(Persia Digest) – Si-o-se pol, or the Allahverdi Bridge, is one of Isfahan’s age-old landmarks built over the Zayandeh Roud River. With the river drying, this and other historic bridges in Isfahan are facing serious challenges.

Many geological and national heritage experts believe that the foundations, building materials, and piles of Si-o-se pol have been endangered by the long-drawn drought of the river and lack of humidity.

Speaking about this masterpiece of Iranian architecture, Dr Fereydoun Allahyari, CEO of the National Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization of Isfahan Province, told Persia Digest (PD): “Water flowing in the river bed is important for the structure of historic bridges, including the Si-o-se pol. The water current highlights the magnificence of these structures.”

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He continued: “The drying up of the Zayandeh Roud impacts old bridges in a number of ways. One of these is the lower level of underground waters which leads to the subsidence of bridges, historic structures, and other city installations.”

He added: “There is a difference of opinion between researches about the water flow under these structures; some believe that these structures usually lose their reactivity to moisture after a long period of time; others believe that a lack of humidity reduces the life of the structure in the long run.”

Allahyari reiterated: “Concerns about historic bridges have always existed. We believe that no such edifice should be exposed to the slightest of risks.”

He stated: “The water flowed in the river periodically in the past and humidity was retained in its bed. Bridge piles stood in the humidity, thus alleviating concerns to a certain extent. But, it has not been possible to have water in the Zayandeh Roud over the past two years and this has been very worrying.”

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He went on to say: “Urgent steps must be taken if the drought continues. Water must flow in the river periodically along the piles of ancient bridges.”

He added: “If these conditions persist until the end of the rain season this year, subsidence becomes more serious.”

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