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International Registered Monuments

 
Perspolis

Founded by Darius I in 518 B.C., Persepolis was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire. It was built on an immense half-artificial, half-natural terrace, where the king of kings created an impressive palace complex inspired by Mesopotamian models. The magnificent ruins of Persepolis lie at the foot of Kuh-i-Rahmat (Mountain of Mercy) in the plain of Marv Dasht about 650 km south of the present capital city of Teheran. Founded by Darius I in 518 BC (although more than a century passed before it was finally completed by Artaxerxes I), Persepolis was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire. An inscription carved on the southern face of the terrace proves that Darius the Great was the founder of Persepolis.It was built on an immense half-artificial, half-natural terrace, where the King of Kings created an impressive palace complex inspired by Mesopotamian models. Before any of the buildings could be erected, considerable work had to be done: this mainly involved cutting into an irregular and rocky mountainside in order to shape and raise the large platform and to fill the gaps and depressions with rubble. The terrace of Persepolis, with its double flight of access stairs, its walls covered by sculpted friezes at various levels, contingent Assyrianesquepropylaea, the gigantic winged bulls, and the remains of large halls, is a grandiose architectural creation. The studied lightening of the roofing and the use of wooden lintels allowed the Achaemenid architects to use, in open areas, a minimum number of astonishingly slender columns. They are surmounted by typical capitals where, resting on double volutes, the forequarters of two kneeling bulls, placed back-to-back, extend their coupled necks and their twin heads, directly under the intersections of the beams of the ceiling, Persepolis was the example par excellence of the dynastic city, the symbol of the Achaemenid dynasty, which is why it was burned by the Greeks of Alexander the Great in 330. According to Plutarch, they carried away its treasures on 20,000 mules and 5,000 camels. What remains today, dominating the city, is the immense stone terrace (530 m by 330 m), half natural, half artificial, backed against the mountains. It seems that Darius planned this impressive complex of palaces not only as the seat of government but also, and primarily, as a show place and a spectacular centre for the receptions and festivals of the Achaemenid kings and their empire. Darius lived long enough to see only a small part of his plans executed. This ensemble of majestic approaches, monumental stairways, throne rooms (Apadana), reception rooms and annex buildings is classified among the worlds greatest archaeological sites, among those which have no equivalent and which bear witness of a unique quality to a most ancient civilization. During the following centuries many people travelled to and described Persepolis and the ruins of its Achaemenid palaces. The ruins were not excavated until the oriental Institute of the University of Chicago sponsored an archaeological expedition to Persepolis and its environs under the supervision of Ernst Herzfeld from 1931 to 1934, and Erich F. Schmidt from 1934 to 1939.

On a terrace, as if on a pedestal, the Achaemid kings, Darius (522-486 BC), his son Xerxes (486-65 BC) and his grandson Artaxerxes (465-24 BC) built a splendid palatial complex: propylaea, formal halls and private apartments opening in to courts linked by staggered corridors, based on Mesopotamian forerunners. The Persepolis visible today is mostly the work of Xerxes; the northern part of the terrace, consisting mainly of the Audience Hall of the Apadana, the Throne Hall and the Gate of Xerxes, represented the official section of the Persepolis complex, accessible to a restricted public. The other part held the palaces of Darius and Xerxes, the Harem, the Council Hall and such.
As in Mesopotamia, the principal building material was sun-dried brick; yet the ashlar, mainly used for supporting elements (jambs and lintels of doorways, casings, window-breasts, bases and capitals, etc.), for monumental doorways and for vast sculpted surfaces, has happily survived the vicissitudes of time.
Tchogha Zanbil

