UNESCO to decide the fate of Naqsh-e Jahan Square in late March

March 6, 2010

TEHRAN -- The UNESCO will announce its decision on the fate of Naqsh-e Jahan Square in few weeks, program specialist of UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office Junko Taniguchi said on Wednesday.

Taniguchi, who led a UNESCO delegation comprised of World Heritage Center program specialist Feng Jing, and Managing Director of the Geo-Research Institute in Osaka Yoshinori Iwasaki, in a visit to the Jahan-Nama Tower last week, held a press conference in Isfahan, detailing the outcome of their mission.
The delegation has been commissioned to study the general status of safeguards for the cultural heritage of Isfahan, the activities carried out in the modifying the Jahan-Nama Tower, and the level of Iranian government’s cooperation in this issue, Taniguchi said.
He said that they have not completed their mission yet and refused to make any comment about the modification of the Jahan-Nama Tower.
The delegation will return to Tehran on March 7 to scrutinize the information gathered during their mission, and then UNESCO will decide on the fate of Naqsh-e Jahan Square within a month, he added.
The Jahan-Nama Tower spoils the horizontal panorama of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square, a complex of Safavid-era monuments registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979.
UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee’s called for modification of the Jahan-Nama Tower during its 28th session on July 1, 2004.
The organization later threatened to place the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger if Iran failed to fulfill its obligation to modify the tower. However, no modification has been completed.
Delegation member Iwasaki has also been assigned to study the threats posed by the construction of Isfahan’s new metro to the city’s the historical sites, which are located within the perimeter of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square.
Metro lines under construction are threatening monuments located on Chahar-Bagh Street and the Naqsh-e Jahan Square.
Experts believe that vibration caused by future passing trains would result in the destruction of the monuments.
A tunnel boring project for the Isfahan Metro deviated from its intended route in November 2009 and bumped into a ramp and a lower part of the historical bridge of Si-o-Se Pol.
According to the information the delegation received, it seems that the foundations of the 400-year-old bridge have not been damaged, Taniguchi said.
However, he added that the outcome would be announced after Iwasaki completes his investigation concerning the issue.
Photo: The Jahan-Nama Tower is seen at the right side of the Aali-Qapu Palace on the horizon from the Naqsh-e Jahan Square in a photo taken on January 24, 2010. (Mehr/Ehsan Khosravi)