TEHRAN – A powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck western Iran late on Sunday, causing relatively minor damage to several historic and heritage sites in Kermanshah and Ilam provinces.
“It slightly damaged five historical sites including a Safavid-era caravanserai and a Sassanid-era fortress in the counties of Qasr-e Shirin, Sarpol-e Zahab and Dalahu in Kermanshah province while assessing the damage is still ongoing,” CHTN quoted Jalil Baalai, the provincial tourism chief, as saying on Monday.
The Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicraft Department dispatched several cultural heritage task forces to determine the extent of [possible] damage to each monument, the official said, adding “The five sites can be restored.”
UNESCO-registered sites of Bisotun and Taq-e Bostan went unhurt, ISNA quoted Baalai as saying.
Bisotun features a life-size bas-relief carving that depicts Achaemenid king Darius I and several other figures while Taq-e Bostan meaning “Arch of the Garden” is home to series of large rock reliefs from Sassanid era.
The earthquake caused some cracks in walls of an archaeological museum in Darreh Shahr, Ilam Province, as well, said Abolmalek Shanbezadeh who presides over the province’s cultural heritage department.
“Fortunately no damages were inflicted upon display windows and historical objects within the museum.”
Initial prospects suggest that over seven historical sites adjacent to neighboring Kermanshah may have suffered considerable damage, Shanbezadeh explained.
The natural disaster claimed the lives of at least 400 people and injured more than 6500. It was felt in several other provinces.
PHOTO: A view of Bisotun bas-relief carving, a World Heritage site in Kermanshah province, western Iran.