The ruins of the city of the Kingdom of Elam, surrounded by three huge concentric walls, are found at Tchogha Zanbil. Founded c. 1250 B.C., the city remained unfinished after it was invaded by Ashurbanipal. The current name of Tchogha-Zanbil corresponds with the ancient city of Dur Untash, dominating the course of the Ab-e Diz, a tributary of the Karun. The city was founded as a religious capital during the Elamite period by Untash-Napirisha (1275-1240 BC) in a site half-way between Anshân and Suse. Roman Ghirshman carried out the complete exploration of the site from 1951 to 1962. The site contains the best preserved and the largest of all the ziggurats of Mesopotamia. The first enclosure contains the temenos. In origin, the temple located at the centre was a square building, dedicated to the Sumerian god Inshushinak. This temple was then converted into a ziggurat of which it constitutes the first storey. The solid masses of the four other storeys are in the other XX starting from the ground of the court (and not one on top of the other as in Mesopotamia) so as to cover all the surface of the old central court
Access was by means of a vaulted staircase, invisible from outside, unlike the squatter Mesopotamian ziggurats, which were equipped with three external staircases, Today the ziggurat is no more than 25 m high, the last two stages, which originally rose to a height of 60 m, having been destroyed. The ziggurat is sacred not only to Inshushinak but also to Napirisha, the god of Anshân. On the north-western side of the ziggurat a group of temples were dedicated to the minor divinities, Ishnikarab and Kiririsha. An oval wall surrounded the temples and the ziggurat. The second enclosure, trapezoidal in form, delimits a vast, almost empty zone. In the third enclosure, only three palaces were built and a temple, near the Royal Gate, with a large interior court. This third enclosure was to protect the town of Dur Untash, the houses of which were never built. The Untash-Gal Palace (13th century BC) was discovered, separated from the temenos.

In spite of the destruction attributed to the Assyrians, a whole series of heads, statuettes, animals and amulets were found, and the remains of two panels in ivory mosaic. Several vaulted tombs were discovered in the basement of the royal residence, with evidence of cremation. Nearby was a temple dedicated to Nusku, the god of fire. To supply the population of the city with water, Untash-Napirisha made a channel of about 50 km long, leading to a reservoir outside the northern rampart; from there, nine conduits carried the filtered water to a basin arranged inside the rampart. Dur Untash was given up by the Elamite kings in the 12th century BC in favour of Susa. They transported all the treasures of Tchogha Zanbil to Susa where they were used to decorate the recently restored temples. In 640 BC, Dur Untash was entirely destroyed by the Assyrian king Assurbanipal, a few years after his conquest of Susa.
Meidan Emam

Built by Shah Abbas I the Great at the beginning of the 17th century, and bordered on all sides by monumental buildings linked by a series of two-storeyed arcades, the site is known for the Royal Mosque, the Mosque of Sheykh Lotfollah, the magnificent Portico of Qaysariyyeh and the 15th-century Timurid palace. The Royal Square of Esfahan is a monument of Persian socio-cultural life during the Safawid period (until 1722). It is an urban phenomenon which is an exception in Iran where the cities are ordinarily tightly parcelled without spatial fluidity, the exception being the interior courts of the caravanserais. It is an example of the form of naturally vulnerable urban architecture. The Shah of the Iranian dynasty of the Safawids, Abbas, who reigned from 1587 to 1628, chose as his capital Esfahan, which he magnificently embellished and remodelled. The centre of the city was accented by a vast Royal Square which was so beautiful and so large that it was called The Image of the World. It is bordered on each side by four monumental buildings linked by a series of two-storey arcades: to the north, the Portia of Qeyssariyeh (1602-19), to the south, the Royal Mosque (1612-30), to the east, the Mosque of Sheyx Loffollah (1602-18) and to the west, the pavilion of Ali Qapu, a small Timurid palace (15th century), enlarged and decorated by the shah and his successors.Of particular interest is the Royal Mosque, which is grafted on to the south side of the square by means of deep and immense sectioned porch. It is crowned by a half dome, whose interior walls are dressed with enamelled faïence mosaics, bound by two minarets, and prolonged to the south by an iwan (three-sided, vaulted hall open at one end), leading to an interior courtyard that describes a right angle. Thus, it is that, although it is in part on a north/south axis, the mosque is, in keeping with tradition, nonetheless, oriented north-east/south-east.
The pavilion of AliQapu forms the monumental entrance to the palace zone and to the royal gardens which extend behind it. Its apartments, which are completely decorated with paintings and have wide exterior openings, are renowned. On the square is a high portal (48 m), flanked by several storeys of rooms and crowned by a covered terrace (talar), whose refined roofing is carried by thin wooden columns.


