Meidan Emam, Esfahan (Iran (Islamic Republic of)) (C 115)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1979
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/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 13,321
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/115/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Total amount granted:5,710 Euros (France/UNESCO Cooperation Agreement)
Previous monitoring missions
July 2002: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; October 2002: Joint World Heritage Centre/World Bank mission; June 2004 and May 2005: UNESCO Tehran Office fact-finding missions; May 2006: World Heritage Centre mission; June and December 2006, April 2007, October 2008, and October 2009: UNESCO Tehran Advisory missions; March 2010: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; May 2013: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Commercial development (issue resolved)
- Underground transportation infrastructure (Subway route under the historical axis of Esfahan)
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/115/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019
On 1 December 2018, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/115/documents, which provides information on its implementation of the recommendations made by the Committee at its 41st session:
- The authorities are conducting a multidisciplinary study taking into consideration a variety of risk factors, including development pressure, environmental and natural hazards, tourism pressure and population growth research. The study was initiated in 2016 and covers lighting, electric infrastructure, monitoring equipment, fire alarms, the reorganization of entrance and earthquake damage mitigation. A short-term plan was implemented based on the proposed items in the draft Management Plan;
- The authorities conducted research and analysis on the Meidan Emam (Naqsh-e Jahan Square) and its multiple entrances from sociological, historical and ritual points of view. Consultations with various stakeholders reflected on landscape management. A study was initiated to investigate redirecting tourism access routes towards Meidan Emam via the historic axis of Isfahan city. It is foreseen that the study will be adopted as component of the mid-term planning for the region of the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts & Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) once it is completed. The current pedestrian area has been improved through several measures in order to provide tourists and residents with the best visiting experience;
- The urban sewage system dates back to 1920s and underwent several operations in Emam Square (Naqsh-e Jahan) in 1970s. A reorganization of the sewage discharge of the Masjed Emam was recently implemented according to designated plans (date unknown and no specification for buffer zones provided);
- The State Party, in conformity with previous studies, expert reviews and technical investigation, adopted measures in order to minimize damage to the property, including the removal of the sewage network in the eastern edge of Imam Mosque and transferring it to the southern edge; the reorganisation of the entire sewage system of the Mosque; the renovation of the sewage installations in the edges of Hafiz Street and; the clearing of the sewage system in the vicinity of Naqsh-e Jahan Square.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
The State Party's efforts to address the recommendation of the Committee concerning the elaboration of a Conservation and Management Plan (CMP) by integrating a systematic strategy for disaster risk reduction is appreciated, although this on-going process is yet to be completed. Disaster risk mitigation measures, such as lightning, installations of alarms, emergency access upgrades as well anti-earthquake consolidation has already been implemented to increase security and safety conditions within the property. The anti-earthquake measures have included structural interventions to the built fabric of the property, including strengthening the structure of the Ali Qapu Pavilion with steel brackets. Most of these were, however, implemented without having been submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies or forming part of a larger approved CMP. It is therefore recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to submit the plans of restoration and interventions with potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property for review by the Advisory Bodies, prior to its implementation and finalization.
The research and analysis on the property’s spatial structure, on Meidan Emam (Naqsh-e Jahan Square) and its multiple entrances has delivered valuable results, and has clarified the functions of different entrances and the organic fabric of the space from historical and contemporary viewpoints. This study has led to an important reflection on the possible reorganization of motorized and pedestrian circuits around the property, which should be submitted for review before it is finalized as a midterm ICHHTO plan and implemented.
The State Party also provided some information concerning the reorganization of sewage system. It is noted that there is no specific information concerning the larger reorganization of the sewage system in the buffer zone. The further reorganization of the sewage discharge system of the property and its buffer zone should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review and any implementation be carefully monitored.
Decision Adopted: 43 COM 7B.64
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.92, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
- Requests the State Party, as a matter of high priority, to submit the completed Conservation and Management Plan of the property to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies prior to its adoption and implementation;
- Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre the detailed plans and technical documents concerning the physical interventions with potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, which are included or not included in the draft Conservation and Management Plan prior to its finalization or implementation, for review by the Advisory Bodies, ensuring that it includes an assessment of the property’s vulnerability to disasters such as earthquakes or fires, and a systematic strategy for disaster risk reduction;
- Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, and before any further implementation of works is undertaken:
- Information on the development of the spatial structure for the motorized and pedestrian roadways for visitors to the property,
- Detailed information on further planned reorganization of the sewage system within the property and its buffer zone;
- Requests furthermore the State Party to submit:
- Details of any planned anti-earthquake consolidation projects to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, before their implementation,
- Architectural and photographic details of the anti-earthquake consolidation that is implemented to the Ali Qapu Pavilion and other built structures in the property;
- Reminds the State Party of the requirement to submit to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, detailed information, including Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs), for any large tourism and/or development projects, which have a potential to impact the OUV of the property, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines before works commence or any irreversible decision is made;
- Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2020, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session in 2021.