In the conference "World heritage of Choghazanbil; the untold points about Zigorat; it was said that:  Choghazanbil is the synopsis of history

Choghazanbil is the summary of history

A meeting was held by Choghazanbil and Haft Tappeh world heritage base, and in collaboration with Gilgamesh magazine, Now-Sadeh publishing house, and the Center for humanity science thinkers, with the participation of a group of tourism and cultural activists, with the goal of introducing the global heritage of Choghazanbil; untold history of zigorat. In this meeting, the hidden capabilities of this heritage site were discussed, as well as the lack of attention and indifference towards the history of Iran’s first historical work that was registered in UNESCO. Also, the book entitled “A study of the Choghazanbil world heritage site” written by Kamiar Abdi, archeologist, was introduced.

Kamyar Abdi, archeologist and author, started the meeting by referring to the problem that exists in the historiography of ancient Iran, which is related to the end of the Qajar period and beginning of Pahlavi period, and said that Iranians did not know much about their history until the reign of Nasser-eddin Shah. Even the rulers of that period thought their history started from the Kianian and Pishdadi dynasties. In the midst of Nasser-eddin Shah’s reign, Iranology gained momentum, and Iranologists started going to Susa. Valuable knowledge was published based on Mesopotamian sources and books about ancient Iran. Graduates who worked in Iran gradually got to know Iran’s historical periods. As a result of this knowledge, the scholars realized the existence of the Elamite civilization that lived before the Achaemenids.

The author of the book “A gleam from the cosmos: Knowing the world heritage of Choghazanbil”, raised the question why, at the beginning of the reign of Pahlavi I, the National Meritorious society insisted on the beginning of Iranian history from Achamenid period, even though they were aware of the Elamite civilization? He said: At that time, they paid more attention to important characters such as the world famous Kourosh Achamenid. Of course, they did, in short, refer to the existence of Medes and Elamite tribes, who existed before the Achaemenids.

He continued: “As a result of lack of attention, lack of sources and also not deciphering or decoding the scripts, we sometimes witness the encroachment of our national personalities and confiscation of parts of Iran’s history by neighboring countries. Just as we should all try our best to preserve Iran’s history, the government should also support Iran’s national and cultural identity by using its cultural diplomacy.”

Abdi added: It was for this reason that for the history of the Elamite period not to remain so unspoken, I proposed talking about the Elamites at the university level and specialized cultural places so that everyone becomes familiar with the glorious Elamite period, and the book “The Sparkle of the Universe: A Look” On the world heritage of Choghazanbil” was the result of this effort.

In the end, he said that Choghazanbil is the most magnificent Elamite work and is essential from the cultural and archaeological point of view. Choghazanbil is considered the only window to the Elamite religion. Choghazanbil has the capacity for more research on it, in order to illuminate the dark points about its history; research on Choghazanbil will help expand our knowledge about the Elamites.

Atefeh Rashnoyi, director of the Chooghazanbil and Haft Tapeh World Base, was the next speaker of the meeting and she started with this sentence: “I have a complaint: why none of the government leaders were present in this program to hear what the activists of Khuzestan have about Choghazanbil, the country’s first world heritage work.” She said that Choghazanbil, as a world heritage, has the least number of visitors because it is less known, unlike other world heritages of the country. At the same time, Choghazanbil has so many secrets around it, and if we start working on it from today, we may not be able to answer some of the questions after 100 years, maybe!

She added: “This work is known as the world’s most magnificent structure made of brick.  When I started cooperating with this group, a few years ago, we checked daily how many people visited the Choghazanbil heritage site. We still do this today, and we see that this work is the least visited site in Iran. We have not yet given economic/scientific estimate for the group of beneficiaries, and a precise introduction for it.  All these drawbacks have unbaled us to do anything effective for this most magnificent historic structure. This heritage belongs to all of us and everyone has the right to benefit from it.

The director of Choghazanbil Global Base continued: Our missing link in tourism, especially in Khuzestan, is that we have yet to reach the idea of destination management. We have never considered entertaining people and digital content or other things alongside this world heritage so that the tourist who turns 25 kilometers from the side road to reach Choghazanbil will be happy with this change of direction. We have 640 hectares of brick and clay heritage, for which we have to work hand in hand to raise public awareness.

