Thanks to successful German-Iranian cooperation in the field of building research and restoration technology, the historic structure of the central dome spanning the charsuq in the Grand Bazaar in Tehran has been secured. In addition to ensuring the actual restoration of the dome, the project also promoted scientific exchange between Iranian and German cultural preservation experts. The measure was co-funded by the Cultural Preservation Programme of the Federal Foreign Office and the Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO).
by Prof. MARTINA ABRI (Potsdam University of Applied Sciences | Prof. CHRISTIAN RAABE (RWTH Aaachen University)
The dome at the bazaar crossroads rises above an octagonal floor plan and was last re plastered in the mid twentieth century. It has a circumference of 12 metres. Four shopping aisles intersect below the dome, with each entrance to an aisle forming a pointed arch. A niche with a shop is located between each of the entry points. The bazaar is one of the largest in the region and supplies Tehran’s huge population with domestic and imported products. Apart from restoring the dome, the aim of the project was to provide training and exchange views and experiences on methodology with the Iranian partners from ICCTHO.
Following a workshop based on the damage documented by the Iranian side, German and Iranian experts joined forces to plan and carry out the analysis, restoration methodology and necessary measures. The restoration of the tambours, stucco and pointed arches of the intersecting bazaar aisles has now been completed. The handover took place in February 2018.
The Citadel in the Iranian city of Bam is of inestimable historical value. It is now being earthquake-proofed in line with the latest scientific standards.
It was a disaster on so many levels, including for archaeologists: In 2003, an earthquake that reached 6.5 on the Richter Scale almost completely destroyed the historic Citadel in the Iranian city of Bam. It is considered the largest clay building complex in the world. To underscore its significance, in 2004 UNESCO declared the 2,500-year-old Citadel with its Old Town a World Cultural Heritage site. Now, thanks to the Cultural Preservation Programme of the Federal Foreign Office one of the Citadel’s central buildings has been reconstructed: Sistani House. This is a typical Iranian residence for a merchant family dating from the 18th century. Technische Universität Dresden and the Iranian heritage protection authority ICHHTO teamed up on the project to preserve and reconstruct the building to make it earthquake resistant.
Cultural preservation worldwide
In addition to technical knowhow, in several annual campaigns between 2007 and 2014 the project partners exchanged knowledge about methodological and planning approaches. Following extensive studies and practical experiments their work was able to benefit from the latest scientific findings and appropriate technologies. Firstly, what was left of the building was reinforced with fibreglass rods. Subsequently the workmen reconstructed the rooms using specially developed clay bricks reinforced with date palm fibres and wrapped fibreglass mesh around the vaulted ceilings and transverse arches.
The project will be handed over to ICHHTO on 3 March 2018 during an official ceremony attended by the German Ambassador in Iran, Michael Klor-Berchtold, and the project manager Wolfram Jäger.
The Federal Republic of Germany has been supporting the preservation of cultural heritage all over the world since 1981 in the context of the Cultural Preservation Programme. With its global commitment to the protection and maintenance of significant cultural heritage, Germany renders an important contribution to the preservation of cultural identities, promotes knowledge transfer and intercultural dialogue, and contributes to scientific exchange.
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