UNESCO-registered Uramanat to launch research institute

February 22, 2022 - 21:16

TEHRAN – The UNESCO-designated Uramanat seeks to launch a special research institute to conduct surveys across the vast rural landscape situated in western Iran.

“The institute is to be established based on a memorandum of understanding we have inked with Kermanshah’s Razi University,” the director of the World Heritage site said on Monday.

“We are planning to gain the expertise of local elites, researchers, cultural heritage experts in the institute to solve problems existing in the region,” Pouya Talebnia added.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the official attached importance to efforts needed to be made to publicize achievements attained by the recent UNESCO inscription.

“Demonstrating the achievements of the global registration of Uramanat is essential for the entire western region of the country.”

According to Talebnia, preliminary archaeological assessments suggest the Uramanat region is composed of over 700 ancient sites.

Up to the moment, 120 sites of significant historical values have been discovered within the vast Uramanat cultural landscape…. However, the number is estimated to reach over 700 in future archaeological expeditions, he explained earlier this year.

“So far, 120 historical sites have been identified in the Uramanat region of Kermanshah province, and to further identify more sites, more detailed studies should be carried out.”

“We are planning to conduct additional archaeological studies on [the Paleolithic] Ravansar hill and the cultural landscape of Uramanat, using the expertise of local archaeologists and in collaboration with the University of Heidelberg,” Talebnia noted.

UNESCO added Uramanat cultural landscape to its list of world heritage sites in July 2021. The UN body accepted the landscape, which holds hundreds of villages, 106,000 hectares of land, and 303,000 hectares of surrounding properties, during the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee, which will be running through July 31 in China’s Fuzhou.

Stretched on the slopes of Sarvabad county, and shared between the provinces of Kordestan and Kermanshah, the rural area embraces dense and step-like rows of houses in a way that the roof of each house forms the yard of the upper one, a feature that adds to its charm and attractiveness. It boasts dense and step-like rows of houses in a way that the roof of each house forms the yard of the upper one, a feature that adds to its charm and attractiveness.

Uramanat enjoys unique tranquil landscapes. Last September, Hessam Mahdi, the representative of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) said that he was “impressed” by the status of the rural landscape during his visit. He made the remarks on the sidelines of a visit to the western province of Kermanshah. “I am proud of being chosen to assess the case and traveling to Iran as I could visit the local people in the region.”

Local officials and travel insiders believe that inscription of the property on the prestigious list of the UN body could jumpstart tourism in the region and also look at it as a tool for better conservation of its natural landscapes and unique cultural scenes for the next generations, saying its unique rural texture, architecture, lifestyle, and agriculture is a prominent example of the integration of man into nature.

Last December, a team of archaeologists from Iran and Germany finished a field survey to shed new light on the history of Uramanat by unearthing remnants of historical monuments and relics.  It yielded the discovery of “several” archaeological sites and objects yet it resulted in a change in the chronological sequence of several previously-found ancient sites, according to Talebnia. Moreover, several historical fortresses and their legal properties were demarcated during the survey, which was co-directed by Talebnia and Shelir Amelirad from Heidelberg University.

Over the past couple of years, western Iranian provinces have held several meetings to discuss ways to expand tourism, bringing together local officials, hoteliers, travel agents, and tour operators from provinces of Lorestan, Ilam, Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Kermanshah, Kordestan, Hamedan, Zanjan and East Azarbaijan, amongst others.

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, of which 26 are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.


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