Sarayan caravanserai joins shortlist for collective world heritage 

June 16, 2021 - 18:0

TEHRAN – A Safavid era (1501-1736) caravanserai in the city of Sarayan has recently received cultural heritage experts’ preliminary approval to join the shortlist of Iranian historical caravanserais being prepared for a possible inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Restoration work is underway on the caravanserai, its surroundings, and on a cistern nearby, in preparation for being assessed by UNESCO experts, Sarayan’s tourism chief has said. 

Global registration of such historical monuments could contribute to their preservation and protection while it would lead to increased economic prosperity for the region by attracting more tourists, IRNA quoted Mohammad Arab as saying on Wednesday. 

Located in the eastern province of South Khorasan, Sarayan caravanserai is one of the oldest tourist attractions of the city, which is still in use. 

Within the caravanserai, which was listed on the National Heritage list in 2003, is the Sarayan Museum of Anthropology. 

Last year, the tourism ministry announced that Iran is developing a dossier for a selection of its historical caravanseries 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 “Sara”. The former stands for a group of travelers and Sara 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). For many travelers to Iran, staying in or even visiting a centuries-old caravanserai can be a wide experience as they have an opportunity to feel the past, a time travel back into a forgotten age.

South Khorasan 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.

ABU/AFM

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