Dossiers on Iranian railway, cultural landscape submitted to UNESCO

January 26, 2021 - 20:42

TEHRAN – Revised dossiers on the trans-Iranian railway, and the cultural landscape of Uramanat have been submitted to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization to be assessed as World Heritage sites.   

“The [revised] dossiers of Uramanat region, and the north-south railway of Iran along with the related facilities, were sent to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for [possible] global registration,” Farhad Azizi, the director of the World Heritage Affairs Office at the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts, said on Monday.

The north-south railway with a length of 1400 km is considered as [one of] most enormous dossiers to be weighed by UNESCO, the official said.

Uramanat region, which is shared between the provinces of Kordestan and Kermanshah, holds 700 villages, 106,000 hectares of land, and 303,000 hectares of surrounding properties as a significant human settlement, Azizi explained.

The cultural landscape of Uramanat

Stretched on a steep slope in Uraman Takht rural district of Sarvabad county, the villages are home to dense and step-like rows of houses in a way that the roof of each house forms the yard of the upper one, a feature that adds to its charm and attractiveness.

Uraman is considered a cradle of Kurdish art and culture from the days of yore. Pirshalyar, which is named after a legendary local figure, is amongst time-honored celebrations and rituals that are practiced annually across the region.

Local officials believe that inscription of the property on the prestigious list of the UN body could jumpstart tourism in the region and also look at it as a tool for better conservation of its natural landscapes and unique cultural scenes for the next generations, saying its unique rural texture, architecture, lifestyle, and agriculture is a prominent example of the integration of man into nature.

The trans-Iranian railway

The introduction of modern industries and true effects of modernism on Iran began with Fatali Shah and Naserolddeen Shah’s travels to Europe but was seriously expanded only during the rule of Reza Shah. The period of transfer from an agricultural to an industrial society in Iran happened because of: Amir Kabir’s activities including the establishment of a poly-technique school called Darolfonun in Tehran, introduction of electricity and modern industries in a European style, appearance of modern methods and instruments, growth of technology, mass production of goods by big industries in new spaces, arrival of new modes of communication such as post and lastly a huge change in intercity relations because of railways. The idea of railway construction in Iran initially emerged in the second half of the 19th century during the Qajar era as a result of the expansion of political and cultural relations between Iran and Europe.

Railway can be regarded as a turning point for comprehensive developments in Iran. These developments include a wide spectrum of various economical, commercial, social, cultural, and even political aspects in a sensitive and important period of contemporary world history. Under the Pahlavi regime, the process of moving towards modernism gained momentum and the railway became the main pedestal of development in Iran.

Consequently, the 1394 kilometers long trans-Iranian railway was built with a width of 1435mm and 90 working stations along its route. It starts at a point north of Torkaman port located southeast of the Caspian Sea. After going through Sari and Qaem-Shahr cities, the railway enters the mountainous region of Alborz through the high Firooz-kooh Pass which is linked with Tehran and Varamin Plain by numerous bridges and tunnels. Further on after crossing the flat lands of Qom and Arak, the trans-Iranian railway penetrates Zagros highlands in Lorestan Province and passing through a large number of tunnels and bridges reaches Andimeshk situated in the low Kuzestan Plain. Finally extending to the vicinity of Dezful, Ahwaz, and its grand bridge on Karoon, the trans-Iranian railway is divided into two branches ending separately at Khoram-Shahr and Imam-Khomeini ports on the Persian Gulf.


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