Traditional Lenj boat to emerge as three-star hotel in southern Iran

May 2, 2021 - 18:8

TEHRAN – A traditional Iranian Lenj vessel is set to be turned into a three-star hotel in the port city of Kong, southern Iran.

"We want to show everyone that these Lenj boats can be rehabilitated, so we will use one of them as a floating three-star hotel after being fully restored and equipped with tourism amenities," Kong Mayor Ayoub Zarei announced on Sunday.

Last week, the Iranian cabinet approved a bill that may, according to cultural heritage experts, lead to the elimination of the UNESCO-listed traditional skills of building and sailing Iranian Lenj boats in the Persian Gulf.

Members of government on Wednesday rectified a bill for the replacement of traditional commercial vessels with a capacity of fewer than 500 tons though the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts had previously notified that the traditional knowledge of shipbuilding and navigation was on the UNESCO list of intangible heritage.

Various activists, including the World Maritime Forum, Kang Municipality, ICOM officials, cultural heritage lovers, and the media, have repeatedly stated their opposition to the resolution.

Iranian Lenj vessels are traditionally hand-built and are used by inhabitants of the northern coast of the Persian Gulf for sea journeys, trading, fishing, and pearl diving. The traditional knowledge surrounding Lenjs includes oral literature, performing arts and festivals, in addition to the sailing and navigation techniques and terminology, and weather forecasting that is closely associated with sailing, and the skills of wooden boat-building itself. The navigational knowledge used to sail Lenjes was traditionally passed on from father to son.


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