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Decision 44 COM 8B.36
Cultural Landscape of Hawraman/Uramanat (Islamic Republic of Iran)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/21/44.COM/8B and WHC/21/44.COM/INF.8B1,
  2. Inscribes Cultural Landscape of Hawraman/Uramanat, Islamic Republic of Iran, on the World Heritage List as a cultural landscape on the basis of criteria (iii) and (v);
  3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

    Brief synthesis

    The Cultural Landscape of Hawraman/Uramanat is located at the heart of the Zagros Mountains in the provinces of Kurdistan and Kermanshah along the western border of Iran. It is comprised of two component parts: the Central-Eastern Valley (Zhaverud and Takht, in Kurdistan Province); and the Western Valley (Lahun, in Kermanshah Province). The mode of human habitation in these areas has been adapted over millennia to the rough mountainous environment.

    Archaeological findings dating back about 40,000 years, caves and rock shelters, ancient paths and ways along the valleys, motifs and inscriptions, cemeteries, mounds, castles, settlements, and other historical evidence attest to the continuity of life in the Hawraman/Uramanat region from the Paleolithic to the present time and to the endurance of the semi-nomadic lifestyle and agropastoral practices of the area’s inhabitants.

    The Cultural Landscape of Hawraman/Uramanat is an exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition of the semi-nomadic agropastoral way of life of the Hawrami people, a Kurdish tribe that has resided in the Zagros Mountains for millennia. This outstanding cultural tradition is manifested in the ancestral practices of transhumance, the mode of seasonal living in Havars, steep-slope terraced agriculture, soil and water management, traditional knowledge for planning and constructing steeply terraced villages, and a rich diversity of intangible heritage, all reflecting a harmonious co-existence with nature.

    Criterion (iii): The Cultural Landscape of Hawraman/ Uramanat bears exceptional testimony to the evolution over millennia of the traditional semi-nomadic agropastoral way of life of the Hawrami people. This cultural tradition is expressed in tangible and intangible elements of the landscape that have persisted up to the present day and continue to be the foundation of the local socio-economic system, including steep-slope terraced villages and gardens, transhumance routes, seasonal dwellings, and the traditional knowledge and practices associated with them. The property provides outstanding living testimony to various traditions that bear witness to a well-organized social, rural, semi-nomadic realm.

    Criterion (v): The Cultural Landscape of Hawraman/Uramanat constitutes an outstanding example of human interaction with, and adaptation to, the surrounding environment. In the high Zagros Mountains, a challenging setting where there is little fertile soil, the Hawrami people, through a skillful application of agricultural technology and an enlightened ecological world view, have developed an extraordinary semi-nomadic agropastoral way of life. They have successfully created an efficient, harmonious, and sustainable socio-economic system.


    The serial property includes all the attributes required to convey its Outstanding Universal Value. Its component parts exemplify the complexity of the cultural, residential, architectural, environmental, and agropastoral aspects that are evidence of the property’s centuries-old traditions. The morphology and architectural fabric of the thirteen villages – which are among the essential attributes of the property – are mostly intact. The historical environment and the natural landscape remain relatively well-preserved, in large part because of the existence of a rural population engaged in farming and animal husbandry activities that have optimal interaction with the challenging environment.

    Modern infrastructure, amenities, and building materials in some cases have a negative effect on the historic character of the villages. However, their overall visual and functional impacts are not excessive. The deterioration process is controlled, and in some instances has been reversed. The overall intent is to preserve to the greatest extent possible the dynamic historic functions and vitality of the villages and the cultural landscape.


    The Cultural Landscape of Hawraman/Uramanat retains a high degree of authenticity in terms of materials, forms and designs, uses and functions, locations and setting, and spirit and feeling, as well as traditions, customs, and lifestyle. A significant body of resources provides documentary and visual evidence of the importance of Hawraman/Uramanat – and of its culture and traditions more generally – in this region from ancient times.

    The authenticity of the morphology and layout of the built fabric in the thirteen villages of the property is preserved. The characteristic organization of the villages and the public space features, such as public rooftops, continue to be dominant.

    Most historic buildings have kept their traditional form and design, and these types of forms and designs are usually followed in the infrequent occasions when new houses are constructed. Most buildings retain authentic materials, including in traditional interiors, although in some cases repairs or extensions have been made using modern materials such as concrete blocks, metal doors and windows, and aluminum sheets for roofing.

    Traditional dry-stone terracing and water management practices are retained and practiced, as well as seasonal migration to Havars, livestock breeding, and traditional agriculture. The local economy continues to produce an important supply of fresh agricultural produce for Iranian markets. This factor, coupled with sensitive and sustainable tourism management, will play a key role in the long-term conservation of the property.

    Protection and management requirements

    The Cultural Landscape of Hawraman/Uramanat is registered in the National Monuments List of Iran. Several national acts and bylaws, as well as strategies, support the long-term conservation of the property.

    The Cultural Landscape of Hawraman/Uramanat (CLH/U) Base, under the Ministry of Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts of Iran, is tasked with providing support, expertise, and funding for the research and conservation of the property. The Base manages the area in collaboration with the local communities, provides advice and consent on the major developments, regulates and controls permits for buildings and alterations, and provides financial support for conservation. Decision-making is facilitated by a cross-sectoral steering committee composed of local, regional, and national participants and a technical committee established within the CLH/U Base. All local management actions and programmes in the villages are carried out through village councils and village council heads (Dehyar). The Integrated Management and Conservation Plan of the CLH/U Base is a primary tool for the management and conservation of the property.

  4. Recommends that the State Party give consideration to the following:
    1. Strengthening the comprehensive study, inter alia, of the spatial characteristics and interrelationships of all the features within the serial property and its buffer zone, including archaeological sites and mounds which are currently outside the buffer zone, in order to assist in the management of the property and broaden its understanding,
    2. Preventing tourism or other modern economic activities from overtaking the local traditional economy and disrupting the ancient agropastoral social system,
    3. Developing a strategy for the management of change in the property, based on the analysis of all possible natural or human-made risks and pressures in this specific geo-spatial context, and identifying relevant indicators for the long-term monitoring of local development processes. A specific focus should be placed on the risks associated with climate change and its consequences with regard to the water regime, the vegetation of the area, and the grazing system,
    4. Ensuring strict control over the installation of modern infrastructure and equipment in order to prevent any negative visual impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, and ensuring that any such interventions respect the local character of the place,
    5. Avoiding any intervention, including mining and the extraction of minerals, which could potentially have a direct or indirect impact on the Outstanding Universal Value, authenticity and integrity of the property, and putting in place appropriate legal provisions to ensure the prevention of such interventions over the long term,
    6. Conducting a Heritage Impact Assessment or Environmental Impact Assessment for any planned development project that may have an impact on the Outstanding Universal Value, authenticity or integrity of the property, in line with paragraph 118bis of the Operational Guidelines;
  5. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2023, a report on the implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations.
Decision Code
44 COM 8B.36
Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
States Parties 1
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision