Iraq set to Restore World’s Largest Arch
Iraqi authorities have approved the restoration of the ancient Arch of Ctesiphon, which is the world’s largest brick-built arch and the last structure remaining intact from the ancient Persian capital of Ctesiphon. It formed part of a palace complex started three centuries earlier and, stands at 37 metres tall and 48 metres long.
Archaeologists have welcomed the decision particularly as the great arch has been deteriorating over the years and is in danger of collapse – last year a large section of the arch fell off during heavy rain. "Taq-i-Kisra was neglected for a long time, and we decided to rehabilitate it when the piece fell down at the end of last year because of the rains," said Madain's director of antiquities, Abdulhadi Hassan.
The Arch of Ctesiphon, which dates back to 540 AD, is located in a town alongside the River Tigris in the town of Madain, south of Baghdad. The arch, along with the nearby tomb of Salman Pak, one of Prophet Mohammed’s companions, were Iraq’s primary tourist attractions, however, decades of war has stopped tourism in the troubled nation. Under the rule of Saddam Hussein, Madain was suspected of housing a biological weapons facility and became an Al-Qaeda stronghold following the 2003 invasion.
Iraq authorities hope that the restoration work, which will be carried out by a Czech company over a 10-month period, will help Madain recover some of its former glory and will increase the town’s appeal to tourists once again.