People, Travel

UN Experts to Assess Arasbaran, Fars Cities

Arasbaran could become Iran's second natural site on the World Heritage List.Arasbaran could become Iran's second natural site on the World Heritage List.

UNESCO’s experts will travel to Iran in the summer to assess Arasbaran Forest and three cities in Fars Province listed collectively as “The Ensemble of Historical Sassanian Cities” on the organization’s tentative list of world heritage sites, a senior official at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization said.

Commending the Department of Environment and Islamic Revolution Housing Foundation for their assistance in preparing the dossiers for the sites, Mohammad Reza Talebian, cultural heritage deputy at ICHHTO, added that the assessors will arrive in Iran in the Iranian months of Tir and Mordad (starting June 22 and July 23 respectively), Mehr News Agency reported.

Listed since 2007, both sites will be dropped off the tentative list this year, as UNESCO’s regulations require countries to nominate entries on the list within 10 years. Iran hopes to inscribe both sites next year.

Arasbaran’s dossier, which was submitted in January, was approved by the organization in late April, paving the way for Iran to implement measures to ensure the forest meets the UN agency’s criteria for inscription. If inscribed, it will become Iran’s second natural site on the World Heritage List after Lut Desert, which gained world heritage status last year.

Arasbaran in East Azerbaijan province contains 1/19th of Europe’s plant diversity and one-fourth of France’s. Despite covering only 5% of the country’s total area, the forest boasts 13% of Iran’s vegetation and is home to 29% of mammals, 44% of birds, 32% of amphibians, 9% of fish and 20% of reptile populations in the country. Another feature that enhances the cultural and historical value of the forest is the presence of Shahsavand nomads who have inhabited the region for centuries.

The Ensemble of Historical Sassanian Cities comprises Bishapour, Firouzabad and Sarvestan in Fars Province.

According to the dossier, the ensemble embodies the political, historical, cultural and artistic developments of the Sassanian period. It includes the ruins of the city of Go

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