Fate of Iran's Naqsh-e Jahan Uncertain
While the political rows in Iran is high lighting the fate of another Iranian archeological site is in darkness. As the clock is ticking for Iran to submit a report on measures it has taken to address UNESCO’s concerns regarding the Jahan Nama building which purportedly mars the skyline of the internationally recognized Naqsh-e Jahan square, the officials in charge has done little to remedy the problem.
Jahan Nama is a 48 meter high, 12-storey building whose construction started in 1997 near the Naqsh-e Jahan world heritage site 17 AC in Isfahan. Iran is supposed to hand in a report by early February regarding its handling of the case which threatens to throw Naqsh-e Jahan square off the List of World Heritage, designated by UNESCO.
Experts believe the concrete building violates the skyline of Naqsh-e Jahan square. Head of the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization (ICHO) International Affairs Director Abdorrasul Vatandust noted no action has been taken by local officials in this connection and thus ICHO has no report to submit for discussion in the next World Heritage Committee to be held in China in July.
UNESCO has warned unless urgent action is taken to reduce the height of Jahan Nama, the Naqsh-e Jahan square risks being dropped from the World Heritage List or being placed on the Heritage in Danger List.
In its last meeting, the committee agreed to postpone decision on the fate of Naqsh-e Jahan square until its next meeting, pending remedial actions.
The square, inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979, is a unique Iranian cultural heritage site visited every year by thousands of visitors. Built in the Safavid era, it includes two mosques, a palace and a bazaar.
By Anooshiravan Honari
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