Please also check out the amazing story and photos of the Bisutun Inscription – the Iranian Rosetta Stone, that was vandalized by Allied soldiers during the Anglo-Russian invasion of Iran.
Bisutun Inscription (Behistun Inscription) is a multi-lingual inscription located on Mount Bisutun in the Kermanshah Province of Iran, near the city of Kermanshah in western Iran.
Authored by Darius the Great sometime between his coronation as king of the Persian Empire in the summer of 522 BC and his death in autumn of 486 BC, the inscription includes three versions of the same text, written in three different cuneiform script languages: Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian (a later form of Akkadian). In effect, then, the inscription is to cuneiform what the Rosetta Stone is to Egyptian hieroglyphs: the document most crucial in the decipherment of a previously lost script.
The inscription is approximately 15 metres high by 25 metres wide and 100 metres up a limestone cliff from an ancient road connecting the capitals of Babylonia and Media (Babylon and Ecbatana, respectively). The Old Persian text contains 414 lines in five columns; the Elamite text includes 593 lines in eight columns, and the Babylonian text is in 112 lines.
The monument suffered some damage from Allied soldiers using it for target practice in World War II, during the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran.
In 1999, Iranian archeologists began the documentation and assessment of damages to the site incurred during the 20th century. Malieh Mehdiabadi, who was project manager for the effort, described a photogrammetric process by which two-dimensional photos were taken of the inscriptions using two cameras and later transmuted into 3-D images.
In recent years, Iranian archaeologists have been undertaking conservation works. The site became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. In 2012, the Bisotun Cultural Heritage Center organized an international effort to re-examine the inscription.
The site covers an area of 116 hectares. Archeological evidence indicates that this region became a human shelter 40,000 years ago. There are 18 historical monuments other than the inscription of Darius the Great in the Behistun complex that have been registered in the Iranian national list of historical sites.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has opened an exhibition at the National Museum of Iran showcasing hundreds of ancient Iranian artifacts returned to the country from Belgium after decades of legal battles.
The antique collection was returned to Iran on Thursday Dec. 24. This came after an appeals court in Belgium’s eastern city of Liège ruled in September 2014 that the country’s authorities restitute 349 smuggled artifacts to Iran. The legal process has lasted 33 years.
Praising the efforts made by the Iranian legal team in returning the valuble antiques, Rouhani said the move showed the resolve of the government in “safeguarding the rights of the Iranian nation.” He noted that such cultural exhibitions can help “defuse Iranophobia” in the world.
The stolen artifacts comprising of 221 clay and 128 bronze antiques had been discovered in Khorvin, Savojbolagh County, Alborz Province, 80 kilometers (49 miles) northeast of the Iranian capital and date back to the end of the second millennium and the first millennium BC and are some 3000 years old.
In 1965, a French woman who had acquired an Iranian nationality due to her marriage to an Iranian professor and had been living in Iran for some 18 years, with the help of a Belgian diplomat began to gradually transfer to Belgium the collection.
After the Iranian government was informed of the existence of this antique collection in a Museum in Ghent, Belgium, it filed a lawsuit in the Belgian courts in 1981 and made the claims that these artifacts had been illegally transferred out of the country, belonged to Iran, and as such must be returned home.
Following Iran’s demand in 1981, a Brussels court ordered the seizure of the pieces and their preservation at the Museum of Brussels University, pending a final verdict. The court of first instance ruled out Iran’s claims as the rightful owner in 1998 and again in 2012 the claims were rejected due to pass of time. Iran made an appeal to the Belgian court and finally in September 2014, the court of Appeals established Iran’s ownership of Khorvin’s collection of antique artifacts and ruled that they be returned to Iran.
Iranian officials have filed several other lawsuits in courts in Britain, France, Turkey, and Pakistan for the return of smuggled artifacts over the past years.
Nishapur or Nishabur from Middle Persian “New-Shabuhr” (meaning New City of Shapur, Fair Shapur, or Perfect built of Shapur) is a city in the Razavi Khorasan Province, in northeastern Iran, situated in a fertile plain at the foot of the Mount Binalud. It has an estimated population of 239.000 (as of 2011). Nearby are the turquoise mines that have supplied the world with turquoise for at least two millennia.
