Day 73 (1): The greatest tragedy to befall Iran in recent years

Bam Travel Blog

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Entrance to the citadel
Thanks to the people I met here and/or travelled with: Michael (Australia)

Boxing Day, 2003, 5:30 AM. An earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale hits the town of Bam, 200 km south-east of Kerman. The mud-brick town, south-east Iran's biggest tourist attraction is flattened in an instant, leaving 31,000 people dead. The large number of dead is attributed to the nature of the mud-brick buildings, many people suffocated from the dirt and dust whipped up as their 2000 year old homes collapsed. Seven years later, Bam still hasn't recovered.

The biggest tourist attraction of Bam is the Arg-e Bam, which is still considered the largest adobe structure in the world, despite being all but ruined by the earthquake. As tourists stopped coming to the citadel, money ran out and the rebuilding stagnated.
Bam citadel
There's a new mosque (obviously) and about two-thirds of the people now live in new, steel-framed earthquake proof buildings, but everywhere around town you can now see half-finished steel-frames of buildings that were never completed (or half-demolished mud brick houses which never have been cleared). The concrete bazaar building, scheduled to re-open in 2007, still hasn't been completed.

It is as if after the earthquake, the world forgot about Bam. Or at least, the they forgot about the city of Bam. The Bam citadel has not been forgotten. In the year after the earthquake it was inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List and a steady trickle of money from UNESCO means that unlike the city, the citadel is slowly being restored. It was heart wrenching to see that while the citadel is being rebuilt by a whole army of workmen, the city itself contains many unfinished buildings. There are even several ruined remains of adobe houses which have never been cleared. 
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Entrance to the citadel
Entrance to the citadel
Bam citadel
Bam citadel
Photo showing the citadel before a…
Photo showing the citadel before …
Some workers restoring the Arg-e B…
Some workers restoring the Arg-e …
One of the workmen at the Arg-e Bam
One of the workmen at the Arg-e Bam
Arg-e Bam
Arg-e Bam
Some parts that have survived the …
Some parts that have survived the…
In the front are some test walls, …
In the front are some test walls,…
Bam citadel
Bam citadel
Some of the old walls are kept upr…
Some of the old walls are kept up…
Some of the surviving walls are to…
Some of the surviving walls are t…
Entrance to the Arg-e Bam
Entrance to the Arg-e Bam
Bam citadel (or whats left of it)
Bam citadel (or what's left of it)
Lending a helping hand
Lending a helping hand
close up of damaged citadel walls
close up of damaged citadel walls
A date palm that survived the eart…
A date palm that survived the ear…
Restored bit of the Arg
Restored bit of the Arg
Bam citadel
Bam citadel
Just in case the tilting walls
Just in case the tilting walls
Part of the citadel where the rubb…
Part of the citadel where the rub…
Earthquake-proof house that was ne…
Earthquake-proof house that was n…
The new bazaar (which was never fi…
The new bazaar (which was never f…
Since the bazaar still hasnt reop…
Since the bazaar still hasn't reo…
The new main street
The new main street
The new city centre
The new city centre
Bam
photo by: Vlindeke