Silk Road a suitable opportunity to introduce ancient Iran

August 9, 2019

TEHRAN – The possible inscription of the ancient Silk Road on the UNESCO World Heritage list will open up a suitable opportunity for Iran to present its cultural, literary, historical and scientific achievements to the world, the secretary general of the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO has said.

“Although the mainstream view of the Silk Road is economic, the road has various cultural values and capacities as well,”Hojjatollah Ayoubi said on Wednesday.

He made the remarks at a plenary session for the 6th Meeting of the Coordinating Committee on Serial Transnational World Heritage Nomination of the Silk Road, which will be held in the city of Hamedan in the Iranian calendar month of Mehr (Sept.23-Oct. 22), the report said.

The meeting will be attended by representatives from Iran, Afghanistan, China, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan, the Republic of Korea, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well as some observers from other countries.

Addressing the session, Cvetan Cvetkovski, the officer in charge of UNESCO Cluster Office in Tehran, expressed hope that all these programs could create a good image of the UNESCO, the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, Hamedan, and Iran.

“One of these activities is the International Conference on Interfaith Dialogue along the Silk Road,” Cvetkovski said.

The ancient Silk Road has existed for thousands of years, passing through many different empires, kingdoms, reigns and societies throughout history. “We will compile a record of all activities at the conference and, in November, at the UNESCO General Conference, we will present the results.”

Another speaker at the session was Mohammad-Hassan Talebian, Iran’s deputy tourism chief, who saw a bright prospect for Hamedan as the host of the UNESCO-affiliated event.

“A main part of the Silk Road passes through Iran and Hamedan is situated on this route,” Talebian said, adding “So, Hamedan as the host of the meeting, can be properly introduced in terms of tangible and intangible cultural heritage and tourism destinations.”

Together with five Central Asian countries and China, the World Heritage Center has coordinated the preparation of the serial transnational World Heritage nomination of the Silk Roads since 2003.

Central Asia and China have supported the project through organizing regional and sub-regional consultation meetings, the establishment of the inter-governmental coordinating committees regrouping the 14 participating countries, and the elaboration with ICOMOS and the World Heritage Center of a Thematic Study on the Silk Roads.

The ancient Silk Road has existed for thousands of years, passing through many different empires, kingdoms, reigns and societies throughout history. At certain times in its long history, traders could travel freely along these routes, whereas at others, travel was difficult or dangerous.

According to UNESCO, the Silk Road enriched the countries it passed through, transporting cultures, religions, languages and of course material goods into societies across Europe, Asia and Africa, and uniting them all with a common thread of cultural heritage and plural identities.

There are over 40 countries today alongside the historic Land and Maritime Silk Roads, all still bearing witness to the impact of these routes in their culture, traditions and customs.

These vast networks carried more than just merchandise and precious commodities however: the constant movement and mixing of populations also brought about the transmission of knowledge, ideas, cultures and beliefs, which had a profound impact on the history and civilizations of the Eurasian peoples. Travelers along the Silk Roads were attracted not only by trade but also by the intellectual and cultural exchange that was taking place in cities along the Silk Roads, many of which developed into hubs of culture and learning. Science, arts and literature, as well as crafts and technologies were thus shared and disseminated into societies along the lengths of these routes, and in this way, languages, religions and cultures developed and influenced each other.

AFM/MG

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