Therefore, we plan to implement the program “from dusk to dawn” in Choghazanbil, and we hope to be able to implement it in the next 45 days by creating infrastructure for visiting at night.

Mojtaba Gahestani, a researcher and cultural heritage tourism activist spoke about the natural treasures in the context of the world heritage of Choghazanbil, and that it is not only the cultural heritage within the city limits that have made Susa worthy of archeological excavations; this ancient city’s natural heritage and especially its hidden abilities caused the first environmental department of Khuzestan to be established in Susa. Khuzestan can attract tourists interested in research and documentary production towards the natural attractions around Choghazanbil. Therefore, the protected area of Karkheh has been included in the four areas under the management of Iran’s Environmental Protection Organization since 1349. Karkheh National Forest’s valuable reserves are among the world’s most critical natural heritages.

He added: “Karkheh national park, which is a protected area in Khuzestan, is located west of Susa. Some of the plant species of this area are Gaz, Pede, Serim, Jaz, Willow, Legji, Ostbarq, Margh, and Clover, and the Gaz plant is the dominant forest cover. Some animal species in this area are Iranian yellow deer, honey-eater, wolf, forest cat, boar, wild cat, marbled duck, yellow heron, liku hozi, ordinary liku, fruit-eater, etc. Also, among the reptile species of the Karkheh protected area, we can mention the pond turtle, Ferati turtle, water snake, Garzeh snake, Jafari snake, and Parsley snake, etc.

The region’s water source is the Karkheh River, which flows through the forest. Of course, the surrounding streams and drains are also considered water resources of the region. The buffalo’s dependence on the river water and the use of the forest for buffalo and cow grazing has made the local people dependent on this area, so a significant part of the residents’ income is obtained directly and indirectly through this area. The critical point is that until the 1930s, groups of 3 to 5 Iranian lions lived in this area. The natural heritage around Choghazanbil is considered the pride of Khuzestan.

Dez National Park, a shelter and protected area, and Dez forests, with a length of nearly 150 kilometers, start from Sardar Abad-Dezful and continue along the Dez River to the south to Anafcheh near Ahvaz. The region’s area is almost 17533 hectares, and its national park is 4100 hectares. The mentioned forests are the only remnants of subtropical forests in Iran, which are unique. “Pede” and “Gaz” trees and “Serim,” “Jaz,” “Tameshk,” “Astabraq,” “Khorak” and “Legji,” “Alfalfa” and “Gramine” shrubs are part of the plant diversity of the region. Dez forest is the primary habitat of many animals in the Khuzestan plain, the most important of which is the “Iranian yellow” deer, considered a rare species in Iran and the world. Did the residents of Duravantash City know Gavazn? The Iranian yellow deer is a mammal from the deer family. The generation of Iranian yellow deer was thought to be extinct until a herd was seen in Khuzestan in the 1950s. Now, herds of Iranian yellow deer have returned to their original home in the habitats of Karkheh National Park and Protected Area and Dez National Park and Protected Area, under the supervision of the General Department of Environmental Protection of Khuzestan. In addition, valuable bird species such as “date nightingale, liko, duraj, and… live in this region.  Beneficial mammals such as “Rudak asalkhor” and “wild cat” can also be found.

This cultural heritage activist continued: Khuzestan, with its climatic characteristics, has been host to various clans and tribes since ancient times. In the geographic area around Choghazanbil, different ethnic groups have lived throughout the centuries and different periods. The nature around Choghazanbil has been influential in the type of migration and even settlement. Since long ago, it has created a way of life compatible with the climate. Agricultural and animal husbandry activities and close family relationships are the main characteristics of this community. People’s lifestyles are primarily informal, and customs and rituals rarely change. In this society, the family is the central institution that lives in the villages and other residences of Chooghazanbil.

