Experts to seek signs of Buddhism along Iran's section of Silk Road

MNA, Aug 22, 2005

TEHRAN, Iran -- A team of Iranian and Japanese experts will soon begin searching for remnants of Buddhist culture along the section of the Silk Road which crossed Iran, an official of the Archaeological Research Center of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization announced on Sunday.

Experts of Japan?s Nara International Foundation (NIFS) were curious about the reason for the relative absence of significant signs of Buddhist culture in Iran and thus asked for permission to participate in the study, which begins in the next few days, Karim Alizadeh said.

?The team will conduct the study traveling from east to west in the provinces of Khorasan, Semnan, Tehran, Hamedan, Kordistan, and most likely Kermanshah over the course of one month,? he added.

Hamid Fahimi from Iran and Tsuchi Hashirikobe from Japan are the co-directors of the team, which includes four Japanese experts.

NIFS, a public-service corporation established by the governor of Nara prefecture in July 1989, aims to develop Nara into a center for historical and cultural research on the Silk Road, based on the achievements of the Silk Road Exposition of 1988. Additional objectives of the foundation are to promote international exchanges, further understanding of Japanese life in foreign countries, and encourage activation of the local community.

Nara is a city in the south of Honshu in central Japan. It was the chief Buddhist center of ancient Japan and the capital of the country for 74 years from 710 to 784 CE.

The Silk Road was an ancient route along which silk was carried from China across Central Asia to the Eastern Mediterranean and Europe.