19 June 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

Iran wants UNESCO recognition for 56 of its historic caravansaries

Iran wants 56 Caravanserais from various periods, from the Sassanids (224 CE-651) to the Qajar period (1789-1925), to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Caravanserais is a composite term formed by combining the words “caravan” and “Sara”; the former refers to a group of travelers, while the latter refers to the structure. Massive gateways were frequently supported by high load-bearing walls. Guest rooms were built around the courtyard and stables behind them, with doors in the yard’s corners.

During the Achaemenid dynasty, the first caravanserais were established in Iran (550 -330 BC). Centuries later, when Shah Abbas I came to power from 1588 until 1629, he ordered the development of a nationwide network of caravanserais.

Roadside inns were initially established to shelter people, their belongings, and animals along historic caravan routes during various epochs. The former Silk Roads may be the most famous example dotted by caravanserais.

KALMARD CARAVANSERAI
KALMARD CARAVANSERAI. The Kalmard Caravanserai is located in a quiet setting next to the Halvan Desert sand dunes in Tabas. Photo@parminet.com

Iran’s tourism ministry announced in 2019 that it is preparing a dossier for a selection of its ancient caravanseries to be considered for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage list. In this context, such monuments spread throughout the country were evaluated by cultural heritage experts, and a list was created according to their architectural, historical, and cultural qualities.

A senior adviser to the tourism minister recently said that Iran has recently submitted a selection of 56 caravanserais for inclusion in the UNESCO’s cultural heritage list collectively.

“After three years of following the case, a dossier for 56 caravansaries [which have been selected] from 24 provinces was submitted to UNESCO for a [possible] registration on the World Heritage list,” Mohammad-Hassan Talebian announced.

SHAH ABBASI CARAVANSARY
SHAH ABBASI CARAVANSARIES. The Shah Abbasi Caravansary is a relic of the Safavid era, boasts all the details of the Safavid architecture, such as the central courtyard of the four-porch with spacious rooms around it and King’s Hall, with all the amenities.

The [UNESCO] assessors are scheduled to arrive in Iran on Saturday for field visits, which is expected to take at least three months, he said.

As one travels around the country, one may come across crumbling caravanserais, many of which have been abandoned for a long time. In the Information Age, such guest houses have largely lost their actual usage.

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

Tehran Times

Cover Photo: Wikipedia, MOSHIR CARAVANSERAI

Related Articles

Beer remains that are 9,000 years old have been discovered in China’s unique Hu pots

3 September 2021

3 September 2021

Archaeologists in southeast China have discovered evidence of beer consumption in ceramic vessels at the burial site called Qiaotou. The...

A 4,500-year-old rope remains were discovered at Turkey’s Seyitömer mound

26 December 2021

26 December 2021

In the rescue excavation carried out in the mound, which is located within the license border of Çelikler Seyitömer Electricity...

12,000-Year-Old rock art may depict extinct giants of the ice age

13 March 2022

13 March 2022

South America was filled with ice age animals more than 12,000 years ago, including car-sized ground sloths, elephantine herbivores, and...

New discoveries have been made at a 9,000-year-old Amida mound in Turkey

1 January 2022

1 January 2022

The most recent archeological investigations at the 9,000-year-old Amida Mound in southeastern Turkey’s Diyarbakir province have uncovered fresh finds that...

Archaeologists Discovered the Largest Inscription Ever Found in Sri Lanka

10 February 2024

10 February 2024

Archaeologists discovered the largest inscription ever found in Sri Lanka. The largest inscription ever discovered in Sri Lanka was found...

8000-year-old unique “fish-figure” small home tool found in Turkey

20 October 2021

20 October 2021

During this year’s excavations in the Yeşilova and Yassıtepe mounds in İzmir, a unique “fish-figure” small home tool was found....

Roman Bath Complex Found under Spain’s Caños de Meca beach

22 May 2021

22 May 2021

A well-preserved ancient Roman bath complex emerged from the sand of a beach in the Andalusian region of southwestern Spain....

First Human Traces Buried in an Ancient Gold Mine in Eastern Sahara

2 May 2021

2 May 2021

Some of the earliest signs of human life dating back 1.8 million years have been discovered in an old gold...

Ancient Hebrew “Incantation Bowls” discovered in a home in Israel

8 March 2022

8 March 2022

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said Monday that 1,500-year-old magical “incantation bowls” and other rare and ornate bone and ivory...

Oil drilling uncovers a 2,000-year-old cemetery with giant Urn-like tombs in Southwest Iran

16 July 2022

16 July 2022

An ancient cemetery with urn-like tombs was discovered in Ahvaz, the capital city of Khuzestan province in southwestern Iran. The...

World’s Oldest Murder

14 February 2021

14 February 2021

Researchers found a mass grave in a cave in Spain, now known as Sima de los Huesos, or the Pit...

Medieval ship found off the west coast of Sweden

5 February 2022

5 February 2022

A previously undiscovered wreck has been found outside of Fjällbacka on the Swedish west coast. Analysis of wood samples shows...

Amateur divers discover ‘enormously valuable’ hoard of Roman coins

27 September 2021

27 September 2021

Two amateur free divers have found one of the largest collections of Roman coins in Europe off the east coast of Spain. Luis Lens...

Temple of Olympian Zeus Horse Frieze Found a Depth of 9 Meters off the Coast of Agrigento, Sicily

5 February 2024

5 February 2024

A large marble relief believed to have been part of the Temple of Olympian Zeus frieze in Agrigento, Sicily, has...

Archaeologists Discover 8600-year-old Bread at Çatalhöyük May be the Oldest Bread in the World

5 March 2024

5 March 2024

Archaeologists have discovered about 8,600-year-old bread at Çatalhöyük, a Neolithic settlement in central Turkey. Çatalhöyük is noteworthy because it is...