UNESCO studying to inscribe Lut Desert on World Heritage List

October 27, 2015 - 0:0

TEHRAN – The Natural World Heritage status inspectors of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are now in Iran’s Lut Desert to conduct field studies for its registration on the World Heritage list.

“Lut is Iran’s first proposal for natural heritage in UNESCO,” Hassan Ramezani, the head of the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) of South Khorasan Province said in a press release on Sunday.

The UNESCO inspectors, who are from Tunisia and New Zealand, will make site visits in provinces of Kerman and South Khorasan during their five-day sojourn in Iran.

They have already visited Dehsalm Village near Nehbandan city in the vicinity of the desert.

CHTHO has provided a base camp in a local residence in Dehsalm village and has held several meetings with local officials and prepared the village for hosting tourists, he explained.

They also plan to visit Lut’s natural attractions, including its yardangs, large areas of soft, poorly consolidated rock that have been extensively grooved and pitted by wind erosion and nebkhas, usual dune forms that occur in such instances are isolated mounds around individual plants.

Lut imaginary city neighborhood, Gandom Beryan as the hottest part of the desert, Rud-e Shur as Iran’s only desert river, and Rig Yalan sand dunes, are other places they will visit in the coming days.

They will also study local management in ecological preservation of the Lut Desert, tourism supervision and environmental monitoring of the place, Ramezani added.

The nomination file will be ready by February 2016 and will be presented to the World Heritage Committee meeting, which will take place July 10-20, 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey, he added.

Lut Desert, also known as Dasht-e Lut, is a large salt desert bounded by South Khorasan, Sistan and Baluchestan and Kerman Provinces, Iran and is the world’s 25th largest desert.

The surface of the sand there has been measured at temperatures as high as 70.7°C, and it is one of the world’s driest and hottest places.

Area of the desert is about 51,800 square kilometers. During the spring wet season, water briefly flows down from the Kerman Mountains, but it soon dries up, leaving behind only rocks, sand, and salt.

The eastern part of Lut is a low plateau covered with salt flats. In contrast, the center has been sculpted by the wind into a series of parallel ridges and furrows, extending over 150 km and reaching 75 meters in height.

This area is also riddled with ravines and sinkholes. The southeast is a vast expanse of sand, like a Saharan erg, with dunes 300 meters high, among the tallest in the world.

PHOTO: A beautiful yardang in Lut Desert (Photo: Mehdi Kalhor)