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Iran UNESCO world heritage sites

Iran with almost 2500 years of history is one of the richest countries when it comes to the Historical, Architectural, and natural sites. In 1975 Iran accepted the UNESCO World Heritage Convention and now it has 24 sites registered in UNESCO world heritage sites List.

Here are all of them in order of their registration year in the UNESCO world heritage sites List. Let’s check them out briefly.

1-Naqsh-e Jahan Square

Naqsh-e Jahan square as the first site registered in UNESCO world heritage site list consists of four plots: Shah Mosque in the southern part, Ali Qapu Palace in the western part, Sheikh lotfollah mosque in the eastern part, and Isfahan Grand Bazaar northern part and each has their own value and beauty.

Built by Safavid king Shah Abbas I the Great only 360 years ago, it is one of the most attractive sites of Iran. 

2-Persepolis

The ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire was built in 515 BCE and is a very good example of the architecture of that time. Persepolis was added to the UNESCO world heritage site list in 1979 and is located in Shiraz.

3-Chogha Zanbil 

 Chogha Zanbil ziggurat with its pyramid-like shape was a temple built by Untash-Napirisha to worship the ancient god Inshushinak and was added to the UNESCO world heritage list by 1979.located in Khuzestan Province Chogha Zanbil is one of the Elamite sanctuaries built around 1250 BC; Chogha Zanbil was the last of the Diovan period and is, in fact, one of the best historical sights of Iran.

4-Takht-e Soleyman

Takht-e Soleymān is a large historical area located in the West Azerbaijan province which goes back to 300 thousand years ago. These monuments are built around a natural lake, all of which are related to the Parthians, Sassanids, and Ilkhans. The most historically important places in Takht-e Soleymān are the fire temples and Sassanid forums

5-Arg-e Bam

A large fortress made only with adobe and in fact, is the largest building made with it in history.it is placed in Bam, a city in Kerman province and was added to the UNESCO world heritage list in 2004. Its construction goes back to the fourth century BC.

6-Pasargadae

Pasargadae was the first royal capital of the Achaemenid Empire, created by Cyrus the Great, in the sixth century BC. Located in province Shiraz, it is one of the most important historical tourist attractions of Iran. Pasargadae was added to the UNESCO world heritage list in 2004 and is a symbol of Iranians rich culture.

7-Soltaniyeh Dome

This dome is the tomb of Mohammad Khodabandeh Al-Jayto.it was built in the city of Soltanieh, which was the old capital of the Ilkhanites. This dome is one of the best and most important works of Iranian Islamic architecture and is famous for its architecture and decorations in the world.it is now located in Zanjan province and was added to the UNESCO world heritage list in 2005.

8-Behistun Inscription

The world's largest script is the Bisotun script; it is actually the most well-known Iranian version of the Achaemenid dynasty. This stone is located in Kermanshah, on the slopes of Mount Bisotun. The Bisotun script was the most important historical text during the Achaemenid times since it depicted the description of the victory of Darius the Great on Gaumata magus. Gaumata magus was a liar who looked exactly like the son of the Cyres the great and so he tricked the people and called himself the king but Darius with wisdom found out the truth and defeated him.

9-Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran

Added to the Iran UNESCO world heritage site list under the cultural criteria in 2008, Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran is located in the West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan provinces. This site consists of Saint Stepanos Monastery, Saint Thaddeus Monastery, and Chapel of Dzordzor.

10-Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System

Added to the Iran UNESCO world heritage site list in 2009. Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System belongs to the Sassanid era. In fact, these structures were used during the Sassanian period to use the force of water to move industrial mills. In this complex, you can see the construction of mills, waterfalls, canals and huge tunnels leading water.

 

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11-Sheikh Safi al-Din Khanegah and Shrine Ensemble

Located in Ardabil is the tomb of the Sheikh Safi al-Din, the founder of the Safavid dynasty. A Great Man who started a Great era. This magical site was added to the UNESCO world heritage list in 2010.

12-Bazaar of Tabriz

Located in the center of Tabriz, it is the biggest covered bazaar in the world and was added to the UNESCO world heritage list in 2010. If you are a fan of handicrafts or delicious edible souvenirs in Tabriz grand bazaar you can find carpet, kilim, khatam, Ghorabie, Riss, Noqa, Rahat-ol-Holqom, Sesame sweet, Tasbihi sweet, Dried fruit such as peach, apricot, plum made in east part of Azerbaijan, Basliq, Sojouk, Dushab, and Walnut Halva.

13-Persian gardens

There are actually 6 Gardens under the name of Persian gardens in the Iran UNESCO world heritage site list and each has its own special architecture. Aging back to the 6th century BC, the Persian gardens have influenced the historical sight of India and Spain, for example, the Taj Mahal in Delhi has some similarities with the Persian gardens.  

14-Gonbad-e Qabus

Gonbad-e Qabus is the only remaining of the ancient city of Jorjan. This city was ruined at the strike of the Mongols and destroyed completely. Built from unglazed fire bricks, this tomb has a geometrical shape indicating the high knowledge of Muslims in mathematics and architecture in the first millennium (Islamic golden age). 

