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

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

September 1995: ICCROM mission;  January 2002: World Heritage Centre mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

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

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 2002

Previous deliberations:
24th session of the Bureau (Chapter IV.66)

Main issues:

New information:

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. Additional information will be presented to the Bureau at the time of its session.

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 dates of the mission and the meeting will be reported to the Bureau at the time of its session.

Action Required

The Bureau may wish to examine information that will be made available at the time of its session and take the appropriate decision thereupon.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2002

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 Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

N/A

Decision Adopted: 26 COM 21B.53

The World Heritage Committee,

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.

Decision Adopted: 26 BUR XII.88-90

XII.88    The Bureau examined the report on the state of conservation of this World Heritage property presented in document WHC-02/CONF.201/11Rev and the findings of the World Heritage Centre mission undertaken in January 2002 at the invitation of the Government of Iran.  The Bureau noted with appreciation, the high level of conservation of the public monuments composing the Historic Centre of Esfahan, including the Meidan Emam World Heritage area. 

XII.89    The Bureau, however, expressed concern over the illegally constructed new commercial complex within the “Conservation Protective Zone of Esfahan Historic City”, which replaced a historic caravanserai and negatively impacts upon the skyline of the historic city, as it has been constructed beyond the maximum height limitations for new constructions.  Taking note that the Joint Mission to be carried out by an ICOMOS expert and an international urban planner funded under the UNESCO-France Convention was being organized in July 2002, the Bureau requested this Joint Mission to discuss ways and means of minimizing the negative impact of this illegal construction with the concerned authorities during the stakeholders’ meeting, also being financed under the UNESCO-France Convention.

XII.90    In the meantime, the Bureau 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.