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 https://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 https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/115/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: 5,710 Euros (France/UNESCO Cooperation Agreement)

Previous monitoring missions

July 2002: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; October 2002, World Heritage Centre/World Bank mission, June 2004 and May 2005: UNESCO Tehran Office fact-finding missions; May 2006: World Heritage Centre mission; June 2006, December 2006,April 2007, October 2008, and October 2009: UNESCO Tehran advisory missions; March 2010: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Uncoordinated urban development - construction of a large scale commercial complex;

b) Subway route through the historical axis of Esfahan.

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

On 1 February 2012, the State Party submitted a report which addressed the progress on the gradual demolition of storeys 11 and 12 of the Jahan-Nama Building as well as the Report on the “Monitoring of Isfahan metro effects along Chahar-Bagh”. The report did, however, not address the revised plans for the metro line constructions, the Environmental or Heritage Impact Assessments as requested, or the integrated urban conservation and Management Plan.

a)  Construction of metro lines

Metro Line 1

The State Party reports that, at the request of the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organisation, an investigation into the possible damages that the construction and operation of the metro could cause was carried out by the School of Engineering of the University of Science and Technology. According to these studies, there will be no short term nor long term damages to the monumental buildings from the Isfahan metro. The research proposed the introduction of a permanent and continuous system for monitoring vibrations at adjacent monumental buildings and the reduction of vibrations through surface traffic by:

i) Repair of asphalt defects in the vicinity of monumental structures;

ii) Relocation of bus and car stations to at least 100 m away from the monumental structures located on the Chahar-Bagh Boulevard;

iii) Reduction of traffic density on the Chahar-Bagh Boulevard, Si-o-se Pol Bridge and Chahar Bagh Madrasa and

iv) Prevention of heavy vehicles (truck and trailers) from driving on the Avenue or in vicinity to the Si-o-se Pol Bridge and Chahar Bagh Madrasa.

Metro Line 2

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that in 2010 the State Party had assured that the metro line 2, initially planned to be routed underneath Meidan Esfahan, would be rerouted.

They note that public media reports claim that despite requests by UNESCO and the Isfahan Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization, the drilling of tunnels for metro line 2 has commenced along its original routing.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that information on the scope and status of the project needs to be provided by the State Party as a matter of urgency to allow for a review of its potential impacts on the property. 

b)  Integrated urban conservation and Management Plan

The report submitted by the State Party does not describe efforts or progress in the development of a decision-making and approval strategy for new constructions in the historic axis of Esfahan. However, the nomination dossier and the related Management Plan for the historic axis of Esfahan is under preparation and will be submitted to the World Heritage Centre in late 2012.

c) Jahan-Nama Building

Following the commitment made in 2006, the demolition of the 11th and 12th storey of the Jahan-Nama Building has been pursued. The 12th storey is completely removed, in the 11th storey the walls have been demolished but work continues in the removal of the internal structures due to technical difficulties. Although the initially foreseen timeframe has been considerably expanded, it can nevertheless be said that a possible completion of demolition could be achieved by the end of 2012.

d) Retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value and property boundaries

As a very early nomination inscribed in 1979, the Meidan Esfahan has not been inscribed with clearly defined boundaries or a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value. The State Party has provided the World Heritage Centre with a retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value for review. As the basis of the requested management and integrated urban conservation plans, the retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value should be adopted and clearly defined property and buffer zone boundaries need to be provided. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

While the demolition of the Jahan-Nama Building has continued and seems to be completed soon, other progress seems to have been made for the extension nomination dossier and its related Management Plan. Reports in the public media suggest that the construction of metro line 2 has continued, but these reports could not be validated. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider it essential that information and documentation on this project be provided as a matter of urgency in order to clarify whether or not the metro line has been rerouted and whether work has commenced. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies recommend to the World Heritage Committee to request a joint reactive monitoring mission to the property to consider the impact of the current metro constructions on the property and its wider setting.

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 7B.62

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7B,

2.   Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.71, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3.   Takes note of the further reduction in height of the Jahan-Nama Building and reiterates its request to the State Party to confirm as soon as possible, in writing, to the World Heritage Centre, that the demolition has been completed;

4.   Requests the State Party to submit, as a matter of urgency, to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, detailed information and documentation on the proposed route of metro line 2;

5.   Also reiterates its request to the State Party to develop a Management Plan for the property, in consultation with all stakeholders, and to ensure that this Management Plan becomes part of a larger strategic vision for integrated urban development and conservation;

6.   Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to the property to consider the impact of the current metro constructions on the property and its wider setting;

7.   Further requests the State Party to submit maps precisely indicating the property boundaries and buffer zone;

8.   Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, 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 37th session in 2013.