April 2015

ICOMOS is 50

۵۰th anniversary of ICOMOS International

Who? Organized by COMOS Iran
What? Celebrating the 50th anniversary of ICOMOS

Lecture 1
Topic: Search at the roots of international charters (cultural and natural heritage)
By: Mr. Adel Farhangui

Lecture 2
Topic: Introduction to the evolution of trends in the development of international charters in the field of cultural heritage
By: Ms. Hayedeh Laleh

Lecture 3
Topic: Analysis of the annual statement of the ICOMOS International (since 1983-2014)
By: Mr. Nasser Nowrooz Zadeh Chegini

When? 20 April 2015, 15:00 – ۱۸:۰۰
Where? Dr. Shirazi Gathering hall at the Academy of Art, No. 2169, Vali Asr Street, South-west corner of the Saei Park, Tehran.
The event is open to the public and a light refreshments will be served.
Official contact: Arash Boostani (Secretary General): Info(at)iranicomos.org
Official website: http://www.iranicomos.org

TWO IRANIAN PROPERTIES TO BE CONSIDERED

FOR UNESCO’S WORLD HERITAGE LIST

TEHRAN, 20 July 2010 (UNIC) – UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee will consider nominations for the inscription of new natural and cultural heritage properties on its World Heritage List when it meets for its 34th session in Brasilia (Brazil), from 25 July to 3 August 2010.

Thirty-two new properties from 35 countries were submitted for inscription on the World Heritage List this year, including four trans-boundary nominations.  The two cultural properties nominated by the Islamic Republic of Iran to be considered for inscription on the World Heritage List are “Sheikh Safi al-din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble in Ardabil” and “Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex”.

The World Heritage Committee will also review the state of conservation of 31 World Heritage properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.  This list includes properties which are threatened by a variety of problems such as unco-ordinated development, climate change, wars, natural disasters, etc.  From Iran, the report of the state of conservation of the In-Danger property “Bam and its Cultural Landscape”, inscribed after the 2003 earthquake, will be examined by the World Heritage Committee.  Additionally, the Committee considers whether or not to add other World Heritage properties on this In-Danger List, whose preservation requires special attention.  The Committee asks States Parties to take appropriate conservation and preservation measures for specific World Heritage properties when necessary.  This year, the state of conservation of “Meidan Emam, Esfahan” will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in relationship to the Jahan Nama Commercial Tower and subway projects within the historical centre of Esfahan City.

The World Heritage Convention encourages international co-operation to safeguard the common heritage of humanity.  With 187 States Parties, it is one of the most universally ratified international legal instruments in force today.  When ratifying the Convention, States Parties commit to identify cultural and natural heritage properties in their territory for potential inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and to preserve these properties following international conservation standards.

To date, the World Heritage List recognizes the “outstanding universal value” of 890 properties including 689 cultural, 176 natural and 25 mixed properties in 148 States Parties to the World Heritage Convention.  Currently, Iran has ten World Cultural Heritage properties already inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.  The Iranian World Heritage properties are:  Persepolis, Chogha Zanbil, Esfahan’s Meidan Emam, Takt-e Suleiman, Pasargarde, Bam and its Cultural Landscape, Sultanieh, Bisotun, Armenian Monasteries in Iran, and Shushtar Historic Hydraulic System.

۲۱ March 2010

Nowrouz in Iran (Nowrouz-e Jamshidi, Nowrouz-e Soltani

Nowrouz embraces a variety of different features of an intangible cultural heritage as of its antiquity, a very vast geographical scope and many periods, as well as a time of its holding. It consists of a variety of cultural forms and expressions based on myths just like Jamshid, the mythological king of Iran, for which Nowrouz has also been called Nowrouz-e Jamshidi. A similar myth exists in the Indian mythology, as well as the Turkish famous “Bozkurt” myth in Turkey; for legends, the legend of “Amoo Nowrouz” in Iran, Afghanistan and the Central Asian countries in which “Naneh Nowrouz” waits for Amoo Nowrouz to come but at the very moment of the beginning of the New Year, she falls asleep. Amoo Nowrouz comes and goes while she is asleep. This legend repeats every year. It should be noted that although the myths sound ancient but they are narrated and alive in our culture at the present time; tales; epics; poetry: in addition to the classical poems that have been called “Nowrouz-i Poems”, the poets of today have also Nowrouz-i Poems that are published before and after the Nowrouz ceremony in books, magazines, internet and also recited in radios and televisions; music: In the Iranian ancient and classical music, there exist very special songs and melodies such as “Naz-e Nowrouz”, “Yaad-e Nowrouz”, “Nowrouz-e Khordak”, “Nowrouz-e Khara” and “Nowrouz-e Saba”. More to say, there is a very famous Afghan song “Molla Mammad Jaan” that is the distinctive Nowrouzi song in the city of Mazar-e Sharif that is also recognized in Iran and Tajikistan.

