September 28, 2023

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Shushtar hydraulic system, a masterpiece of creative genius, seeks more visitors

TEHRAN—Authorities of the Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System have announced plans to add more charm to the UNESCO-designated site, which is known as a masterpiece of creative genius in southwest Iran.

On Monday, Amin Mahdavikia, who presides over the World Heritage site, announced plans to construct a special tourist route for the site in a bid to draw more visitors.

“With the completion of this project, we will witness a huge change…,” Mahdavikia said.

The tourist route will be equipped with diverse tourist facilities aimed at promoting visits to the Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System and other attractions nearby, the official explained.  

The hydraulic ensemble comprises bridges, weirs, tunnels, canals, and a series of ancient watermills powered by human-made waterfalls. It is named after an ancient city of the same name with its history dating back to the time of Darius, the Great, the Achaemenid king.

It boasts a rich diversity of civil engineering structures and constructions, as in the diversity of its uses (urban water supply, mills, irrigation, river transport, and defensive system).

In fact, the Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System testifies to the heritage and the synthesis of earlier Elamite and Mesopotamian know-how; it was probably influenced by the Petra dam and tunnel and by Roman civil engineering.

“The hydraulic system has been considered a Wonder of the World not only by the Persians but also by the Arab-Muslims at the peak of their civilization,” according to the UN cultural body.

Furthermore, one of its main canals is a veritable artificial watercourse that made possible the construction of a new town and the irrigation of a vast plain, at the time semi-desert.

UNESCO says that the Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System demonstrates outstanding universal value as in its present form, it dates from the 3rd century CE, probably on older bases from the 5th century BC. It is complete, with numerous functions and large-scale, making it exceptional.


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