Decision : CONF 201 VI.22
Meidan Emam of Isfahan (Iran)
The Centre reported that the UNESCO Physical Heritage Division undertook a mission to Iran in December 1994 which included a preliminary survey on the state of conservation of the World Heritage cultural property of Meidan Emam in Isfahan. Observations focused on the following:
(i) concern over the heavy traffic in the old town, particularly on the Meidan Emam place, which along with the surrounding monuments are in the protected zone. The proposed construction of an underground passage to alleviate the traffic congestion had been shelved due to the high water table preventing its construction and the city magistrate, instead, transformed the main part of the Meidan Emam into a pedestrian zone. The UNESCO mission reported that a project to create a new traffic axe, immediately south of the Meidan Emam, by widening an existing street is currently under study. As the creation of this axe entails cutting the old town and destroying a large number of traditional houses and ancient mud-brick city ramparts, UNESCO has requested the authorities to reconsider the feasibility of this project in view of the conservation concerns.
The UNESCO mission also recommended the involvement of the Cultural Heritage Organization of the Government of Iran in another on-going feasibility study on the construction of a Isfahan Regional Metro, to ensure that cultural heritage conservation concerns, particularly regarding disturbances to archaeological features, are properly reflected.
The Bureau, having noted the concerns raised over the impact of the various transportation infrastructure proposals, suggested that the Iranian authorities consider the establishment of meaningful buffer zones to protect the World Heritage site and to report to the Committee at its nineteenth session.