experiences, skills and arts as well as differing objects like work and daily life instruments that have been and are employed in different stages of this celebration such as renewing furniture, producing artifacts and toys for children, decorative objects as well as jewelry made of precious gems and/or metals especially for newly married couples. As a whole, these ceremonies own a general shared feature all over the mentioned territory, but in details they enjoy different local and regional particulars that prove the rich cultural diversity of practices of the element.

Nowrouz is celebrated on 21st of March, which is considered as New Year holiday and the beginning of Spring, the element is celebrated on 21st of March. The date was originally calculated on the basis of astronomical studies starting from antiquity. In the Medieval Period that calculation was confirmed and updated by famous scholars such as Abu Reyhān Bīrūnī, Mahmud Kashgari, and Omar Khayyam. There are various ceremonies, rituals, and cultural events held within every family and community. It enjoys traditional games, special cuisines, respect for nature, performances in music and dances, oral expressions and literature, handicrafts and painting masterpieces (in particular miniature arts). Values of peace and solidarity, reconciliation and neighbourhood, cultural diversity and tolerance, healthy life-style and renewal of living environment are promoted and transmitted from generation to generation during this cultural event. Women play a major role in the cultural event, by managing the ceremonies and disseminating the traditional knowledge to the youth. It is a part of and strengthens the cultural identity of the states parties involved.

The first hours of the element begin with visits of families, elderly people, neighbors, bereaved families, and the disabled. During visits people exchange gifts, particularly to the children and newly-married brides.

There are two important meals: the dinner at the Nowrouz and the launch of the Nowrouz Day. The meals consist of cooked rice and the inhabitants of each region add other ingredients specially vegetables (Sabzi polo) as well as chicken, wheat noodles (Reshteh) and fish as they can facilitate.

Haft Sin

One of the most prominent features of the element is the Table, which consists of meals and the related symbolic objects. The objects symbolize purity, brightness, livelihood and wealth. The Table, which is also called “Sofreh-ye Haft Sin” in Iran, contains “water” as a symbol of purity, “candle” or “lantern” as the symbol of brightness, “Sabzeh” or dishes of “green sprouts” as a symbol of greenery, “Samanū” in Iran, that is a sacred meal consisting of juice of the wheat sprouts, different traditional and local “confections” that symbolize happiness, “mirror” symbolizing purity and brightness, “egg” symbolizing fertility and abundance and “fruits” especially “pomegranates”. As said before, in Iran it is called “Sofreh-ye Haft Sin” comprising of seven components whose initial letter is /S/.

The element promotes values of peace and solidarity, reconciliation and neighborhood. For example the elders of the families try to reconcile those members of the family who have broken off their relations. In Tajikistan, the people who have broken off their relations, come together and reconcile without the intervention of the elders. Cultural diversity and tolerance, healthy life-style and renewal of living environment are promoted and transmitted from generation to generation during this cultural event. The children participate in the event actively in such rituals as coloring and decorating the cooked eggs of the Sofreh, which are then given to children as gifts, who finally they play games with the said eggs.

Women play a major role in the cultural event, by managing the ceremonies and disseminating the traditional knowledge to the youth.

They have the main role in the ceremonies and in some they are the only persons who administer the ceremony: e.g. cooking Samanū as a sacred meal. They also prepare Sabzeh (green sprouts); they also prepare the Sofreh, meals and confections, as somehow sacred elements.

Resource: CONVENTION FOR THE SAFEGUARDING OF THE INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE INTERGOVERNMENTAL COMMITTEE FOR THE SAFEGUARDING OF THE INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE, Fourth session, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 28 September to 2 October 2009, “Nomination for inscription on the Representative List in 2009 (Reference No. 00282)”

۶ March 2010

Tehran Times Culture Desk

۶  March 2010

TEHRAN — The UNESCO will announce its decision on the fate of Naqsh-e Jahan Square in few weeks, program specialist of UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office Junko Taniguchi said on Wednesday.

