Noruz visits to Iranian museums falls by one-fifth due to virus

April 3, 2021 - 21:9

TEHRAN – Visits to Iranian museums fell by one-fifth during the recent Iranian New Year (Noruz) holidays (March 19-April 2) in comparison to the same period two years ago, when the new coronavirus was not yet an issue.

“Visits to cultural heritage museums fell by one-fifth during the Noruz holidays of the current year (1400) in comparison to the same period in the year 1398,” Mohammadreza Kargar, the director of museums and historical properties at the tourism ministry, announced on Saturday.

“1,246,102 people visited cultural heritage museums [and sites] during this Noruz,” the official said without mentioning the number of visitors during the same period in 1398.

Cultural heritage museums were closed during the Noruz holiday last year (1399) due to strict social distancing measures, the official said.

Currently, 740 museums are active across Iran, of which 285 have been established since August 2013, when President Hassan Rouhani began his first administration, Kargar said in March.

Back in 2018, he publicized that some three million historical objects were being kept at museums affiliated with the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Ministry.

Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest continuous major civilizations, embracing settlements dating back to 4000 BC. It also hosts some of the world’s oldest cultural monuments including bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, gardens, rich natural, rural landscapes as well as 24 UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The name of Iran, formerly known as Persia, mostly conjures up the first Persian Empire, ruled by the Achaemenids (ca. 550 – 330 BC) and sites such as Pasargadae and Persepolis. However, there are tens of prehistorical sites as the Burnt City in Sistan-Baluchestan, Tepe Sialk in Kashan, Susa and Chogha Zanbil in the Khuzestan province, and Ecbatana in Hamedan which predate the Achaemenid period.

From a wider point of view, Iranian history can be divided into Pre-Islamic and Islamic eras. The Medes unified Iran as a nation and empire in 625 BC. The Islamic conquest of Persia (633–656) that put an end to the mighty Sassanid Empire (224–651) was a turning point in the history of the nation.

AFM/

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