Maranjab caravanserai one step closer to UNESCO status

January 2, 2021 - 22:0

TEHRAN – Iran has almost completed preparations for Maranjab caravanserai, which is located adjacent to a barren desert of the same name in central Isfahan province for possibly becoming a UNESCO World Heritage.

The Safavid-era (1501–1736) caravanserai was used by the travelers of the time to rest on their way to the Khorasan, Rey, and Isfahan. It is situated in Aran-Bidgol, which was once on the ancient Silk Road. 

The documentation of the caravanserai has been completed and its dossier is ready to be submitted to the UNESCO, Aran-Bidgol’s tourism chief Seyyed Hossein Chakeri announced on Friday. 

The historical monument covers an area of 3,500 square meters and has 29 rooms, which is being used as a tourist complex nowadays. The caravanserai was inscribed on the National Heritage list in 2005. 

Last year, the tourism ministry announced that Iran is developing a dossier for a selection of its historical caravansaries for a possible inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

In this regard, cultural heritage experts are assessing such monuments that are scattered across the country to make a shortlist in terms of their architecture, historical and cultural values.

Caravanserai is a compound word combining “caravan” with “serai”. The first stand for a group of travelers and serai means the building. They often had massive portals supported by elevated load-bearing walls. Guest rooms were constructed around the courtyard and stables behind them with doors in the corners of the yard.

Iran’s earliest caravanserais were built during the Achaemenid era (550 -330 BC). Centuries later, when Shah Abbas I assumed power from 1588 – to 1629, he ordered the construction of network caravanserais across the country. For many travelers to Iran, staying in or even visiting a centuries-old caravanserai, can be a wide experience; they have an opportunity to feel the past, a time travel back into a forgotten age!

The desert is surrounded by a salt lake from the north, Band-e Rig Desert and National Park from the east, Masileh Desert, Hoz-e sultan and Moreh Lakes from the west and eventually Aran-Bidgol from the south.

ABU/AFM

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