The city was founded in the 3rd century by Shapur I. Nishapur later became the capital of Tahirid dynasty and was reformed by Abdullah Tahir in 830. In 1037 it was selected as the capital of Seljuq dynasty by Tughril.
It reached the height of its prosperity under the Samanids in the 10th century, but was destroyed by Mongols in 1221, and further ruined by other invasions and earthquakes in the 13th century.
After that time, a much smaller settlement was established just north of the ancient town, and the once bustling metropolis lay underground—until a team of excavators from the Metropolitan Museum arrived in the mid-twentieth century. They worked at Nishapur between 1935 and 1940, returning for a final season in the winter of 1947–48.
The excavators had been drawn to the city because of its fame in the medieval period, when it flourished as a regional capital and was home to many religious scholars. It was also known as an economic center—Nishapur was located on the Silk Road.
The city was an important center for the manufacture of glass, metal, and stone vessels. The distinctive ceramics produced in Nishapur were traded around the region, and have been found at Herat, Merv, and Samarqand.
In addition, Nishapur was a source of turquoise and a center for growing cotton, producing cotton textiles as well as several types of fabric incorporating silk. One of the most unusual products of Nishapur, however, was its edible earth, which was believed to have curative properties.
Images of some artefacts found in Nishapur during the Metropolitan Museum’s excavations there
Earlier this week, authorities in Tehran unveiled a monument to slain Iranian Jewish soldiers who died during the country’s long and bitter war with Iraq between 1980 and 1988. Death tolls for the hideous conflict differ, but casualty counts usually reach more than 1 million for both countries.
A public ceremony marked the memorial’s opening on Monday, with speeches that took place at a dais flanked by the Iranian flag and a menorah. Banners showed the images of fallen soldiers, hailed as “martyrs” in Farsi and Hebrew inscriptions.
After Israel, Iran has the Middle East’s second-largest community of Jews — with its current population estimated between 20,000 and 30,000.
“We are not tenants in this country. We are Iranians, and we have been for 30 centuries,” Ciamak Morsadegh, the Iranian Jewish parliamentarian, told Washington Post reporter Rezaian last year.
“There is a distinction between us as Jews and Israel,” added a shopkeeper in the historic city of Isfahan. “We consider ourselves Iranian Jews, and it has nothing to do with Israel whatsoever. This is the country we love.”
Rayen Castle (in Persian Arg-e Rayen) is an adobe castle in Kerman Province, Iran. The medieval mudbrick city of Rayen is similar to the Arg-e Bam city which was destroyed in an earthquake in December 2003. Rayen displays all the architectural elements of a deserted citadel. It is extremely well preserved, despite numerous natural disasters that have destroyed similar structures nearby, and it is one of the most interesting sites in Iran.
Rayen Castle was inhabited until 150 years ago and, although believed to be at least 1,000 years old, may in fact have foundations from the pre-Islamic Sassanid era.
Source: Wikipedia | Rayen Castle
Also check this related post: The other Iran | Arg-é Bam
The grand prize for the 2014 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Cultural Heritage went to Sar Yazd Castle in Yazd, Iran.
In June 2014, a panel of judges composed of international experts in conservation and restoration evaluated 46 projects from countries in the Asia-Pacific Region.
Among the projects, Sar Yazd Citadel restoration project from Iran managed to receive the grand prize. The grand prize was awarded to Iran due to the role of private institutions in preserving this historical location which has consequently influenced the socio-economic status of the locals in regard to creating job opportunities.
Sar Yazd is situated 30km south of Yazd province. Some speculate that the castle belongs to the Sassanid era.
Conserved and restored sites with more than 50 years of age which have been finished within last 10 years and have been open to visitors for at least a year have been considered eligible for this contest.
The 2014 and 2015 contests are held with the financial support from Beijing Sino-Ocean Charity Foundation.
Call for participation in the 2015 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation contest will be announced in October 2014 via the contest’s website.
Source: Iran Review | Iranians’ Achievements (scroll down)