State of Conservation (SOC)
Meidan Emam, Esfahan (2002)
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Total Amount Ap proved:0USD
September 1995: ICCROM mission; January 2002: World Heritage Centre mission
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Various proposed transportation infrastructures (issue resolved)
- Lack of meaningful buffer zones
Current conservation issues
Following an invitation by the Government of Iran, a World Heritage Centre staff member undertook a mission to Esfahan in mid-January 2002. The mission was informed that in line with the recommendation of the 1995 UNESCO Mission, the authorities were redefining and extending the World Heritage protected area to include key monuments and historic architectural ensembles representing the Safavid period urban planning scheme. Soon after the WHC mission, the authorities submitted a preliminary draft nomination dossier for consultation with UNESCO. The WHC mission noted with deep appreciation, the high level of conservation of the monuments composing the Historic Centre of Esfahan including the Meidan Emam World Heritage area. As the property is a complex site, the WHC mission recommended that site-interpretation and signage of the World Heritage values of the property be enhanced.
The WHC mission witnessed the illegal construction of a new commercial complex within the “Conservation Protective Zone of Esfahan Historic City”. According to the authorities, the legal status of this zone had been adopted by the Government of Iran. The construction, planned by the Municipality of Esfahan, was not authorized by the Central Government. Regretfully, the high-rise complex impacts upon the skyline of the historic city, as it has been constructed beyond the maximum height limitations for new constructions. In February 2002, the World Heritage Centre requested clarification on the status of the discussions continuing between the Municipality and the Central Government authorities to correct the situation. The Bureau, at its 26th session, expressed concern over this illegal construction and requested the Government of Iran to provide a report on the status of ongoing discussions between the Municipality and the Central Government authorities in correcting the situation, before 25 May 2002, to enable the Committee to examine the case at its 26th session in June 2002. At the time of the preparation of this working document, the report had not yet been submitted to the Centre.
The monitoring mission to be jointly undertaken by ICOMOS and an international urban planner funded under the UNESCO-France Convention was postponed after the events of 11 September 2001. Since January 2002, the organization of this mission, combined with a stakeholders’ meeting also financed under the UNESCO-France Convention, has been reactivated. The tentative dates of the mission and the meeting are in July 2002.
Analysis and Conclusion
The World Heritage Committee,
Link to the decision
1. Congratulates the high level of conservation of the public monuments composing the Historic Centre of Esfahan, including the Meidan Emam World Heritage area;
2. Expresses its appreciation to the State Party for its efforts to implement the recommendation of the 1995 UNESCO mission to extend the World Heritage protected area to include key monuments and historic architectural ensembles representing the Safavid period urban planning scheme, and encourages the authorities to submit by 1 February 2003 the final nomination for the extension;
3. Expresses concern over the new commercial complex being constructed within the "Conservation Protective Zone of Esfahan Historic City" which replaced a historic caravanserai and negatively impacts upon the skyline of the historic city;
4. Noting that the height of the new structure violates the maximum limitation of the construction within the Protective Zone, strongly recommends that the authorities redesign the commercial complex to ensure that height restrictions and regulations established by the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization are followed;
5. Requests that the joint mission scheduled in early July 2002, be undertaken by an ICOMOS expert and an international urban planner and funded under the France - UNESCO Co-operation Agreement, to examine together with the authorities concerned, ways and means of limiting the negative impact caused by this new construction;6. Requests the State Party to submit by 1 February 2003, a report on the state of conservation of the property for examination at its 27th session in June/July 2003.
The Committee may wish to examine information that will be made available at the time of its session and take the appropriate decision thereupon.
Iran (Islamic Republic of)
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Detailed List of SOC reports
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).