A gap has emerged in the 700-years old underground city in Hamedan

Hamedan maybe called the land of underground cities, but their current state is not so good. Many of these hand-dug caves and underground cities have been left to themselves without archeological excavation. They are prey to unauthorized diggers, and some are on the verge of collapse due to the lack of proper protection.

Hamedan is called the origin of underground cities or the land of hand-dug areas; among them the Arzanfood and Samen underground cities are more famous; and this maybe the reason for their being in a better shape.

In ILNA’s report, Behnam Naderi, a cultural heritage activist, has commented that a considerable number of underground cities and caves in Hamedan are in an unfavorable condition and need better care and supervision.

Referring to the situation of other underground areas in Hamedan province, he said: “One of these collections that should be registered in the national heritage list is the hand-dug slums of Tarkhinabad in Asadabad. Another example is the underground area of Anoch village in the south of Hamedan province, which is one of the oldest habitats of this province, in addition to having a historical fortress in the center. There is also a hand-dug area below it, which has not yet been archeologically excavated and is abandoned. There is also a collection in Razan village, which is also abandone.”

This cultural activist pointed out that the condition of Dehbone “dastkand” is also not good and added: “This unique underground city has several entrances, and unauthorized excavations have been carried out in it for years, but archaeologists have not yet explored it. We have brought this issue to the attention of the cultural heritage many times, but no action has been taken so far.”

Not long ago, another underground city was also found, but after the first season of exploration, which took place in 1398, it was left alone; until today, News of its collapse and appearance of cracks in it are heard.

The underground city of Saleh Abad Hamedan was identified in 2015, but its first exploration season was done in 2018. Based on the published report of that excavation, it is said that after some preliminary work and investigation were done, the age of this place was estimated to be about 700 years. In preliminary studies, they found six spaces, each having access to the surface through vents. Some areas have been identified not far from the underground city, which experts believe to be connected with this underground cityh as an area of more than five hectares. Rooms have been identified in the distance around this Dastkand, which experts believe to be connected with the Dastkand. This area is full of dirt because the dust from the agricultural fields was poured into the city through the same vents, making exploration more difficult.

Mohammad Shabani, head of the Saleh Abad underground excavation group, said about this excavation: The Saleh Abad underground excavation has many similarities with the Arzanfood cave in terms of structure, but different in some areas such as the ventilations. The first season of excavation was accomplished with the municipality’s cooperation and financing of more than 30 million Tomans. However, more funds are needed for the next seasons, which will be done to explore and identify the environment and its scope.

This site is within the boundaries of Saleh Abad city and 15 km from Hamedan, and now news tell about the collapse of part of the underground city. This collapse caused Bahar, the public prosecutor, to come to the area for investigation. The underground city of Salehabad is only 2 meters away from the road, and this can be ideal to make it into a tourist destination.

Naderi pointed out that the Saleh Abad underground city complex is on agricultural land with a private owner and said: Although the owner of this land has no problem with exploration, this area has been left alone for years. During the investigation, a path was opened from the southern part of the complex for exploration, which was closed after the completion of the first season. These days, the entrance part of archaeologists’ excavation has collapsed due to a lack of care, supervision, and proper protection. Also, unauthorized excavations have become another factor in the collapse of this area because there is no supervision. When people found out about the discovery of an underground city in this area, they tried to carry out unauthorized excavations.

Nevertheless, Hamedan province’s deputy director of cultural heritage informed about sending an expert to this area and checking its condition and told ILNA: “We will soon announce the opinion of the relevant expert and archaeologist about the condition of the underground city of Saleh Abad.”

The underground city of Saleh Abad is only two meters from the road, and this position can be the best option to make this area a tourist destination. Also, a few kilometers away from it is the Tajabad Caravanserai, the only circular caravanserai in the west of Iran and will soon go into the world heritage list. Also, near this area, the Arman Tourism Village hosts various events every year, such as the Plum Festival. This favorable situation can attract tourists to this region.

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September 26, 2023