All of these architectural elements of the Meidan-eImam including the arcades, are adorned with a profusion of enamelled ceramic tiles with paintings, where the floral ornamental is dominant, flowering trees, ases, without a prejudice for the figured compositions in the style of Riza-i Abbasi, renowned both inside and outside of Persia, who was head of the school of painting at Esfahan during the reign of Shah Abbas. The Royal Mosque remains the most celebrated example of the colourful architecture which, in Iran, reached its height under the Safaw dynasty. The Meidan-e Imam was the heart of the Safawid capital. Its vast sandy esplanade was used for promenades, assembling troops, playing polo, celebrations and for public executions. Above the portal of the large bazaar of Qeyssariyeh is a tribune that accommodates musicians giving public concerts. The talar of Ali Qapu communicates, from behind, with the throne room where the king occasionally received ambassadors.


Takht-e Soleyman

The archaeological site of Takht-e Soleyman, in north-western Iran, is situated in a valley set in a volcanic mountain region. The site includes the principal Zoroastrian sanctuary partly rebuilt in the Ilkhanid (Mongol) period (13th century) as well as a temple of the Sasanian. Takht-e Soleyman is an outstanding ensemble of royal architecture, joining the principal architectural elements created by the Sasanians in a harmonious composition inspired by their natural context. The composition and the architectural elements created by the Sasanians at Takht-e Soleyman have had strong influence not only in the development of religious architecture in the Islamic period, but also in other cultures. The ensemble of Takht-e Soleyman is an exceptional testimony of the continuation of cult related to fire and water over a period of some two and half millennia. The archaeological heritage of the site is further enriched by the Sasanian town, which is still to be excavated. Takht-e Soleyman represents an outstanding example of Zoroastrian sanctuary, integrated with Sasanian palatial architecture within a composition, which can be seen as a prototype. As the principal Zoroastrian sanctuary, Takht-e Soleyman is the foremost site associated with one of the early monotheistic religions of the world. The site has many important symbolic relationships, being also a testimony of the association of the ancient beliefs, much earlier than the Zoroastrianism, as well as in its association with significant biblical figures and legends.
Takht-e Soleyman is an outstanding ensemble of royal architecture, joining the principal architectural elements created by the Sassanians in a harmonious composition inspired by their natural context. The composition and the architectural elements created by the Sassanians there have exerted a strong influence not only in the development of religious architecture in the Islamic period, but also in other cultures. The ensemble represents an outstanding example of a Zoroastrian sanctuary, integrated with Sassanian palatial architecture within a composition, which can be seen as a prototype.It is an exceptional testimony of the continuation of a cult related to fire and water over a period of some two-and-a-half millennia. The archaeological heritage of the site is further enriched by the Sassanian town, which is still to be excavated.


