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    Salasel Fortress of Shushtar

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    Shoshtar - Salasel Fortress of Shushtar

    Overview:

    • How to get there: Take a bus ticket to Shushtar then take a taxi to Salasel Fortress .
    • Plan Your Visit: One hour

    One of the most important elements constituting the initial core of each ancient city is its military castle or fortress. The fortress of each city is usually where the king or rulers reside. Shushtar was of utmost importance as the capital of Khuzestan Povince due to its historical values.

    The Salasel Castle is one of the other historical monuments of Shushtar which is in fact a large fortification belonging to Sassanid era. In the past, this castle consisted of large courtyards, military installations, bathrooms, bridges, and a garrison and a trench was dug in its surroundings, which has been partly ruined throughout the course of history.

    Salasel Fortress is located on a hill overlooking Shatit River in the city of Shushtar. In pre-Islamic times water from the river passed beneath the Fortress and was redirected into different parts of the city. The Fortress was in use until the Qajar period (1785-1925) as a center for managing the water of the river. The exact date of the construction of the Fortress is unknown but it was possibly built during the Parthian or the Sassanid era (224-651CE). Existence of Parthian clays in the area is strong proof to this claim. Some experts date the foundation of the Fortress to the Achaemenid era (c. 550–330 BC).

    One of the other features of the group of waterfalls and watermills of the city of Shushtar is their adjacency to the historical district of the city.In addition to the industrial uses of this water complex, it provided the water consumed by residents, in case of reduction of rainfalls.

    One of the unique aspects of this water complex is that the water used by watermills later forms man-made waterfalls which pour into a pond, creating a spectacular scene that captures the attention of every viewer. Also, the dug tunnels behind the dam have created a scenic landscape. These tunnels transfer a certain volume of water to revolve the wheels of the watermills.

    Archeological boring pits in the southern shell of Salasel Fortress in the city of Shushtar in Khuzestan Province resulted in the discovery of an Islamic graveyard belonging to the middle Islamic period (1050-1450 AH). The boring pits were dug at distances ranging from 120 to 130 meters from the Fortress. The design of a flying bird, four swords and daggers and a shield was carved on one of the graves of this cemetery. The designs on the graves are believed to be the symbols of death and ascending to God.

    Salasel Fortress has largely been devastated due to several conflicts that occurred in the region as well as natural disasters such as flood and earthquake. Yet it remains a precious source of information for archeologists who have thus far found numerous historic evidences in this ancient fortress.

    The fact of the matter is that this engineering complex is rather unique worldwide.Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization has recently been granted the ownership of this Sassanid Fort, a very welcome move as for years Salasel Fortress has been utilized as a storage area for keeping goods by different organizations.
    For many years this Sassanid Fortress did not have any legal custodian and therefore was not well preserved. The activities of these organizations, especially the restoration work done without consulting experts in renovation of ancient monuments, have greatly altered the historic architectural style of this Fortress.

    This castle as well as other 15 monuments of Shushtar was registered in UNESCO World Heritage as the tenth Iranian monument on June, 26, 2009 by fulfilling criteria 1, 2, and 5 under the name of Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System and under the registration number of 1315.


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    Patrimonito

    This workshop is designed according to the UNESCO World Heritage Education Programme in order to give young people a chance to voice their concerns and to become involved in the protection of our common cultural and natural heritage. It seeks to encourage and enable tomorrow’s decision-makers to participate in heritage conservation and to respond to the continuing threats facing our World Heritage. The idea of involving young people in World Heritage preservation and promotion came as a response to Article 27 of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention). Furthermore, Patrimonito means 'small heritage' in Spanish and the character represents a young heritage guardian. Patrimonito has been widely adopted as the international mascot of the World Heritage Education Programme.
    Date: 29th December
    Number of trainees: 7
    Duration: 3 hours

    The workshop of "Patrimonito" was held on 29th of December. Participants arrived around 10:30 and they were welcomed by hot chocolate and Persian cup cakes. After a little introduction by trainers and trainees, the process started by making two groups and letting them choose a name for their group, each group was accompanied by a mentor then each group was given some images of world heritage sites in Iran and some descriptions, each group was asked to match images and descriptions, the mentor was guiding them throughout the activity. All trainees were participating actively and trying to remember their experiences about their travels to these places. When they were done with the activity, the mentors started giving the answers and a brief explanation about each site; mentors were using trainees’ ideas and experiences to complete their tasks.

    Shortly after that, the second part started which was a presentation done by two of mentors. The aim of this presentation was to define the value of these world heritage sites and duties of each person as a "Patrimonito", and what happens if there is no "Patrimonito" and nobody cares about our tangible or intangible heritage. In this part trainees started questioning and understanding the whole concept of being a "Patrimonito", they also added their own suggestions on how to protect our heritage and by the end of this part, they were completely aware about their role as a "Patrimonito".
    Now it was a best time to have a short break, during the break trainees were introduced to some of intangible heritages as they were served by traditional food and snacks and even they way of serving was according to traditions and everyone had this opportunity to discuss about intangible heritage while enjoying some traditional food and snacks.
    When the break was done, everyone was asked to choose a heritage either tangible or intangible and they had to introduce their chosen heritage to a tourist by making a postcard using what they have learnt. They were given all of necessary tools such as color papers, color pencils, glue, scissors, images of heritage and a mentor was with them in order to help them completing the task.

    When they were done, they handed out their postcards and with the mentors they sat together and spent a few minutes asking and answering about what they have learnt. Then they were told to say their vows for protecting their heritage and caring about it, the mentor said the vow and the trainees repeated after her and they officially became a "Patrimonito".

    The last but the best part was when they were given the certificates, and they were told that since they are aware of the value of the heritage and they know how to protect it, they are chosen as "Patrimonito" and they should continue their mission by introducing the value of heritage to others. They were granted certificates and labels and the workshop of "Patrimonito" was finished by taking some memorial photos.