Taniguchi, who led a UNESCO delegation comprised of World Heritage Center program specialist Feng Jing, and Managing Director of the Geo-Research Institute in Osaka Yoshinori Iwasaki, in a visit to the Jahan-Nama Tower last week, held a press conference in Isfahan, detailing the outcome of their mission.
The delegation has been commissioned to study the general status of safeguards for the cultural heritage of Isfahan, the activities carried out in the modifying the Jahan-Nama Tower, and the level of Iranian government’s cooperation in this issue, Taniguchi said.

She said that they have not completed their mission yet and refused to make any comment about the modification of the Jahan-Nama Tower.
The delegation will return to Tehran on March 7 to scrutinize the information gathered during their mission, and then UNESCO will decide on the fate of Naqsh-e Jahan Square within a month, he added.
The Jahan-Nama Tower spoils the horizontal panorama of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square, a complex of Safavid-era monuments registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979.
UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee’s called for modification of the Jahan-Nama Tower during its 28th session on July 1, 2004.
The organization later threatened to place the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger if Iran failed to fulfill its obligation to modify the tower. However, no modification has been completed.
Delegation member Iwasaki has also been assigned to study the threats posed by the construction of Isfahan’s new metro to the city’s the historical sites, which are located within the perimeter of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square.
Metro lines under construction are threatening monuments located on Chahar-Bagh Street and the Naqsh-e Jahan Square.

Experts believe that vibration caused by future passing trains would result in the destruction of the monuments.

A tunnel boring project for the Isfahan Metro deviated from its intended route in November 2009 and bumped into a ramp and a lower part of the historical bridge of Si-o-Se Pol.
According to the information the delegation received, it seems that the foundations of the 400-year-old bridge have not been damaged, Taniguchi said.
However, he added that the outcome would be announced after Iwasaki completes his investigation concerning the issue.

Februrary 2010

IRAN ICOMOS

Updated version

Declaration of IRAN ICOMOS

Tangible Evidences to Isfahan’s Historical and Cultural Past are being rapidly wiped out

Since 2006 when Isfahan was selected on a yearly base as the Cultural Capital of the World of Islam up to the present, the evidences to the historical and cultural past of that most celebrated city have been in process of being rapidly wiped out, while, those in Istanbul, chosen also for a year as the Cultural Capital of Europe, are cared for.

From the ancient times up to now, especially during the brilliant Islamic classical Period, Isfahan has served as an architectural and urban model in the World of Islam. Isfahan under the Buids, Seljoukids and the Safavids has been celebrated in the world as were Bagdad under the Abbasids or Cairo under the Fatimids. The transformations and construction works presently undertaken in Isfahan undoubtedly harm its urban fabric and will cast a slur on the history of urban policy making and town planning of that noble city. The execution of these operations is presently causing anxiety in Iran among those concerned with cultural issues as these ongoing transformations, presented under the cover of development and improvement, are carried out in the old parts of the city. They have put seriously in danger the authenticity and the integrity of the natural and historical identity of Isfahan. While, thanks to the preservation of its historical and cultural values, Istanbul is selected as the Cultural Capital of Europe; in Isfahan, precious historic sites and monuments are being destroyed: whether those still standing or those buried under its streets and squares. The cultural and historical rights of the past and future generations are thus being trampled.

Recently in the Atiq Square, which is one of the most important historical sites of Iran, the construction of subways have been hastily undertaken without any consideration for scientific and cultural methodologies and approaches. In spite of the fact that this square has been the original main centre of the city in the pre-Islamic times and especially since the beginning of the Islamic era up to now, the whole Square will end up by being dig-out as it were a place without any historical and cultural value.

Information and pictures received on the ways and means employed in the construction of the subways and the parking spaces in the Atiq Square and its neighboring area show that historical and archaeological evidences are being either destroyed, ruined or seriously harmed.  The damage is mainly caused by the depth of the excavations and immethodical constructions.

IRAN ICOMOS, seriously preoccupied with this situation, requests the authorities, media, academics, NGO’s and all of those interested in historical and cultural heritage to take whatever action they can for the protection and preservation of the integrity and authenticity of the Atiq Square and its illustrious neighbor, the Jame’ Mosque, as well as the unique cultural landscape of that twin ensemble. Intrusion in the historical fabric of Isfahan must stop and be replaced with well thought interventions aimed towards its rehabilitation and revitalization within the accepted international standards and conventions.