Takht-e Soleyman is situated in Azerbaijan province, within a mountainous region, some 750 km from Teheran. It is formed from plain, surrounded by a mountain range and it contains a volcano and an artesian lake as essential elements of the site.The site consists of an oval platform about 350 m by 550 m rising 60 m above the surrounding valley. It has a small calcareous artesian well that has formed a lake some 120 m deep. From here, small streams bring water to surrounding lands. The Sassanians occupied the site starting in the 5th century, building there the royal sanctuary on the platform. The sanctuary was enclosed by a stone wall 13m high, with 38 towers and two entrances (north and south). This wall apparently had mainly symbolic significance as no gate has been discovered. The main buildings are on the north side of the lake, forming an almost square compound (sides c. 180 m) with the Zoroastrian Fire Temple (Azargoshnasb) in the centre. This temple, built from fired bricks, is square in plan. To the east of the Temple there is another square hall reserved for the everlasting fire. Further to the east there is the Anahita temple, also square in plan. The royal residences are situated to the west of the temples.
The lake is an integral part of the composition and was surrounded by a rectangular fence. In the north-west corner of this once fenced area, there is the so-called Western iwan, Khosrow gallery, built as a massive brick vault, characteristic of Sassanian architecture. The surfaces were rendered in lime plaster with decorative features in muqarnas (stalactite ceiling decoration) and stucco. The site was destroyed at the end of the Sassanian period, and left to decay. It was revived in the 13th century under the Mongol occupation, and some parts were rebuilt, such as the Zoroastrian fire temple and the Western iwan. New constructions were built around the lake, including two octagonal towers behind the iwandecorated in glazed tiles and ceramics. A new entrance was opened through the main walls, in the southern axis of the complex. It is noted that the surrounding lands in the valley (included in the buffer zone) contain the remains of the Sassanian town, which has not been excavated. A brick kiln dating from the Mongol period has been found 600 m south of Takht-e Soleyman. The mountain to the east was used by the Sassanians as a quarry for building stone.
Zendan-e Soleyman is a hollow, conical mountain, an ancient volcano, some 3 km to the west of Takht-e Soleyman. It rises about 100 m above the surrounding land, and contains an 80 m deep hole, about 65 m in diameter, formerly filled with water. Around the top of the mountain, there are remains of a series of shrines and temples that have been dated to the 1st millennium BCE. The Belqeis Mountain (c. 3,200 m), is situated 7.5 km north-east of Takht-e Soleyman. On the highest part there are remains of a citadel (an area of 60 m by 50 m), dating to the Sassanian era, built from yellow sandstone. The explorations that have been carried out so far on the site indicate that the citadel would have contained another fire temple. Its orientation indicates a close relationship with Takht-e Soleyman.
Bam and its Cultural Landscape

Bam is situated in a desert environment on the southern edge of the Iranian high plateau. The origins of Bam can be traced back to the Achaemenid period (6th to 4th centuries BC). Bam developed at the crossroads of important trade routes at the southern side of the Iranian high plateau, and it became an outstanding example of the interaction of the various influences. The Bam and its Cultural Landscape represents an exceptional testimony to the development of a trading settlement in the desert environment of the Central Asian region. The city of Bam represents an outstanding example of a fortified settlement and citadel in the Central Asian region, based on the use mud layer technique (Chineh) combined with mud bricks (Khesht). The cultural landscape of Bam is an outstanding representation of the interaction of man and nature in a desert environment, using the qanats. The system is based on a strict social system with precise tasks and responsibilities, which have been maintained in use until the present, but has now become vulnerable to irreversible change.
Bam and related sites represent a cultural landscape and an exceptional testimony to the development of a trading settlement in the desert environment of the Central Asian region. It developed at the crossroads of important trade routes at the southern side of the Iranian high plateau, and it became an outstanding example of the interaction of the various influences. It is an outstanding example of a fortified settlement and citadel in the Central Asian region, based on the use of mud layer technique (Chineh) combined with mud bricks (Khesht).The cultural landscape of Bam is an outstanding representation of the interaction of man and nature in a desert environment, using qanats. The system is based on a strict social system with precise tasks and responsibilities, which have been maintained in use until the present, but has now become vulnerable to irreversible change.Bam is situated between Jebal Barez Mountains and the Lut Desert at 1,060 m above sea level in south-eastern Iran. The city was affected by the 6.5 Richter scale earthquake on 26 December 2003. More than 26,000 people lost their lives and a large part of the town was destroyed. Bam grew in an oasis created mainly thanks to an underground water management system (qanats), which has continued its function until the present day. The principal core zone consists of the Citadel (Arg-e Bam) with its surroundings. Outside this area, the specified remains of protected historic structures include: Qaleh Dokhtar (Maidens Fortress, c. 7th century), Emamzadeh Zeyd Mausoleum (11th-12th centuries), and Emamzadeh Asiri Mausoleum (12th century). The Enclosure of the Citadel (Arg-e Bam) has 38 watchtowers; the principal entrance gate is in the south, and there are three other gates. A moat surrounds the outer defence wall, which encloses the Government Quarters and the historic town of Bam. The impressive Government Quarters are situated on a rocky hill (45 m high) in the northern section of the enclosure, surrounded by a double fortification wall. The main residential quarter of the historic town occupies the southern section of the enclosure. The notable structures include the bazaar extending from the main south entrance towards the governors quarters in the north. In the eastern part, buildings include the Congregational Mosque, the Mirza Naim ensemble (18th century), and the Mir House. The mosque may be one of the oldest built in Iran, going back to the 8th 0r 9th centuries, probably rebuilt in the 17th century. The north-western area of the enclosure is occupied by another residential quarter, Konari Quarter.

