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Mt. Damavand’s UNESCO Dream Still Alive

Mt. Damavand’s UNESCO Dream Still AliveMt. Damavand’s UNESCO Dream Still Alive

Iran’s cultural heritage officials are pursuing the inscription of Mount Damavand on the UNESCO World Heritage List, according to a senior official at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.

Despite many describing efforts to inscribe Mount Damavand on the coveted list as futile—mainly due to unrestrained mining activities along its foothills—officials are still trying to make the impossible happen.

“In spite of all the difficulties we’re facing, we have not given up and are pursuing the issue,” Mohammad Hassan Talebian, deputy for cultural heritage at ICHHTO, was quoted as saying by ISNA.

Mining on the foothills of Damavand, 70 km northwest of Tehran, has tarnished the mesmerizing natural landscape of the mountain, acting as an obstacle to its recognition by UNESCO.

At 5,610 meters, Damavand is the highest peak in the Middle East and the highest volcano in Asia.

ICHHTO and the Department of Environment have long been pursuing the matter of sealing the mines to step up efforts for making Mt. Damavand internationally recognized.

Damavand is a volcanic mountain, which makes it rich in lightweight rocks that are widely used in construction for insulation and to reduce the weight of buildings. Mining operations in Damavand have cut into the mountain’s surface using heavy machinery, which has left holes as deep as 20 meters in different areas.

Officials say all mining permits were revoked in 2015 but clearly more needs to be done to inscribe the site.

The mountain was registered as a national heritage in Iran in 2008, making it a protected site where any form of construction requires permits.

Furthermore, loads of garbage from neighboring towns and villages are being dumped in certain areas of Damavand, polluting the waters and streams, and destroying the natural site with non-biodegradable waste.


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