People, Travel

2 Historical Sites Leased

2 Historical Sites Leased
2 Historical Sites Leased

Salar Bathhouse in Zanjan and Shah Abbasi Caravanserai in Karaj have been leased to the Touring and Automobile Club of Iran by the Revitalization and Utilization Fund for Historical Places.

The club has leased the bathhouse for five years and the caravanserai for 10, Mehr News Agency reports.

This is the first time that the Qajar-era bathhouse has come under private stewardship. While many activists have pushed state organizations to allow the private sector to restore and manage neglected historical sites, the allocation of just over $7,000 for the restoration of the bathhouse—a meager amount by any standard—has raised a few eyebrows.

The club has to restore the bathhouse within a month and pay the fund only $6,000 per annum—$500 a month.

Covering an area of 500 square meters, Salar Bathhouse is the quintessential early-20th century Iranian structure located close to the Dome of Soltaniyeh, a top tourist site in Zanjan Province.

The 17th-century Shah Abbasi Caravanserai is a Safavid-era structure located in Karaj, Alborz Province.

While initially used as a lodging facility for weary travelers, the caravanserai functioned as a military base and later as a school during the early years of the Qajar reign.

The structure covers 3,000 square meters and is conveniently located near a number of natural and historical attractions, including Karaj River, Soleymanieh Palace Museum and Uzbek Archeological Site.

The caravanserai was inscribed on the National Heritage List in 1977.

The conservation of cultural heritage requires the involvement of multiple actors from across the public, private and nongovernment sectors, both to carry out conservation work and to sustain the heritage site in the long run.

According to Mohammad Hassan Talebiyan, the cultural heritage deputy at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, more than 400 historical sites and monuments across the country are being renovated, thanks to a joint effort between the public and private sectors.

“The endeavor has a budget of $5 million,” he said.  

The government has approved $32.7 million for the restoration of historical sites in the current Iranian year (ending March 19, 2016).