UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN IRAN
Persia and in particular Iran is steeped in history and tradition, so much so that UNESCO have listed no less than ten sites in Iran that they have labeled as World Heritage sites. For a westerner it is a little difficult in these present times to be allowed into the country, but that still does not distract from the fact that these superb architectural sites exist and have great cultural value not just to Iran but the world. These sites recognized by UNESCO include places of worship, palaces, bazaars and ancient irrigation systems, and here are just some of them.
Meidan Emam is situated in Isfashan which is locally known as nesfe jahan which means half of the world. This is because this site is huge, and you could easily spend a few days walking around this cultural wonder and not even scratch the surface of what it has to offer. From an architectural point of view, it is impressive and some of the buildings have a breathtaking quality to them. The grand square was originally built in the 17th Century by Shah Abbas and is notable for the two major monuments that are situated opposite each other. The buildings are actually connected by means of arcades. Well worth visiting is the Ali Qapu Palace if you are short on time and want to see the cream of the crop.
Located in Tehran close to the Grand Bazaar is the next historic site that was recognized by UNSECO. It is a building that no expense has been spared on its construction and the lavish furnishings. The palace once was the seat of government for the Qajar Dynasty, and the architecture displays a fusion of Western and Persian influences. Golstan Palace is rich with many open green spaces, ornate pools and mosaic facades, and it does not stop there. The internal rooms comprise of grand reception halls, lit by glitzy chandeliers to a plethora of stained glass everywhere.
Venturing out into the desert you can find the incredible ancient city of Bam and all its unique surroundings. Visiting Bam is almost like going to a full-sized sandcastle and there is nowhere in the world quite like this place. The towers and turrets of the fortress are still in mint condition and the main monument the Arg-e Bam dates back almost two thousand years to when the Parthian Empire ruled this part of the world. Bam is remarkable on so many levels, how it was constructed, how intact the main buildings are after so many years, and its location. Bam was built entirely out of mud bricks that were dried in the sun, and experts have dated the original buildings to be around the 4th Century B.C. A devastating earthquake flattened many of the original buildings so what we see today has been painstakingly repaired by experts in 2003. All these great UNESCO sites are fine examples of the great culture and design of Persia through the ages and if you can, are well worth visiting.