February 2, 2010

Iranian journalists call on UNESCO for enlightenment on Isfahani monuments
TEHRAN — A number of Iranian journalists have recently sent a letter to Tehran’s UNESCO Office, asking them to hold a press conference to resolve the ambiguities about the Naqsh-e Jahan Square and other monuments being threatened in Isfahan.

The letter, signed by over 100 journalists across Iran, was published Monday by the Persian service of CHN.

Iran has missed UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee’s February 1 deadline for modifying the Jahan-Nama Tower, which spoils the horizontal panorama of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square, a complex of monuments registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979.

The deadline was extended several times following requests by Iranian cultural officials. However, the modification has not been completed.

UNESCO threatened to place the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger if Iran fails to fulfill its obligation to modify the tower.

The clash between the modernism and tradition has continued as a tunnel boring project for the Isfahan Metro deviated from its proper route last November and bumped into a ramp and a lower part of the historical bridge of Si-o-Se Pol.

Other metro lines under construction are also threatening monuments located on Chahar-Bagh Street as well as in Naqsh-e Jahan Square. Journalists believe the reports published by the Isfahani officials on the Naqsh-e Jahan Square and other historical sites are ambivalent. They asked the office to assign a team to visit the sites and to inform people about true status of the monuments by a press conference.

The Isfahan Municipality began construction of the Jahan-Nama Tower in early 1996.

The municipality flattened a historical caravanserai and a green area to build the 56-meter tower, which covers an area of 16,000 square meters. Everything went well for the construction of the tower, though it aroused desultory opposition by Iranian cultural heritage enthusiasts and institutions.

However, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee called for the modification of Jahan-Nama during its 28th session on July 1, 2004.

UNESCO determined that the height of the tower on its eastern side should be reduced by 12 meters and the height of its western side by 24.48 meters.

Although modification began in 2005, the Isfahan Municipality has neglected to complete it so far.

Photo: The Jahan-Nama Tower is seen at the right side of the Aali-Qapu Place on the horizon from the Naqsh-e Jahan Square in a photo taken on January 24, 2010. (Mehr/Ehsan Khosravi)

November 20, 2008

The periodic Iranian ICOMOS Committee elections hold on 20th November 2008 on yearly general assembly. 200 persons participate on this election and 18 persons from 52 international members are elected as Executive Board Members for Iranian ICOMOS Committee for the next 3 years. Result of election:

۱-   Mr. Mehdi Hodjat (President)

۲-   Mr. Naser Noruz zadeh Chegini (Vice President)

۳-   Mr. Ali Akbar Saeedi (Treasurer)

۴-   Mr. Chahriyar Adle (International Representative)

۵-   Mr. Arash Boostani (Secretary General)

۶-   Mr. Mehdi Mojabi (Executive board member)

۷-   Mrs. Hayede Laleh (Executive board member)

۸-   Mr. Mohammad Reza Haeri (Executive board member)

۹-   Mr. Mohammad Rahim Sarraf (Executive board member)

۱۰-Mr. Hosein Rayati Moqadam (Executive board member)

۱۱-Mrs. Hamideh Choobak (Executive board member)

۱۲-Mr. Ahmad Montazer (Executive board member)

Mr. Chahriyar Adle is the only representative of Iranian ICOMOS Committee to International ICOMOS.

April 17, 2008

ICOMOS to display old Tehran sacred places photos
Tehran Times Art Desk

TEHRAN —

International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) will hold a photo exhibition on old Tehran’s sacred places at Sahebqaranieh Palace from April 17 to May 8.

Commemorating the International Day for Monuments and Sites on April 18, the exhibition will showcase about 40 black and white photos of late Qajar and early Pahlavi periods which are borrowed from photographer and collector Dariush Tahami.
The photos show the sacred places of Tehran such as Hazrat Abdul Azim Shrine, Sar-e Qabr-e Aqa and Imamzadeh Saleh Shrine.

This year, ICOMOS suggested the theme of “religious heritage and sacred places” for being highlighted on International Day for Monuments and Sites

۲۰ January 2004

ICOMOS to Provide Assistance for Reconstruction of Bam Citadel

ICOMOS Secretary General Dino Bumbaru recently visited Bam to see for himself the conditions of the renowned Bam Citadel, destroyed in a strong earthquake. Before heading to Bam, we had a chance to talk to him regarding the ideas he had in this regard. He notes although ICOMOS is not bound to be involved in reconstructing damaged sites according to its founding charter, he hopes ICOMOS can contribute to the process.

