Visits to Kermanshah tourist sites plummet as coronavirus forces travel curbs

July 5, 2020 - 21:30

TEHRAN – Some 32,000 travelers visited historical and tourist sites across Kermanshah province during the first three months of the current Iranian calendar year (started March 20), a sharp decline compared to around 232,000 visits in the same period last year as travel curbs were imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Provincial deputy tourism chief Ali Saber said that 31,838 visits to historical sites [and museums] across Kermanshah were registered during the first three months of the year. He added that the coronavirus disease has had a vast impact on the province’s tourism, ISNA reported on Sunday. 

“The infection started spreading when we were expecting to meet a high season in tourism of the province. We had already planned to well host a large number of travelers.”

Kermanshah embraces a variety of awe-inspiring historical sites, of which Bisotun and Taq-e Bostan are both on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The country closed cultural heritage museums and historical sites across the country in a preventive measure amid fears of coronavirus outbreak back in February, but as the coronavirus lockdown was eased, they were reopened in early May.

Saber also expressed his hope that the province would witness a tourism boom after coronavirus.

However, provincial tourism chief Omid Qaderi announced on Saturday that all museums across the western province have gone on lockdown again for at least one week following the increase in the number of people infected with the coronavirus.

Amongst province’s several popular historical sites, Taq-e Bostan, Bisotun, and the Temple of Anahita, which reopened their doors to the public in May, can continue their activities as the strict sanitary and social distancing requirements can be observed carefully in these places, he said.

The accommodation centers including hotels, guest houses, and eco-lodge units are also allowed to resume their work with 50 percent of their capacities, the official added. 

He also noted that travel restrictions haven’t been imposed yet, but travelers need to follow strict health protocols.

Inscribed into the base of a towering cliff, Taq-e Bostan comprises extraordinary Sassanian bas-reliefs of ancient victorious kings divide opinions. Late afternoon is the best time to visit, as the cliff turns a brilliant orange in the setting sun, which then dies poetically on the far side of the duck pond.

Bisotun is a patchwork of immense yet impressive life-size carvings depicting the king Darius I and several other figures. UNESCO has it that Bisotun bears outstanding testimony to the important interchange of human values on the development of monumental art and writing, reflecting ancient traditions in monumental bas-reliefs.

Temple of Anahita in the city of Kangavar is believed to have been built circa 200 BC. Several column bases and ruins of a wall remain from the magnificent Greek-style temple.

The temple was used during the Parthian era (248 BC-224) as well as the Sassanid era (224-651).

The monument was damaged as it was used for various purposes by the Seljuk, Ilkhanid, Safavid, and Qajar dynasties, which ruled in Iran over the past centuries.

The Temple of Anahita was seriously damaged by an earthquake in 1957. Afterward, people invaded the perimeter of the site, using stones from the temple to rebuild their homes at that location.