The beginnings of Bam are fundamentally linked with the invention and development of the qanat system. The technique of using qanats was sufficiently well established in the Achaemenid period (6th-4th centuries BC). The archaeological discoveries of ancient qanats in the south-eastern suburbs of Bam are datable at least to the beginning of the 2nd century BC. A popular belief attributes the foundation of the town itself to Haftvad, who lived at the time of Ardashir Babakan, the founder of the Sassanian Empire (3rd century BC). The name of Bam has been associated with the burst of the worm (silk worm). Haftvad is given as the person who introduced silk and cotton weaving to the region of Kerman.
Pasargadae



Pasargadae was the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus II the Great, in Pars, homeland of the Persians, in the 6th century BCIts palaces, gardens and the mausoleum of Cyrus are outstanding. Pasargadae is the first outstanding expression of the royal Achaemenid architecture. The dynastic capital of Pasargadae was built by Cyrus the Great with a contribution by different peoples of the empire created by him. It became a fundamental phase in the evolution of the classic Persian art and architecture. The archaeological site of Pasargadae with its palaces, gardens, and the tomb of the founder of the dynasty, Cyrus the Great, represents an exceptional testimony to the Achaemenid civilisation in Persia. The ‘Four Gardens type of royal ensemble, which was created in Pasargadae became a prototype for Western Asian architecture and design.
The dynastic capital of Pasargadae was built by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC with contributions from different peoples of the empire created by him. It became a fundamental phase in the evolution of the classic Persian art and architecture. With its palaces, gardens, and the tomb of the founder of the dynasty, Cyrus the Great, Pasargadae represents exceptional testimony to the Achaemenid civilisation in Persia. The Four Gardens type of royal ensemble created in Pasargadae became a prototype for Western Asian architecture and design.
Pasargadae is located in the plain on the river Polvar, in the heart of Pars, the homeland of the Persians. The position of the town is also denoted in its name: the camp of Persia. The core zone of the site is surrounded by a large landscape buffer zone. The core area contains many monuments: the Mausoleum of Cyrus the Great is built from white limestone around 540-530 BCE. The mausoleum chamber, on the top, has the form of a simple gable house with a small opening from the west. In the medieval period, the monument was thought to be the tomb of Solomons mother, and a mosque was built around it, using columns from the remains of the ancient palaces. A small prayer niche (mihrab) was carved in the tomb chamber. In the 1970s, during a restoration, the remains of the mosque were removed, and the ancient fragments were deposited close to their original location.
The Tall-e Takht refers to the great fortified terrace platform built on a hill at the northern limit of Pasargadae. This limestone structure is built from dry masonry, using large regular stone blocks and a jointing technique called anathyrosis, which was known in Asia Minor in the 6th century. The first phase of the construction was built by Cyrus the Great, halted at his death in 530 BCE. The second phase was built under Darius the Great (522-486 BCE), using mud brick construction.
The royal ensemble occupies the central area of Pasargadae. It consists of several palaces originally located within a garden ensemble (the so-called Four Gardens). The colour scheme of the architecture is given by the black and white stones used in its structure. The main body of the palaces is formed of a hypostyle hall, to which are attached porticoes. The Audience Hall was built around 539 BCE. Its hypostyle hall has two rows of four columns. The column bases are in black stone and the column shafts in white limestone. The capitals were in black stone. There is evidence of a capital representing a hybrid, horned and crested lion. The palace had a portico on each side. Some of the bas-reliefs of the doorways are preserved, showing human figures and monsters. The Residential Palace of Cyrus II was built 535-530 BCE; its hypostyle hall has five rows of six columns. The Gate House stands at the eastern limit of the core zone. It is a hypostyle hall with a rectangular plan. In one of the door jambs is the famous relief of the winged figure.


