom, Markazi and Gilan provinces.

The 5.2-Richter earthquake on Wednesday did not inflict any serious damage on historical sites and relics of Tehran, Alborz and Qazvin provinces, but only led to the closure of museums and cancellation of eco-tours.

Following the incident, the protection units at the provincial offices of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization immediately went on full alert and began inspecting the sites for any possible damage.

According to Mohammad Hossein Talebian, ICHHTO's deputy for cultural heritage, the only damage inflicted on a historical place in Tehran was cracks on the ceiling of Rey Bazaar, CHTN reported.

"In Qazvin, cracks in the structure of Peighambarieh School-Mosque, Jame' Mosque and Sa'd al-Saltaneh Caravanserai widened," he said. Rajabali Khosroabadi, director of Tehran's ICHHTO office, said Tehran's museums were shut down on the following day for security purposes.

However, Mohammad Reza Kargar, director of museum affairs at ICHHTO, told reporters on Thursday that a survey of National Museum and Sa'dabad, Niavaran and Golestan palace-complexes to ensure the safety of the items has been completed and the sites are open to public.

Since the capital is highly prone to earthquakes, the management of Sa'dabad complex organized a meeting on Thursday to discuss the measures needed to prevent any harm to the structures and display items, as well as emergency reinforcement of vulnerable sections.

"We intend to set up a workgroup of experts to prepare for such natural disasters and prevent or minimize any possible damage," Kia Parsa, director of the complex, said.  Ali Asghar Mounesan, ICHHTO's chief, expressed preparedness to allow the public enter the open area of all the property owned by ICHHTO.

"Given the possibility of aftershocks, all the open spaces under ICHHTO's coverage are available to host people in case of a critical condition," he said.

Besides closing the museums, eco-tours in Tehran were also cancelled on Thursday and Friday.

"Organizing any eco-tour, especially to the natural caves in Tehran and neighboring provinces, is banned until further notice," Khosroabadi said, calling on the public to avoid visiting Roudafshan and Burnic caves in Tehran Province until their safety is assured by experts.

A magnitude 5.2 tremor hit Tehran and Alborz provinces on Wednesday at 11:27 local time and drove many residents into streets and parks in fear of a greater aftershock despite the cold.

The epicenter was Meshkin-Dasht in Alborz Province, but the jolts were felt as far as Qazvin, Qom, Markazi and Gilan provinces.


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