People, Travel

Meybod Vying for UNESCO Inscription

Meybod Vying for  UNESCO InscriptionMeybod Vying for  UNESCO Inscription
With 21 world heritage sites, Iran ranks first in the Middle East and 11th worldwide

The ancient city of Meybod in Yazd Province is vying for a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2020, the head of the provincial office of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization said.

“We’re preparing a dossier to be submitted to UNESCO as soon as possible,” Fatemeh Danesh-Yazdi also said at a meeting on Sunday with city officials and lawmakers from Meybod and Taft, local media reported.

The mud-brick city is one of the oldest settlements in Iran where people still live. Said to be at least 1,800 years old, Meybod boasts a number of surprisingly well-maintained historical structures, including Narin Castle, which traces its roots to the Sassanid era (224 – 651), and the city’s 400-year-old icehouse—called Narin Yakhchal—where people used to store ice behind unimaginably thick walls all year round.

Like the provincial capital Yazd, Meybod is home to tall structures known as badgirs, or wind-catchers, which functioned as natural ventilation in large buildings.

Danesh-Yazdi’s announcement completes the list of sites that Iran wants to inscribe on the World Heritage List by the end of the decade.

The World Heritage Committee will vote on whether to grant Yazd a global heritage status next month, which would make it the only Iranian city on the coveted list where people still live.

Next year, Iran hopes to inscribe the incredibly biodiverse Arasbaran Forest in East Azarbaijan Province, along with three cities in Fars Province collectively known as the Ensemble of Historical Sassanian Cities, comprising Bishapour, Firouzabad and Sarvestan.

In 2019, the Caspian Hyrcanian forests, which line the southern shores of the Caspian Sea in northern Iran, will vie for a place on the list. 

Iran banned all timber-related activities in the forests in January for 10 years to help improve the odds of inscription.

Last year, Iran inscribed its qanats and Lut Desert—the latter went on to become the country’s first natural heritage entry on World Heritage List.

With 21 world heritage sites, Iran ranks first in the Middle East and 11th worldwide.

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