ICOMOS assessors to visit caravansaries in Iran 

July 30, 2021 - 18:27

TEHRAN – Assessors and experts affiliated with the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) are scheduled to visit several caravansaries in Iran. 

The evaluators will arrive in the Islamic Republic by the end of the current Iranian month of Mordad (August 22) to visit and review the current status of a select of caravansarais for potential inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list, IRNA quoted Mostafa Purali, a senior official with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts, as saying on Friday.

An all-inclusive dossier of a select of Iranian caravansarais is being prepared to be evaluated during the next session of the World Heritage Committee, which will be held in 2022, the official said.

Last year, the tourism ministry announced that Iran is developing a dossier for a selection of its historical caravansaries 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.

Earlier this week, UNESCO added Trans-Iranian Railway and Uramanat cultural landscape to its list of world heritage sites, bringing Iran’s share of the list from 24 to 26.

Caravansary is a compound word combining “caravan” with “sara”; the former stands for a group of travelers and the latter 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 caravansarais were built during the Achaemenid era (550 -330 BC). Centuries later, when Shah Abbas I assumed power from 1588 – to 1629, he ordered the construction of network caravansarais across the country. For many travelers to Iran, staying in or even visiting a centuries-old caravanserai, can be a wide experience; they have an opportunity to feel the past, a time travel back into a forgotten age!

The Islamic Republic expects to reap a bonanza from its numerous tourist spots such as bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, mausoleums, churches, towers, and mansions. Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, Iran aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025. The latest available data show eight million tourists visited the Islamic Republic during the first ten months of the past Iranian calendar year (ended March 20).


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