In later periods, Tall-e Takht continued to be used as a fort, whereas the palaces were abandoned and the material was reused. From the 7th century onwards, the tomb of Cyrus was called the Tomb of the Mother of Solomon, and it became a place of pilgrimage. In the 10th century, a small mosque was built around it, which was in use until the 14th century.
Soltaniyeh

The mausoleum of Oljaytu was constructed in 1302-12 in the city of Soltaniyeh, the capital of the Ilkhanid dynasty, which was founded by the Mongols. Situated in the province of Zanjan. The Mausoleum of Oljaytu forms an essential link in the development of the Islamic architecture in central and western Asia, from the classical Seljuk phase into the Timurid period. This is particularly relevant to the double-shell structure and the elaborate use of materials and themes in the decoration. Soltaniyeh as the ancient capital of the Ilkhanid dynasty represents an exceptional testimony to the history of the 13th and 14th centuries. The Mausoleum of Oljaytu represents an outstanding achievement in the development of Persian architecture particularly in the Ilkhanid period, characterized by its innovative engineering structure, spatial proportions, architectural forms and the decorative patterns and techniques.
As the ancient capital of the Ilkhanid dynasty, Soltaniyeh represents an exceptional testimony to the history of the 13th and 14th centuries. The Mausoleum of Oljaytu forms an essential link in the development of Islamic architecture in central and western Asia, from the classical Seljuk phase until the Timurid period. This is particularly relevant to the double-shell structure and the elaborate use of materials and themes in the decoration. It is outstanding by virtue of its innovative engineering structure, spatial proportions, architectural forms and the decorative patterns and techniques
Soltaniyeh is located some 240 km from Tehran in north-western Iran. There is archaeological evidence that the site had been occupied at least from the 1st millennium BC. The construction of the settlement was only started by the Ilkhanid dynasty, around 1290. The fourth Mongol ruler in Persia, Arqun Khan, decided to build a summer residence in this region, because it offered good hunting grounds and rich pastures for horse breeding. His son, Qazan Khan, had a mausoleum built over his tomb, now known as Tappeh Nur. There is little information about the beginnings of the new settlement until Oljaytu (later Sultan Muhammad Khodabandeh) came in to power in 1304 when he decided to enlarge the city and make it his capital, naming it Soltaniyeh (Imperial). Together with Tabriz, Soltaniyeh became a major trading centre on the route between Asia and Europe. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Soltaniyeh gradually declined and remained in ruins. Only a rural village was built over the remains.The Mausoleum of Oljaytu, the principal monument of the city, constructed in 1302-12, stands in the middle of a rural settlement, surrounded by fertile meadows. The building is octagonal in form, rising to a stunning high-profile dome, covered with turquoise-blue faience tiles. This structure represents the earliest existing example of the double dome in Iran. The dome has no buttresses nor any additional thickness, and it is surrounded by eight slender minarets as a decorative feature. A wide band of square Kufic around the drum makes a transition between the light blue and the lapis lazuli blue of the main stalactite cornice. The second-storey galleries of the mausoleum open outwards, anticipating buildings such as the. Taj Mahal. Structurally the building is considered a masterpiece. The interior walls were originally faced with light golden-toned bricks and dark blue faience tiles to form large inscriptions in Kufic. However, in 1313, it was redecorated with plaster, using a rich variety of fine ornaments, often worked in low relief. The second phase of the decoration belongs to the period when the use of the monument as a Shia shrine was given up. The decoration of the exterior belongs to the first phase. The immediate surroundings of the mausoleum consist of a stone terrace in the form of a citadel (Arg). originally, the citadel was surrounded by a 30 m wide moat. Today this is an archaeological site.