Arash Noor-Aghaie, tourism researcher and managing director of the specialized “Gilgamesh” magazine, spoke on the topic of “Importance of farm production to present to world heritage” and said: “If we want to show the history of brick and clay buildings, Choghazanbil has a lot to say; a structure that, with its 3200 years age, is a synopsis of history.”

He added: “We need to work on producing documentaries. Even though Iran did not register any work in UNESCO for 25 years after the revolution, we still have a good rank and stand at the 10th place in the world. Some had to be clarified that this doesn’t mean Iran stands 10th in tourist attractions; our globally registered sites are source for tourism and we just have to convert them into tourist attraction.

Our shortcomings in documentation production are not only due to weakness in the tourism sector, but part of it is due to lack of international connections. We need to learn how to present ourselves in the world. There is no mention of any Iranian legends or myths in global rankings and classifications, and this anonymity itself increases the importance of documentary production.

Noor Aghaie called Choghazanbil an invaluable monument of Iran and its sustainability as a political base, and added: This building was 52 meters high in its time, 3200 years ago. At the same time, the tallest building in the Qajar period was Shams-ul-Emara (in Golestan Palace), which was 35 meters high. Andre Godard considers Choghazanbil to be the magic of Iranian brickwork. For such an important place to become a tourist destination, we need to produce an appropriate documentary. One of the points that should be considered in the documentary is Choghazanbil’s multicultural characteristic. Let us bring an example: Why is the Barcelona team so famous?  This football club has always had in mind to have players from different cultures in its club, and that is why Barcelona considers itself beyond Spanish borders. I have always wondered: Why is the Silk Road more critical than all the roads in the world? Because there was cultural diversity in it, this is an essential point that we should pay attention to when creating documentary.

He stated that reading will make the people fall in love with their heritage, and added: “Just refer to your collective memories. How many books have been written about Iran’s world heritage? I do not mean that there are no books at all; I mean books that all can read.  How many books have been written about the deserts of Iran, parts of which have been registered globally. They are only five. Walking through deserts was the most crucial work of the Swedish explorer/geographer and travel writer, Sevon Hadin. Another example: How many books have been written about Iran gardens? No problem will be solved unless a book has been written about each component of our heritage.

Mohammad Yari spoke about the untold facts about Zigorat. The heading was “Searching the Land of the Gods in Any Place and Time,” said: In the center of the city, there is the largest temple, which is the Ziggurat. Choghazanbil Ziggurat was built in two stages. In the first step, there was only a square courtyard with rooms around the yard. The entrance of these rooms opened to the central courtyard. In the second stage, they closed the doors of the rooms and built the second, third, and fourth floors as solid adobe volumes from the floor of the central courtyard. The foundations of all three shrines are located in the central courtyard. The access to the rooms, which were previously entered from the central courtyard, was also through the roof of the first floor with the help of stairs. They also built a magnificent prayer hall on the fourth square.

The ziggurat was nearly 52 meters high during the city’s prosperity. But unfortunately, only two and a half floors with a height of 25 m remain today.

He continued: The creation of panoramic images, which have an attractive and realistic display of ancient sites, is considered a form of scientific and accurate documentation. In this regard, the Choghazanbil Global Database tries to provide easy and unrestricted access to all those who love this historical collection by digitizing the shows and creating graphic content. In the virtual visit project of the Choghazanbil Global Base, Arca Heritage Company has used digital tools to photograph all the spaces of the ancient city of Durantash in the form of a panorama. At the end of this, it has provided a virtual visit system for this base.

Yari added: In this system, the visitor can virtually find out the reality in this area. In addition, with such solutions, archaeologists and researchers can see all parts of the site in detail and three-dimensionally without being on the site in the future and perform their analyses well with these images’ help. The creation of panoramic images, which have an attractive and realistic representation of ancient sites, is scientific and accurate documentation. One of the essential features of this method is high quality and precise observation, which is why the visitor can see the spaces with accuracy. Its 360-degree rotating movement allows you to get to know the characteristics of the areas well.

The “World Heritage of Choghazanbil; Unsaid Ziggurat” conference was held on Wednesday, Azar 22, 1402, at the House of Humanities Thinkers.


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June 14, 2024