UNESCO adds Iran caravanserais to heritage sites list

On Sunday, the United Nations cultural agency added a large number of Iran’s caravanserais—roadside rest areas for travelers along the nation’s historic trade routes—to its list of World Heritage Sites.

The World Heritage Committee decided to register the 56 caravanserais in Riyadh during its 45th session, which represents a small portion of the buildings constructed in Iran.

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According to the UNESCO website, caravanserais offered “shelter, food, and water for caravans, pilgrims, and other travelers.”

Iran boasts more than 200 caravanserais on historic trade routes that traverse the country linking Asia and Europe, including the Silk Road.

“They are considered to be the most influential and valuable examples of the caravanserais of Iran, revealing a wide range of architectural styles, adaptation to climatic conditions, and construction materials, spread across thousands of kilometres and built over many centuries,” said UNESCO.

The caravanserais of Qasr-e Bahram close to Semnan, Deyr-e Gachin close to Qom, and Anjireh Sangi close to Yazd are a few examples.

There are currently 27 historical sites in Iran, including the capital of the Achaemenid Empire’s ancient city of Persepolis, Armenian monasteries in the northwest, and Yazd itself.

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