ICOMOS Secretary General Dino Bumbaru recently visited bam to see for himself the conditions of the renowned bam citadel, destroyed in a strong earthquake. Before heading to Bam, we had a chance to talk to him regarding the ideas he had in this regard. He notes although ICOMOS is not bound to be involved in reconstructing damaged sites according to its founding charter, he hopes ICOMOS can contribute to the process.

Tell me a little bit about your mission. Why are you in Iran?

ICOMOS is the International Council of Monuments and Sites. It’s an international non-governmental organization. It’s present in about 120 countries- including Iran. We have about 25 international scientific committees. One of the scientific committees was actually founded two years ago to address the issue of earthen architecture. That committee and other organizations that took part in Terra 2003 conference visited Bam just a few weeks ago. So there are a lot of our members through that committee that are very sensible to the issue of Bam.

Are members of that committee visited Bam?

Yes. That’s very significant. Now ICOMOS is an international organization, its role is to be an international forum that provides the mechanism to share experience. It’s a tool of solidarity, if you want an instrument of solidarity among colleagues, also an organization to support activities that improve the situation of cultural heritage around the world.
Now in most cases, the activities that we carry on take place in normal conditions. I mean it might be affected from the weather or the environment or the economic pressure or whatever. That’s usually not a disaster or catastrophe situation. In case of emergency situations, like the one that took place in Bam, you know, we have to change our way of thinking.
And a few years ago, ICOMOS, UNESCO, also ICOM, the organization of archives and also the International Federation of Library Association, these four organizations become partners in what is called the “blue shield”. The “blue shield” is a young organization, so you can’t expect more than what a young organization can provide. But it’s a partnership which inspires itself from the Red Cross and the Red Crescent organization, that provide health to individuals; we say maybe we can provide health to cultural heritage in case of emergency and also before, in terms of risk preparedness.
Now as I mentioned, addressing conservation in emergency or natural disaster and so on requires a different way to approach things. You can’t just think “ok, we will set up a committee and discuss the issue and define the projects”. Here time is compressed and there’s also a very strong emotion associated with the situation, because they are human tragedies are of great scale, outstanding scale that nobody wants to see.
But there’s also an important role that heritage plays in such case. You’ve seen the reaffirmation, the concern of Iranian people in Iran and around the world. But it’s also a concern that’s shared by many cultures about the fate of a historic city, a heritage, a place like Bam.
So, there are the general things. Just to say, over the last few years the concern for heritage in emergency has grown and it’s becoming better appreciated. It doesn’t mean that there’s fewer heritages being demolished or destroyed in emergency, because we haven’t always done the preventing action which is necessary. But slowly it’s improving.
Now in the case of Bam, ICOMOS members, because of the meeting that took place in the Terra 2003 conference, were very personally sensitive to two things. They were sensitive to the value of the place, of Bam, of Arg-e Bam, as a heritage asset of great significance. And they were also very strongly concerned about the Iranian colleagues that they’ve met. And it’s in that context that we have contacted Dr. Vatandoust and also ICOMOS Iran, and some other people that we knew, to express our condolences, our best wishes for the injured and their recovery, but also to express the will to help.
We understand that Iran has got a very well organized service. Our offer is a way of helping, it’s not imposing. If it’s useful, we’ll be ready to play our role. If it’s too much of a problem, there’s enough problem with the disaster; we don’t want to add to tourism disaster, to the situation. We agreed with Dr. Vatandoust this was useful to have this very brief mission. For us, it was important to have it in that time frame, because next week in Paris, the executive committee of ICOMOS will meet, that is from the 16 to the 20th of January, and that way we have information and we can react more efficiently to how we can act in terms of being an international network. As I told you it’s a network of sharing knowledge and there might be ways we can help share experience.
At the meeting I had with ICOMOS Iran members just this morning, it was mentioned that what the experiences of other countries with this type of architecture under earthquake are. You know earthen architecture is among the most common building systems in the world, but do we know how to reinforce it? To make it better, more efficient in case of earthquake without destroying it’s character? Because sometimes, you have to see, it’s nice to reinforce a building, but if you lose other significance by doing so, it’s not very good.
So, these were things that we will consider; how we can mobilize the ICOMOS network in support of the Iranian institution and Iranian colleagues, in their effort to better define what should be done with Bam, Arg-e bam, and how we can maybe contribute further.
Also UNESCO is very much interested in a campaign of some sort, so we’ve spoken to UNESCO, to Mr. Mounir Bouchenaki, so that this is not happening in isolation. It’s happening with ICOMOS as a partner, but we ought to be an intelligent partner and in order to do so, it’s very useful to come here; even if it’s a bit tight, we are grateful for the offer to travel, organized so quickly.

