Boundaries defined for seven caravansaries in northern Iran  

April 16, 2022 - 21:15

TEHRAN – The Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts has determined the boundaries of seven caravansaries located in Gilan province, northern Iran.

In a letter to Gilan’s governor-general Assadollah Abbasi, the tourism minister Ezzatollah Zarghami has declared the legal boundaries for seven caravansaries and some other historical monuments as well, Mehr reported.

Part of the letter reads: “Any intrusion and seizure within the defined boundaries or the violation of protection rules is considered a crime and the perpetrator will be subject to legal penalties.”

The declaration is aimed to safeguard the centuries-old caravansaries named Sa’adat, Golshan, Chini-Chian, Tagi Kouchak, Tagi Bozorg, Malek, and Mohtasham, the report said.

The Islamic Republic is hoping to win a UNESCO recognition for a selection of its caravansaries so it submitted an inclusive dossier to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization last year.

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 caravansaraies 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 a network of caravansaries across the country.

For many travelers to Iran, staying in or even visiting a centuries-old caravansary, can be a wide experience; they have an opportunity to feel the past, a time travel back into a forgotten age.

Such roadside inns were once constructed along ancient caravan routes in the Muslim world to shelter people, their goods, and animals. The former Silk Roads may be the most famous example dotted by caravansaries.

Cozy chambers that are meticulously laid out around a vast courtyard may easily evoke spirits of the past. It’s not hard to fancy the hustle and bustle of merchants bargaining on prices, recounting their arduous journeys to one another while their camels chewing hay! You can also conceive the idea of local architectural style and material in its heyday.

It’s not hard to fancy the hustle and bustle of merchants bargaining on prices, recounting their arduous journeys to one another while their camels chewing hay!

Passing major roads in the country, one may see crumbling caravansaries many of which were abandoned for ages. In the Information Age, such guest houses have largely lost their actual usage.

However, a couple of years ago, the Iran tourism ministry introduced a scheme to keep them alive and profitable; tens of caravansaries are ceded to the private investors for better maintenance. Now, some are exclusively vrenovated and repurposed into boutique hotels and tourist lodgings.

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.

AFM

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