84% increase in tourist visits to Kermanshah sites during Noruz

TEHRAN – Visits by Noruz travelers to historical sites in the western province of Kermanshah increased by 84 percent during the Iranian New Year holiday (started on March 21) compared to the same period three years earlier, announced the deputy chief of tourism of the province.

Nearly 173,000 travelers visited historic sites in Kermanshah, including Taq-e Bostan, the UNESCO-listed Bisotun, the ancient temple of Anahita, and Moaven al-Molk and Biglarbeigi Tekyehs during this period, CHTN said Friday citing Ali Saber.

In November, provincial tourism chief Jabbar Gohari announced that the tourism industry in Kermanshah had suffered some 670 billion rials (about $2.5 million) hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Some 1,130 tourism workers across the province have lost their jobs, he added.

A significant part of the tourism industry has been damaged by the coronavirus restrictions, which have reduced activity in various sectors to five percent of what it was before the pandemic, the official explained.

Set in the base of a towering cliff, Taq-e Bostan features extraordinary Sasanian bas-reliefs of victorious ancient kings that divide opinions. Late afternoon is the best time to visit, as the cliff turns brilliant orange in the setting sun, which then dies poetically across the duck pond.

Bisotun is a patchwork of huge but impressive life-size sculptures depicting King Darius I and several other figures. UNESCO maintains that Bisotun is an exceptional testimony to the important interchange of human values ​​in the development of monumental art and writing, reflecting ancient traditions in monumental bas-reliefs. The inscription, measuring approximately 15 meters high and 25 meters wide, was created by order of King Darius I in 521 BC. It bears three different cuneiform script languages: Old Persian, Elamite and Babylonian.

Located in Kangavar, the temple of Anahita dates from around 200 BC. Several column bases and the ruins of a wall remain from the magnificent Greek-style temple. The temple was used in the Parthian period (248 BC-224) as well as in the Sasanian period (224-651).

The monument was damaged as it was used for various purposes by the Seljuk, Ilkhanid, Safavid and Qajar dynasties, which ruled Iran in past centuries. Anahita Temple was badly damaged by an earthquake in 1957. Subsequently, people invaded the perimeter of the site, using stones from the temple to rebuild their homes there.

Moaven al-Molk Tekyeh has always been a popular destination for art lovers and history buffs due to its distinctive architecture and unique tile work. The monument from the Qajar era (1789-1925) was included in the national heritage list in 1975. During Muharram, apart from the mosques, each district sets up its establishment for the ceremonial processions of the month called Tekyeh (or Tekkiyeh), which are gathering places for mourners known as “heyat” (literally meaning group or delegation) who honor the life of Imam Hussein (AS).

Tekkiyeh (from the word eteka, meaning safeguard or reliable) was historically a place of stay for pilgrims and visiting dervishes who relied on the kindness of benefactors for their daily sustenance. Today, Tekkiyehs, however, are specific places for mourners to meet and participate in religious gatherings, after which they go out into the streets in groups known as dasteh (literally meaning cluster) to parade in dramatic mourning.

ABU/AFM

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