Astarabad offers free tours to mark International Day for Monuments and Sites

April 14, 2023 - 21:2

TEHRAN – The historical texture of Gorgan, the capital of northern Golestan province, previously known as Astarabad, is offering a free tour on Monday to mark the International Day for Monuments and Sites (IDMS), the provincial tourism chief has said.

One of the objectives of this tour is to introduce the culture and history of Astarabad, which has unique patterns of Iranian-Islamic architecture and urban planning, Mohammad Javad Savari explained on Friday.

Astarabad is situated along a small tributary of the Qareh River, 37 kilometers from the Caspian Sea. The city, which was prosperous during the Achaemenid era (c. 550 – 330 BC), for long suffered from inroads of the Turkmen tribes who occupied the plain north of the Qareh River and were subjected to incessant Qajar-Turkmen tribal conflicts in the 19th century according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

It was renamed Gorgan in the 1930s after being devastated by a massive earthquake. In modern times, the plain around Gorgan has become a flourishing granary.

Golestan is reportedly embracing some 2,500 historical and natural sites, with UNESCO-registered Gonbad-e Qabus – a one-millennium-old brick tower – amongst its most famous.

Narratives say the tower has influenced various subsequent designers of tomb towers and other cylindrical commemorative structures both in the region and beyond. The UNESCO comments that the tower bears testimony to the cultural exchange between Central Asian nomads and the ancient civilization of Iran.

In 1982, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) established 18 April as the International Day for Monuments and Sites (IDMS), followed by UNESCO adoption during its 22nd General Conference. Each year, ICOMOS proposes a theme for activities to be organized by its members and partners, and anyone who wants to join in marking the Day.

This year’s IDMS features the theme of Heritage Changes.


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