Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Industrial Heritage of textile in the central Plateau of Iran

Date of Submission: 02/02/2017
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Iranian cultural heritage, handicrafts and tourism organization
State, Province or Region:
Isfahan, Yazd, Kerman
Coordinates: N32 38 19 E51 40 6
Ref.: 6196

The Tentative Lists of States Parties are published by the World Heritage Centre at its website and/or in working documents in order to ensure transparency, access to information and to facilitate harmonization of Tentative Lists at regional and thematic levels.

The sole responsibility for the content of each Tentative List lies with the State Party concerned. The publication of the Tentative Lists does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever of the World Heritage Committee or of the World Heritage Centre or of the Secretariat of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its boundaries.

Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party


The last years of the nineteenth century brought changes that its impact not only took place in Europe, but over time, in different parts of the world. The Industrial Revolution and its consequences caused the formation of a new civil societies and created significant changes in the method and process of human life of this era. The most fundamental changes is related to the process of organizing body of the cities. This process, in addition to the transformation of the urban landscape, became a new chapter in architectural styles and methods.

Development of spinning and knitting (textile) industrial heritage in Iran shows that this heritage as a newfound function was an indication of Iranian modern era that changed the landscapes of a number of cities in Iran. Accordingly, important Iranian cities became known as “industrial cities” because of the upper mention alterations. Different patterns of industrial heritage complied with its function and were also under the influence of climatic conditions of the regions. The buildings that have been built for industrial purposes have large lengthy spaces due to the emergence of new tools and machineries, increase in production and number of worker, etc. They were also obliged to observe series of standards and regulations thus introduced a new type of architecture, i.e. representing a fully functional architecture. Features of this new architecture are completely different from the traditional ones. It can be said that each of these structures were typological examples of industrial heritage regarding spinning and knitting with specific function also concerning climatic conditions e.g. in Isfahan there is more tendencies to use a combination of modern and traditional architectural patterns while in Yazd the architecture of such industrial functions have kept their traditional methods as making use of columned hall with vaults and domes accompanying traditional and local decorations. Industrial Heritage of Textile is a serial nomination which includes a set of architectural masterpieces regarding textile industry in the central plateau of Iran.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

During the appearance of methods and modern tools, development of technology and mass production, society has changed from agricultural to the industrial society and with setting up factories, the speed of economic growth and production rapidly went up which changed the way of living and created many opportunities for members of the society in terms of revenue and economy, Industrial heritage of textile in Iran had a profound influence on the development of economic and social situation of the region, furthermore the important role played by the textile industry in town planning and urban development since building factories led to other requirements such as housing and road construction, accordingly the city has changed to adapt it, new settlements and routs were built around the industrial areas, also the population density has changed in different part of the region.

In addition, an intersection was happened between modernity and traditions in architecture, urbanism and even social interactions. The idea regarding industrial architecture came from West but through Iranian artists and architects, this idea adapted according to the Iranian traditions and climate, therefore, modern ideas and technologies combined with local materials and climatic architecture and a unique style were created through this.

Criterion (i): Iranian industrial heritage in textile has created a masterpiece of human ingenuity in design, function and its components, diversity of different spaces, hierarchy of different spaces and the way they were put together, beauty and efficiency and the use of local materials.

Criterion (ii): After emergence of industrial revolution in Iran and establishment of industrial factories due to formation of new industries at the time of Pahlavi I as well as continuation of a part of Iranian important traditional industries such as construction of spinning and knitting, industrial architects and builders created a masterpiece that is a brilliant combination inspired from the original buildings in the European countries and the traditional Iranian industry. The architecture of these diverse industrial factories of spinning and knitting are of universal values.

Criterion (iii): Technology in construction according to the climate with new materials and local materials in each region or combination of both were set up. In terms of decoration this industry was affected by the Iranian artists and craftsmen. A successful combination of European and Iranian architecture through structure and organization of industrial spaces, façade and industrial local decoration, has been done with such a elegance that recognition of boundary between European and Iranian architecture is not simply possible. Designing different spaces with different functions, providing the necessary light and etc. show the existence of special technology.

Criterion (iv): The industrial heritage of the Iranian textile is a significant instance for the combination of modern industry with traditional architecture. This combination, through a creative integration, enjoys a considerable role in composition of these plans and their functional relations with the forms of the buildings. Architecture of different industry of textile from preparing raw materials to the production clearly causes prominence in architecture of Iranian textile industry in combination with traditional architecture and according to the needs of modern industry with adaptation to the urban environment which led to the manifestation of a certain type of architecture.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

The industrial heritage of textile in Iran has kept its authenticity in design, functionality and materials. In order to ensure the stability of building, a series of necessary restorations have been done in each section of the industrial complex, when needed. Through use of suitable and compatible materials, traditional workman ship and experienced labor force, it was tried to respect the original design and their architectural value.

Comparison with other similar properties

Industrial Heritage of textile in the central Plateau of Iran is comparable to the followings:

Saltaire, West Yorkshire, England, which is a well preserved industrial village of the second half of the 19th century. Its textile mills, public buildings, and workers' housing are built in a harmonious style of high architectural quality and it had a profound influence on developments in urban planning through the United Kingdom and beyond. Saltaire testifies to the pride and power of basic industries such as textiles for the economy of Great Britain and the world in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Saltaire is comparable to the Iranian Industrial Heritage in Textile as the entrance of Industrial revolution in Iran and creating Industrial sites caused a great development in the urban planning and social and economic situations in Iran, furthermore, the architectural style is very unique since it is a combination of European architectural ideas with Iranian traditional and climatic architectural needs, thus, a beautiful consolidated architectural style were created for Iranian Industrial Heritage which is considerable between different samples of textile factories and worth introducing to the world.

New Lanark, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, The creation of the model industrial settlement at New Lanark, in which planning and architecture were integrated with a humane concern, therefore, it had a profound influence on social developments throughout the 19th century and beyond. New Lanark was creative in introducing a new manner in the Industrial architecture and it is comparable with Iranian Industrial Heritage in Textile since it is a unique combination of modern and traditional architecture. Combining traditional architecture with modern industrial needs and adapting to the urban environment led to the manifestation of a certain type of architecture in Iranian Industrial Heritage in Textile.

Derwent Valley Mills, Derbyshire, England, The Derwent Valley in central England contains a series of 18th- and 19th- century cotton mills and an industrial landscape of high historical and technological interest. The Derwent Valley saw the birth of the factory system, when new types of building were erected to house the new technology for spinning cotton and it was involved in the creation of the first modern industrial settlements. Also, in Iran this industry was affected by Iranian artists and craftsmen styles. Successful combination of Western and traditional Iranian architecture through structure, organization of industrial space and even decoration is done so delicately that recognizing boundary between the European and the Iranian architecture, is not simply possible, all these features created a unique style in Industrial architecture which is adapted according to the climatic situation of the area.