Pearling, testimony of an island economy (Bahrain) and the Masjed-e Jāmé of Isfahan (Iran) were inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, Saturday morning.

The World Heritage Committee, the independent 21-member responsible for the World Heritage Convention, will continue examining sites nominated for inscriptions during its afternoon session and tomorrow.

Pearling, testimony of an island economy (Bahrain), consists of 17 buildings in Murharraq city, three offshore oyster beds, part of the seashore and the Qal’at Bu Mahir fortress on the southern tip of Muharraq Island, from where boats used to set off for the oyster beds. The buildings listed include residences of wealthy merchants, shops, storehouses and a mosque. The site is the last remaining complete example of the cultural tradition of pearling and the wealth it generated at a time when the trade dominated the Gulf economy (2nd century to the 1930s when Japan developed cultured pearls). It also constitutes an outstanding example of traditional utilization of the sea’s resources and human interaction with the environment, which shaped both the economy and cultural identity of the island’s society.

Masjed-e Jāmé of Isfahan (Iran), located in the historical centre of Isfahan, the “Friday mosque” can be seen as a stunning illustration of the evolution of mosque architecture over 12 centuries, starting in 841 A.D. It is the oldest preserved edifice of its type in Iran and a prototype for later mosque designs throughout Central Asia. The complex, covering more than 20,000m2, is also the first Islamic building that adapted the four-courtyard layout of Sassanid palaces to Islamic religious architecture. Its double-shelled ribbed domes represent an architectural innovation that inspired builders throughout the region. The site also features remarkable decorative details representative of stylistic developments over more than a thousand years of Islamic art.


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