1.         Meidan Emam, Esfahan (Iran (Islamic Republic of)) (C 115)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1979

Criteria  (i)(v)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/115/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1986-2001)
Total amount approved: USD 13,321
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/115/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: 5,710 Euros (France – UNESCO Convention).

Previous monitoring missions

World Heritage Centre mission in 1998; UNESCO-France Convention Expert mission in 2001; World Heritage Centre mission in October 2002; UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office mission in June 2004, May 2005; World Heritage Centre Director mission in May 2006; UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office missions in June and December 2006, as well as April 2007.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Uncordinated urban development, in particular, construction of a large scale commercial complex with a 14 story tower in the vicinity of the World Heritage property.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/115/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007

In response to the decision taken by the World Heritage Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006) and a letter from the Director of the World Heritage Centre dated 10 January 2007, the Iranian authorities reported on the status of the Jahan Nama Complex and the progress made in possible extension of the World Heritage property, as well as on the status of a subway project within Esfahan. Following the recent mission in April 2007 of the UNESCO Tehran Office, the progress made in the demolition of the top floors of the tower of the Jahan-Nama Commercial Complex in Esfahan and the status of the above mentioned issues are as follows:

a) Since the May 2006 mission undertaken by the Director of the World Heritage Centre, the 13th and 14th floors of the tower of the Jahan Nama Commercial Complex have been almost completely demolished. There is a written agreement between the national, provincial and local government authorities to also demolish the 11th and 12th floors, once the national government provides the funding for this demolition work to the local government. While there have been delays in the demolition process, there is a firm commitment on the part of the various governmental authorities to continue the demolition down to the 11th floor. After the 11th floor is demolished, the authorities will reassess the building and its impact on the visual integrity of the World Heritage property, and determine any further actions. The UNESCO Tehran Office mission of April 2007 witnessed the full co-ordination and collaboration between the various authorities. While some delays in the height reduction have recurred, the UNESCO mission was convinced that there is now a mutual determination to ensure that the integrity and authenticity of Meidan Emam World Heritage property are conserved.

b) The possible future extension of Meidan Emam to include the historic and cultural axis of the old city has been examined by an Iranian expert committee and consultants, and the preparation of the extension as a cultural landscape has also been considered pursuant to the UNESCO/ICHHTO/World Heritage Centre International Expert Workshop for Enhanced Management and Planning of World Heritage Cultural Landscapes. There is a concerted effort to strengthen the site’s heritage conservation, to restore its endangered historic fabric, and to upgrade the urban landscape, supported by significant governmental funding. The draft extension nomination document was submitted to the World Heritage Centre on 1 February 2007 for technical comments.

c) There was a concern expressed by the national and international community related to a subway project designed to pass under the historic avenue of Chahar Bagh. After undertaking cultural, social and environmental impact assessments, as well as further geotechnical, engineering, and architectural studies, the authorities have decided to avoid the Chahar Bagh avenue route, which would have passed through the proposed World Heritage site extension. After examining three alternatives, it was decided that the Bagh-e-Goldaste avenue route had the least negative impact and the most positive contribution to the community and its assets. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

N/A

Decision Adopted: 31 COM 7B.71

The World Heritage Committee,

1.       Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7B.Add,

2.       Recalling Decision 30 COM 7B.57, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),

3.       Notes the steps taken by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to implement the recommendations of the Committee related to the reduction of the height of the Jahan Nama Commercial Complex tower;

4.       Requests the authorities of Iran to continue with the planned modifications to the Jahan Nama Commercial Complex to ensure minimum negative impacts upon the Outstanding Universal Value of, and important views associated with the property;

5.       Notes with satisfaction the decision taken by the authorities to divert the subway route in Esfahan to safeguard the historic structures located near the Chahar Bagh avenue;

6.       Urges the Iranian authorities to elaborate mechanisms for undertaking systematic cultural, social and environmental impact assessments prior to designing large scale development projects close to World Heritage and Tentative List properties in Iran;

7.       Also notes the progress made in drafting the nomination dossier for the extension of the Meidan Emam World Heritage property to include the historical and cultural axis of Esfahan;

8.       Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2008, a detailed report on the progress made in reducing the height of the Jahan Nama Commercial Complex tower and in minimizing the negative impact upon the visual integrity of the property for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008.