15-Jameh Mosque of Isfahan

The Jameh Mosque of Isfahan is located in Isfahan province and was constructed by the order of the Seljuk kings. It is believed to have been a place of worship for Zoroastrians before becoming a Muslim mosque. Rumors in Isfahan indicate that one of the pillars of this mosque was built by the caliph of Damascus himself. The Jameh Mosque of Isfahan was added to the Iran UNESCO world heritage site list in 2012.

16-Golestan Palace

This masterpiece of Iranian architecture dates back to the Qajar era. Golestan Palace is the finest combination of Iranian and western architecture and is, in fact, one of the most beautiful sights of our capital, Tehran. Golestan palace was added to the Iran UNESCO world heritage site list in 2013.

17-Shahr-e Sukhteh

Located in Sistan and Baluchistan province, the southern part of Iran, Shahr-e Sukhteh or in English “the burnt city”, was built around 3200 BC and due to the warm and dry climate though being burnt, gives us a lot of information about the first millennium. This astonishing city was added to the Iran UNESCO world heritage site in 2014.

18- Meymand

Located in Shahre Babak country, Kerman province, is the Meymand village. Being at the foothills of a mountain, this village is famous for its people’s semi-nomadic lifestyle. They grow their animals at the foothills of the mountain and have an interesting way of life that you should see for yourself.

19- Susa

If you ever get a chance to visit Susa at the foothills of the Zagros Mountain, you will see nothing but very huge mounds. But do not let it trick you, Susa was once a very great city, probably the most important one in the whole ancient Persian Empire that influenced Proto-Elamite, Elamite, First Persian Empire, Seljuk, Parthian, and Sassanid empires of Iran. There many myths and stories about how this city was ruined but the most evidenced one is that in 1218, the city was razed by invading Mongols and was never able to regain its previous importance. The city further degraded in the 15th century when the majority of its population moved to Dezful city.

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Top 7 Iran UNESCO world heritage Sites

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  • Chogha Zanbil
  • Persepolis
  • Naqsh-e Jahan Square
  • Takht-e Soleymān
  • Pasargadae
  • Arg e Bam
  • Soltaniyeh Dome
  • ...
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20-Lut Desert

If you ask me after Persian carpets, Iran is mostly famous for its one of a kind and astonishing deserts. Amongst Iran deserts, the Lut desert is the most famous one of them. Iranian scientists believe if loot desert equips with solar panels it can produce the power of the whole world. In the deserts such as Lut, you can feel the dust and sand under your feet and at nights enjoy the view of the shiniest stars and the clearest sky. Other than the view and atmosphere you can experience camel riding, safari, perfect photo shoots, or simply camping around the fire and enjoying the surroundings with your friends. The one note you should pay attention to is the hot weather of deserts and it is best to travel to these sights in fall or winter.

21-Persian Qanat

As we all know many parts of Iran are dry and hot, therefore to support the agricultural industry the ancient Persian scientists built these Qanats or in English “channels”. This system works by tapping alluvial aquifers at the heads of valleys and conducting the water along underground tunnels by gravity, often over many kilometers. This system has many other remarkable usages, for example, it can be used as a cooling system too.

Making a Qanat (channel) needs precise measurements and is a very difficult job to do, for example, the tilt of each Qanat has very importance. Too steep of an incline will end up in the water’s downward force eroding the Qanat, whilst too flat will make the water stop flowing.

22-Historic City of Yazd

Located in the Yazd province, because of its desert climate surroundings the Historic City of Yazd has a very special architecture making it one the few cities that have been added to the UNESCO world heritage sites list. Also called the “city of Wind catchers”, the historic city of Yazd is also known to be one of the few existing cities built only with adobe.

In this historical city you can visit Alexander’s prison (also known as old jail), Zoroastrian fire temple, Amir Chakhmaq complex, Dolat Abad garden, wind tower (wind catcher), tower of silence, water museum, and coin museum.

23- The Ensemble of Historical Sassanian Cities in Fars province

Added to the UNESCO world heritage site only a year ago, The Ensemble of Historical Sassanian Cities in Fars province is not only a single site, but 8 different places in three different geographical areas (Firuzabad, Bishapur, and Sarvestan) in the southern part of the Fars province. Amongst these sights exist the capital of the Fars province built by the founder of the Sassanid dynasty and another architectural city built by his successor, Shapur I.

I highly recommend you visit these sights on your Iran travel.

24-Caspian Hyrcanian mixed forests

Newest Iran UNESCO world heritage site was added under the natural criteria. Caspian Hyrcanian mixed forests cover 55000 square kilometers and are located in the southern shores of the Caspian Sea of Iran and Azerbaijan. Being on the northern sides of the Alborz mountains Caspian Hyrcanian mixed forests cover 5 different provinces. Being very vast it contains different special animal species like The Caspian tiger (now extinct), large mammals like Caucasus leopard, lynx, brown bear, wild boar, wolf, golden jackal, jungle cat, badger, and otter.

Caspian Hyrcanian mixed forests is in the middle of the immigration rout of birds from ruse and Africa, therefore many special bird species can also be found at this fascinating forest like greylag goose, white-fronted goose, Little bustard, glossy ibis, Eurasian spoonbill, night heron, red-breasted goose, peregrine falcon, Dalmatian pelican, Western cattle egret, squacco heron, greater flamingo, white-headed duck, and Caspian snowcock.

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