Iran destroys historic Christian monuments
“A large number of historical structures have been demolished by the order of Islamic Republic authorities or gradually decayed due to the lack of attention, insufficient budget and lack of protection,” Mohabat News reports.
4/19/2012 Iran (Mohabat News) – A large number of historical structures have been demolished by the order of Islamic Republic authorities or gradually decayed due to the lack of attention, insufficient budget and lack of protection. Some experts and others concerned about cultural heritage believe that recently, pre-Islamic historical monuments have come under greater risk of destruction than ever before.
Sometime ago, the pro-regime Sharq daily wrote that from 2003, when the law establishing the Cultural Heritage organization was passed by the Iranian Parliament in 2011, at least 40 monuments or historical areas with national registration or national values were demolished.
Destruction of historical churches and Christian cemeteries were only a small segment of Islamic Republic’s irresponsibility towards ancient places and Iranian historical identity.
Historical church of Haftvan in danger of destruction
At the same time, according to news sources, “the church of Haftvan, one of the oldest monuments in Haftvan village in Salmas is on the threshold of complete destruction”.
Haftvan is a village located at the center of Salmas county (854 KMs North-west of Tehran, the capital), three kilometers south of Salmas. It holds a great number of historical monuments, one of which is the well-known Church of Haftvan. The church is well-known across both this county and even the country. The church belongs to the last years of the Safavi dynasty’s rule over Iran and on March 10, 2002, it was officially registered as a national monument. However, despite registration, the church is in tragic condition and its walls are at risk of falling.
Parts of the church’s walls have decayed as a result of the growth of various plants to the extent that the plants have created some cracks in its walls. Only a few bases remain from a hall in the church compound and it is predicted that if it continues like this, the church will collapse in a short time. Also the church has been attacked tens of times by trespassers and antique dealers and the yard in front of the church has been dug up several times in the search for jewelries and antiques. This has caused the soil there to erode and weakened the walls of the church.
The church was restored after the earthquake in 1930 and has existed since the eighth or eleventh century. The church stands on four stone columns and was constructed from milled igneous rocks. Some gravestones are also found in the church yard with Armenian inscriptions and religious patterns on them. There are other churches in Salmas county as well, including Sarnigh, Soor, Pakachik, Doroshk, Golzan, Akhteh-Khan, Molhem, Ghazlajeh and Marghoryaghos.