From CHN:

Based on existing evidence such as the cracks which exist on the body of Xerxes’ and the other tombs in Naqsh-e Rostam, and the close distance of Isfahan-Shiraz railway to this historic site, experts give a strong possibility that the rumbling of the trains would break the tomb of Xerxes in two halves.

Warning about this unpleasant fact with presenting a number of pictures as evidence, in the one-day seminar with the subject of Endangered Naqsh-e Rostam which was held yesterday by attendance of cultural heritage experts and archeologists, Mohammad Taghi Atayi, archeologist and expert of Pars-e Pasargadae Research Center said: “Most probably, the constructors of this tomb were aware about existence of these cracks on the body of the mountain during ancient times, which is why they devised a method to prevent the penetration of water in the tomb through directing the rain water into a pool through a canal above Xerxes tomb. However, today this pool has been filled up, therefore the rain water enter into the cracks and widen them.”

This fact brings into light the negative potential of the rail contruction on these cracks. The jolts caused by the train will worsen the situation of the tomb which might turn into a cultural heritage disaster.

While all cultural heritage enthusiasts presented in the seminar, voiced their concern over hearing these statements, one of the attendees in the seminar expressed his opposition in favor of Iran’s Ministry of Road and Transportation and called Atayi’s comments groundless. This opponent man, who didn’t introduce himself, claimed that the rail construction will pose no harm to Naqsh-e Rostam historic site and said that nothing has been approved yet. However, cultural heritage enthusiasts present in the in the seminar tried to calm down the summit to prevent any kind of tension.

It is also said that a number of authorities of Iran’s Railway Organization attended the seminar anonymously and showed no reaction to the statements of this man.

Recently the news about construction of Isfahan-Shiraz railway only in vicinity of Naqsh-e Rostam historic site have became a matter of controversy and has raised a lot of concern among cultural heritage experts who are worry about the negative consequences of this project on Naqsh-e Rostam. In addition to intruding the cultural landscape of this historic site, cultural heritage experts strongly believe that construction of the railway only in 550 meters of Naqsh-e Rostam would pose irrecoverable damages to this historic site. It would also reduce the chance of Naqsh-e Rostam’s world registration to zero. Parse Pasargadae Research Center is determined to prepare the ground for registration of Naqsh-e Rostam in list of UNESCO’s World Heritage site as annex of Pesepolis world heritage site.
The Iranian Ministry of Road and Transportation has officially been ordered to change path of the railway connecting Isfahan to Fars in an attempt to save this historic site. One of the solutions which have been proposed by experts of Pars-e Pasargadae experts for saving the cultural landscape of this Achaemenid site against railway construction and its aftermath harmful effects, is e of the Achaemenid site is to construct a 6-kilometer-long tunnel from Sivand to Shoul village and direct the train through the tunnel.

Naqsh-e Rostam is an archeological site located about 3 kilometers northwest of Persepolis in Iran’s Fars province. It contains seven tombs which belong to Acehemenid kings. In addition to tombs, there are also seven gigantic rock carvings below the tombs, belonging to Sassanian kings.

This one-day seminar was held by effort of Iran’s Association of Cultural Heritage Watch, in conjunction with Islamic assembly of Tehran University and scientific associations of archeology union. A number of well-known Iranian archeologists such as Kamyar Abdi, Mehrdad Malekzadeh, Mohammad Taghi Atayi, and Mohammad Taghi Rahnemayi gave lectures about introducing the Elamite, Achaemenid, Sassanian, and Islamic evidence of Naqsh-e Rostam historic site and focused on the importance for preserving this invaluable cultural heritage site in view of tourism attraction.