People participate in restoration of 8,000 historical monuments

October 19, 2021 - 22:2

TEHRAN – People have participated in the restoration of some 8,000 historical monuments [and relics] over the past couple of years, a senior advisor to Iran’s tourism minister has said.

“In the past years, 8,000 historical monuments have been restored and renovated in the country with participation of people [and the private sector], IRNA quoted Mohammad-Hassan Talebian as saying on Monday.

He made the remarks on the sidelines of a visit to several historical caravanserais in which he accompanied UNESCO assessors who are inspecting various mudbrick inns across Iran for a possible registration as a collective World Heritage.

Talebian did not mention the timespan during which the “monuments” were restored.

“People are the real owners of the country’s cultural heritage and their contribution will enhance public attention to attract more investment in this realm,” he said.

“Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts has a limited budget so that people's participation in the restoration of historical monuments helps boost revenues and tourism prosperity,” Talebian explained.

During the past couple of years, hundreds of historical sites and monuments have been temporarily ceded to the private sector reportedly aimed at achieving higher productivity and better maintenance.

Supervised by the Revitalization and Utilization Fund for Historical Places, the scheme, however, has been dismissed by some experts who believe it will not result in better maintenance in some cases. There have been reports that some of the historical monuments have been mistreated by private investors, such as damages caused to the walls, arches, or the lack of proper restoration. 

Upon an initiative scheme, the Fund (known by its Persian acronym Saabta) provides the opportunity for privately-owned businesses to run certain old structures to be maintained and repurposed into hotels, traditional restaurants, or lodging places.

According to cultural heritage officials, this sort of investment seems to be attractive for private investors, because accommodation in [well-preserved] monuments is attractive for both domestic and foreign tourists.

Iran hosts some of the world’s oldest cultural monuments including bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, gardens, as well as rich natural and rural landscapes, of which 26 have been registered on the UNESCO World Heritage list.