Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Bam, Bam Rubble

Upon first arriving in Bam you would be excused for thinking it an important port city, as most shops and homes are just converted containers or, if they're lucky, portacabins. If only the reality were so innocent. Unfortunately, on Boxing Day 2003, in the early hours of the morning, an earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale hit the city and levelled some 70% of its buildings and killing perhaps 40% of its population. Seeing the suffering that must have been and the hardship that still is produces a permanent lump in one's throat. The only things that weren't affected were the extensive date-palm plantations that produce the soft, sweet, juicy dates for which Bam is famous. Why then visit a town that is little more than a huge construction site since its dates can be bought everywhere? Well, Bam was also home to its eponymous citadel, once the largest adobe structure in the world. I say was, because the earthquake flattened the citadel, which had stood for hundreds of years, to nothing more than rubble. Walking around the ruins was rather painful: to see such beauty and human ingenuity gone in a matter of seconds. And although reconstruction work is going apace, it will not finish before my lifetime, of that I am quite sure. To see what was once and what is now have a look at the following BBC article.

No comments: