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Iran's WORLD HERITAGE SITES

In honour of Iran's two newest UNESCO World Heritage sites, I've decided to start a thread about all of Iran's UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place (such as a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that is listed by UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance. The program catalogues, names, and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity.

Iran currently has 21 UNESCO World Heritage sites - The most amongst all the Persian Gulf countries (combined). Iran also has over 50 other sites under consideration for placement as the UNESCO World Heritage sites.

For the complete details of Iran's list, please visit the UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE Website's Iran page, here.​
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
1979 Inscriptions

1979

These sites were Iran's first inscriptions to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

Tchogha Zanbil



The ruins of the holy city of the Kingdom of Elam, surrounded by three huge concentric walls, are found at Tchogha Zanbil. Founded c. 1250 B.C., the city remained unfinished after it was invaded by Ashurbanipal, as shown by the thousands of unused bricks left at the site.



Persepolis



Founded by Darius I in 518 B.C., Persepolis was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire. It was built on an immense half-artificial, half-natural terrace, where the king of kings created an impressive palace complex inspired by Mesopotamian models. The importance and quality of the monumental ruins make it a unique archaeological site.



Meidan Emam (Shah), Esfahan



Built by Shah Abbas I the Great at the beginning of the 17th century, and bordered on all sides by monumental buildings linked by a series of two-storeyed arcades, the site is known for the Royal Mosque, the Mosque of Sheykh Lotfollah, the magnificent Portico of Qaysariyyeh and the 15th-century Timurid palace. They are an impressive testimony to the level of social and cultural life in Persia during the Safavid era.​
 

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2003 Inscription

2003

After 24 years from Iran's first inscriptions to the list, the following was added in 2003:

Takht-e Soleyman



The archaeological site of Takht-e Soleyman, in north-western Iran, is situated in a valley set in a volcanic mountain region. The site includes the principal Zoroastrian sanctuary partly rebuilt in the Ilkhanid (Mongol) period (13th century) as well as a temple of the Sasanian period (6th and 7th centuries) dedicated to Anahita. The site has important symbolic significance. The designs of the fire temple, the palace and the general layout have strongly influenced the development of Islamic architecture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
2004 Inscriptions

2004

In 2004, the following Iranian sites were added to the list:

Bam and its Cultural Landscape



Bam is situated in a desert environment on the southern edge of the Iranian high plateau. The origins of Bam can be traced back to the Achaemenid period (6th to 4th centuries BC). Its heyday was from the 7th to 11th centuries, being at the crossroads of important trade routes and known for the production of silk and cotton garments. The existence of life in the oasis was based on the underground irrigation canals, the qanāts, of which Bam has preserved some of the earliest evidence in Iran. Arg-e Bam is the most representative example of a fortified medieval town built in vernacular technique using mud layers (Chineh).



Pasargadae



Pasargadae was the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus II the Great, in Pars, homeland of the Persians, in the 6th century BC. Its palaces, gardens and the mausoleum of Cyrus are outstanding examples of the first phase of royal Achaemenid art and architecture and exceptional testimonies of Persian civilization. Particularly noteworthy vestiges in the 160-ha site include: the Mausoleum of Cyrus II; Tall-e Takht, a fortified terrace; and a royal ensemble of gatehouse, audience hall, residential palace and gardens. Pasargadae was the capital of the first great multicultural empire in Western Asia. Spanning the Eastern Mediterranean and Egypt to the Hindus River, it is considered to be the first empire that respected the cultural diversity of its different peoples. This was reflected in Achaemenid architecture, a synthetic representation of different cultures.​
 

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2005 Inscription

2005

In 2005, the following site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list:

Soltaniyeh



The mausoleum of Oljaytu was constructed in 1302–12 in the city of Soltaniyeh, the capital of the Ilkhanid dynasty, which was founded by the Mongols. Situated in the province of Zanjan, Soltaniyeh is one of the outstanding examples of the achievements of Persian architecture and a key monument in the development of its Islamic architecture. The octagonal building is crowned with a 50 m tall dome covered in turquoise-blue faience and surrounded by eight slender minarets. It is the earliest existing example of the double-shelled dome in Iran. The mausoleum’s interior decoration is also outstanding and scholars such as A.U. Pope have described the building as 'anticipating the Taj Mahal'.
 

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2006 Inscription

2006

In 2006, the following historic site was added to the list:

Bisotun



Bisotun is located along the ancient trade route linking the Iranian high plateau with Mesopotamia and features remains from the prehistoric times to the Median, Achaemenid, Sassanian, and Ilkhanid periods. The principal monument of this archaeological site is the bas-relief and cuneiform inscription ordered by Darius I, The Great, when he rose to the throne of the Persian Empire, 521 BC. The bas-relief portrays Darius holding a bow, as a sign of sovereignty, and treading on the chest of a figure who lies on his back before him. According to legend, the figure represents Gaumata, the Median Magus and pretender to the throne whose assassination led to Darius’s rise to power. Below and around the bas-reliefs, there are ca. 1,200 lines of inscriptions telling the story of the battles Darius waged in 521-520 BC against the governors who attempted to take apart the Empire founded by Cyrus. The inscription is written in three languages. The oldest is an Elamite text referring to legends describing the king and the rebellions. This is followed by a Babylonian version of similar legends. The last phase of the inscription is particularly important, as it is here that Darius introduced for the first time the Old Persian version of his res gestae (things done). This is the only known monumental text of the Achaemenids to document the re-establishment of the Empire by Darius I. It also bears witness to the interchange of influences in the development of monumental art and writing in the region of the Persian Empire. There are also remains from the Median period (8th to 7th centuries B.C.) as well as from the Achaemenid (6th to 4th centuries B.C.) and post-Achaemenid periods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
2008 Inscription

2008

In 2008, the following Christian site was added to the list:

Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran



The Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran, in the north-west of the country, consists of three monastic ensembles of the Armenian Christian faith: St Thaddeus and St Stepanos and the Chapel of Dzordzor. These edifices - the oldest of which, St Thaddeus, dates back to the 7th century – are examples of outstanding universal value of the Armenian architectural and decorative traditions. They bear testimony to very important interchanges with the other regional cultures, in particular the Byzantine, Orthodox and Persian. Situated on the south-eastern fringe of the main zone of the Armenian cultural space, the monasteries constituted a major centre for the dissemination of that culture in the region. They are the last regional remains of this culture that are still in a satisfactory state of integrity and authenticity. Furthermore, as places of pilgrimage, the monastic ensembles are living witnesses of Armenian religious traditions through the centuries.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
2009 Inscription

2009

2009 saw the addition of the following site:

Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System



Shushtar, Historical Hydraulic System, inscribed as a masterpiece of creative genius, can be traced back to Darius the Great in the 5th century B.C. It involved the creation of two main diversion canals on the river Kârun one of which, Gargar canal, is still in use providing water to the city of Shushtar via a series of tunnels that supply water to mills. It forms a spectacular cliff from which water cascades into a downstream basin. It then enters the plain situated south of the city where it has enabled the planting of orchards and farming over an area of 40,000 ha. known as Mianâb (Paradise). The property has an ensemble of remarkable sites including the Salâsel Castel, the operation centre of the entire hydraulic system, the tower where the water level is measured, damns, bridges, basins and mills. It bears witness to the know-how of the Elamites and Mesopotamians as well as more recent Nabatean expertise and Roman building influence.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
2010 Inscriptions

2010

In 2010, the following two historic sites were added to the list:

Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex



Tabriz has been a place of cultural exchange since antiquity and its historic bazaar complex is one of the most important commercial centres on the Silk Road. Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex consists of a series of interconnected, covered, brick structures, buildings, and enclosed spaces for different functions. Tabriz and its Bazaar were already prosperous and famous in the 13th century, when the town, in the province of Eastern Azerbaijan, became the capital city of the Safavid kingdom. The city lost its status as capital in the 16th century, but remained important as a commercial hub until the end of the 18th century, with the expansion of Ottoman power. It is one of the most complete examples of the traditional commercial and cultural system of Iran.



