Caravanserais, Asbads in South Khorasan eye World Heritage status

April 21, 2021 - 18:35

TEHRAN – The process of preparing four caravanserais and Asbads (ancient vertical-axis windmills) in South Khorasan province is being carried out and the UNESCO assessors are projected to visit the sites by mid-May to register them in the World Heritage list.

UNESCO assessors will travel to Iran for a final evaluation, and we hope to see the province's fifth property inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list this year, Hassan Ramezani, director-general of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Department of South Khorasan said on Wednesday, ILNA reported.

Located in eastern Iran, South Khorasan province is home to many historical and natural attractions such as Birjand Castle, Dragon Cave, Furg Citadel, and Polond Desert.

It is also known for its famous rugs as well as its saffron and barberry which are produced in almost all parts of the province.

Asbad used to be a smart technique to grind grains. It also bears testimony to the human being’s adaption with nature by transforming environmental obstacles into opportunities.

Iran plans to register a wide collection of its Asbads in different provinces on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The architectural spaces of these caravanserais include entrance porches, cells, docks, stables, water reservoirs, and the royal sitting hall, and in some caravanserais, impressive and very beautiful brick decorations have been used, and this architectural style and characteristics have made these works valuable."

"We are trying to prioritize the excavations of Kaleh Koob site in the form of joint studies with foreign groups through the Cultural Heritage Research Institute so that we can use modern Iranian methods in exploring this site."

He explained the province's progress plans in the field of cultural heritage and said: "We have some research work in the field of very rich and valuable areas of South Khorasan which we continue them to reach a clear result. One of them is the ancient site of "Kaleh Koob" around the city of Sarayan, where we have done three seasons of archeological excavations so far, and there are artifacts and remains that date back to the late Neolithic to the Bronze Age.”

He continued: "We are trying to prioritize the excavations of Kaleh Koob site in the form of joint studies with foreign groups through the Cultural Heritage Research Institute so that we can use up-to-date Iranian methods in excavating this site."

He also pointed out that so far three seasons of archeological excavations and speculation operations have been carried out in the area of "Takhcherabad", noting: "During the study of architectural works and evidence obtained, in the opinion of many of my colleagues and experts and archaeologists, the antiquity of this hill, which is located around Birjand, can be traced back to the Median period in terms of architecture and history. Therefore, we definitely need to continue the exploration operations in this area so that we can achieve more accurate and scientifically sound results."

Ramezani pointed out: "In the field of restoration, fortunately, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism, and especially the Deputy Minister of Cultural Heritage, Dr. Talebian, had a good view and also a good knowledge and domination of the historical capacities of South Khorasan, which has made us now one of the leading provinces in the field of buildings that are being restored with the participation of owners and the private sector, and we are even restoring a large number of historical buildings with the participation of owners and the private sector."

The official underlined: "Following this process, a number of historical monuments in the province will be restored this year from our partnership funds. In addition, in the field of urban and rural historical textures, due to the number of nationally registered valuable textures, this year we will also see the continuation of restoration works in the walls of the passages, flooring, and restoration of single buildings in the area of historical textures."

Ramezani also announced: "By mid-May, the process of launching the Museum of Clothing and Textiles of South Khorasan, which has been completed by the private sector at the historical house "Pardeli" in Birjand, and will be put into operation during the cultural heritage week."

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