So, the mission is to go to Bam, to see what to do?
Yes, it’s a first assessment, you know. A situation like this one takes time to understand. It takes people going inside and spending the time necessary to see if that wall is solid or has to be stabilized with some scaffolding or if that arch is solid or too dangerous. This is a piece-by-piece evaluation and my time will be really short. So it’s a little understanding of the location, to be able to document visually some of it, to bring a report to ICOMOS next week and also to understand with the Iranian colleagues how we can imagine the sequence of events in which we can contribute. And in that sense, this mission is seen as mission zero, it’s a mission of reconnaissance and seeing that the bridge’s on that can be created and most likely would be to participate in mission one. I think the idea that has been suggested of a technical group that can meet and provide expert opinion on the situation, as a college of Iranian professionals and people that can come from outside is a very good one, and it’s a constructive exercise, incorporative exercise that we’d like to really participate as well as we can and so this would be mission one. That’s the purpose of this point.
I come from Canada, Montreal, and it’s amazing the level of sympathy and interest that this situation has raised in the professional as well as the general public in our society; and so it’s clear that there can be help.
Tell me what kind of help can ICOMOS provide?
ICOMOS is a network of people, so these are specialists and are always ready to help mobilize specialists to help Iranians. But it’s not a matter of, as I’ve said, replacing or imposing. So the questions have to be clear to start with from the Iranian institutions. So ICOMOS can provide people. And I know that some national committees have tried to imagine how we could set up special bank accounts to collect funds to help with the financing of either the missions or the works. In some cases, some of our scientific committees have also proposed to help with developing special tools, for instance, documentation, and databases ones. But this again has to be seen if everything exists in Iran in that field. Let’s put our energy into something else that we can really make a difference in.
In the past ICOMOS has not solely been an actor of that nature. It’s kind of a thing that has been evolving over the last few years, when we’ve started to realize that it’s fine to develop a strong program of conservation, but it might be good also that we contribute to the conservation of historic monuments in the places. In that way, can we do it? Because we can always organize a call up to discuss things, you know, talk is cheap. But sometime the buildings, the archeological sites, the landscapes, historic villages or towns, they need more than just talking.
Do you have any strategy by now for reviving the Bam Citadel, since there has been an adobe architecture?
Well, I’d like to know which section has been the most damaged. It’s something that through the number of countries and major earthquakes we’ve seen for historic buildings, some of the areas that were most damaged are the ones that were the most historic. So we have to draw the lesson, and one of the meetings that was organized this morning was the meeting with the Institute of Seismic and Earthquake Engineering here in Tehran, a world-renowned institution. Because it’s one of the concerns inside ICOMOS, there’s a committee on urban architecture, but there’s also another one on structure and we have to approach this from a static point of view, a mathematical point of view in engineering, if you want. But also we have to balance this with the shortage; it’s not just a matter of reconstructing.
How about this work?

We have not yet reached a fixed position, you know, there are different feelings that have been expressed by some of the ICOMOS officers. I think there is a sense that if you reconstruct, it has to be very carefully done, because it might confuse the old section with the new section and there has to be strategy to approach that.You don’t want to destroy the old place by making one blue and one red. How do you add substance to a building that has been shaken by an earthquake of that magnitude and that strength? How do you attach the section? Do you reinforce the new part so that it doesn’t collapse in the future outbreak? Or do you just continue with the same tradition and material? And are we using the same traditional material or are we using the same technique, but the material might be different?
These issues should be addressed. In a way, it means that we have to set up a scientific mechanism.

So what’s the philosophy here?
In general, ICOMOS charters are not strongly proposing reconstruction. But here it’s not the same thing, because it’s a very hot situation. It’s wrong because it is a human emotion, and the philosophy is not ready to handle this. I know that some people are saying, “Oh, you have to reconstruct it, that you just do it”, maybe it’s not the best idea, especially if you want some international recognition.
We talked to one of our colleagues from Italy, who is an Islam philosopher; but unfortunately he could not come; he could have helped us, because it is not just technical decisions, it’s a place of spirits and meaning.
You believe there are still ways to save the citadel?
I’m sure there is. I haven’t seen it, yet, to be honest, it’s a belief, but the place has not yet been erased from the face of the world. You know nature very seldom does it; it’s very often men that erase things.