Sheikh Safi al-din Khanegah and Shrine Ensemble in Ardabil



Built between the beginning of the 16th century and the end of the 18th century, this place of spiritual retreat in the Sufi tradition uses Iranian traditional architectural forms to maximize use of available space to accommodate a variety of functions (including a library, a mosque, a school, mausolea, a cistern, a hospital, kitchens, a bakery, and some offices). It incorporates a route to reach the shrine of the Sheikh divided into seven segments, which mirror the seven stages of Sufi mysticism, separated by eight gates, which represent the eight attitudes of Sufism. The ensemble includes well-preserved and richly ornamented facades and interiors, with a remarkable collection of antique artefacts. It constitutes a rare ensemble of elements of medieval Islamic architecture.
 

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Iran’s Persian Garden is one of six sites inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the organization’s official website reported.

The property includes nine gardens in as many provinces. Always divided into four sectors, with water playing an important role for both irrigation and ornamentation, the Persian garden was conceived to symbolize Eden and the four Zoroastrian elements of sky, earth, water and plants. These gardens, dating back to different periods since the 6th century BC, also feature buildings, pavilions and walls, as well as sophisticated irrigation systems. They have influenced the art of garden design as far as India and Spain.

UNESCO inscribed five Iranian elements on its List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in November 2010.

The music of the Bakhshis of Khorasan region, the Pahlevani and Zurkhaneh sport, the Iranian passion play tazieh, the traditional skills of carpet weaving in the Fars region, and the traditional skills of carpet weaving in Kashan were all registered on the list during the Fifth Session of the Intergovernmental Committee in Nairobi from Nov.15 to 19.

In 2009, Novruz and the titles and items of the radifs in Iranian music were inscribed on UNESCO's List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

http://en.trend.az/news/society/1897698.html
 

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2011 Inscriptions

2011

In 2011, the following sites were added to the list:

The Persian Garden



The property includes nine gardens in as many provinces. They exemplify the diversity of Persian garden designs that evolved and adapted to different climate conditions while retaining principles that have their roots in the times of Cyrus the Great, 6th century BC. Always divided into four sectors, with water playing an important role for both irrigation and ornamentation, the Persian garden was conceived to symbolize Eden and the four Zoroastrian elements of sky, earth, water and plants. These gardens, dating back to different periods since the 6th century BC, also feature buildings, pavilions and walls, as well as sophisticated irrigation systems. They have influenced the art of garden design as far as India and Spain.

The nine Gardens are:

Ancient Garden of Pasargadae - Fars Province
Eram Garden - Fars Province
Chehel Sotun Garden - Isfahan Province
Fin Garden - Isfahan Province
Abas Abad Garden - Mazandaran Province
Shahzadeh Garden - Kerman Province
Dolat Abad Garden - Yazd Province
Pahlavanpur Garden - Yazd Province
Akbariyeh Garden - South Khorasan Province

 

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Wow..

I can't imagine what a tourist boom Iran will get if the sanctions get lifted and relations normalize with the West. :)
 

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^^ True.

I don't think a western tourist would find it comfortable to wear a manto and a headscarf in the blazing sun with a temperature of 40+.

Oh well, back to the topic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Great news.
How does this work exactly? Is there a limit as to many a country can add every year? What amount of funding do they get? What sort of oversight is there?
Countries make official nominationss to the UNESCO committee who then choose new entries to the list every year. Iran currently has over 50 nominations for the committee. There is no limit as to how many sites a country can get.

Once a site is on the list, they are protected by international law under the Geneva Convention - Essentially, they cannot be touched during times of war, etc. It is up to the host nation to protect/preserve the sites, although they can ask for funding assistance from UNESCO.
 
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