Other monuments and sites in the World Heritage site include the Old City of Soltaniyeh, founded as the capital of Oljaytu in succession to Tabriz; the Mausoleum of Sultan Chelebi Oghlu, a brick structure from the 1330s with an octagonal tower; The Mausoleum of Mullah Hassan Kashi, a religious figure and poet at the court of Oljaytu; and the remains of Ghazans tomb at Tappeh Nur, which, together with its adjacent remains known as the Tappeh Nur Kuchak, form an archaeological monument.In historic texts the area of Soltaniyeh was called the Prairie of the Alezans 0r the Falcons Hunting Ground. The special nature of these meadows is due to the soil, which prevents the entire absorption of rain water. As a result, it was especially fertile pasture, particularly appropriate for horse breeding. This was also one of the reasons for the establishment of the city in this location.
Bisotun

Bisotun is located along the ancient trade route linking the Iranian high plateau with Mesopotamia and features remains from the prehistoric times to the Median, Achaemenid, Sassanian, and Ilkhanid periods.
The principal monument of this archaeological site is the bas-relief and cuneiform inscription ordered by Darius I, The Great, when he rose to the throne of the Persian Empire, 521 BC. The bas-relief portrays Darius holding a bow, as a sign of sovereignty, and treading on the chest of a figure who lies on his back before him. According to legend, the figure represents Gaumata, the Median Magus and pretender to the throne whose assassination led to Dariuss rise to power. Below and around the bas-reliefs, there are ca. 1,200 lines of inscriptions telling the story of the battles Darius waged in 521-520 BC against the governors who attempted to take apart the Empire founded by Cyrus. The inscription is written in three languages. The oldest is an Elamite text referring to legends describing the king and the rebellions. This is followed by a Babylonian version of similar legends. The last phase of the inscription is particularly important, as it is here that Darius introduced for the first time the Old Persian version of his res gestae (things done). This is the only known monumental text of the Achaemenids to document the re-establishment of the Empire by Darius I. It also bears witness to the interchange of influences in the development of monumental art and writing in the region of the Persian Empire. There are also remains from the Median period (8th to 7th centuries B.C.) as well as from the Achaemenid (6th to 4th centuries B.C.) and post-Achaemenid periods.

Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran

The Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran, in the north-west of the country, consists of three monastic ensembles of the Armenian Christian faith: St Thaddeus and St Stepanos and the Chapel of Dzordzor. These edifices - the oldest of which, St Thaddeus, dates back to the 7th century - are examples of outstanding universal value of the Armenian architectural and decorative traditions. They bear testimony to very important interchanges with the other regional cultures, in particular the Byzantine, orthodox and Persian. Situated on the south-eastern fringe of the main zone of the Armenian cultural space, the monasteries constituted a major centre for the dissemination of that culture in the region. They are the last regional remains of this culture that are still in a satisfactory state of integrity and authenticity. Furthermore, as places of pilgrimage, the monastic ensembles are living witnesses of Armenian religious traditions through the centuries.
The Armenian monasteries of Iran have borne continuous testimony, since the origins of Christianity and certainly since the 7th century, to Armenian culture in its relations and contact with the Persian and later the Iranian civilisations. They bear testimony to a very large and refined panorama of architectural and decorative content associated with Armenian culture, in interaction with other regional cultures: Byzantine, orthodox, Assyrian, Persian and Muslim. The monasteries have survived some 2,000 years of destruction, both of human origin and as a result of natural disasters. They have been rebuilt several times in a spirit in keeping with Armenian cultural traditions. Today they are the only important vestiges of Armenian culture in this region. Saint-Thaddeus, the presumed location of the tomb of the apostle of Jesus Christ, St. Thaddeus, has always been a place of high spiritual value for Christians and other inhabitants in the region. It is still today a living place of pilgrimage for the Armenian Church.
The Armenian monasteries of Iran illustrate the Outstanding Universal Value of Armenian architectural and decorative traditions. They bear testimony to very important cultural interchanges with the other regional cultures, in particular Byzantine, orthodox and Persian. Situated at the south-eastern limits of the main zone of Armenian culture, the monasteries were a major centre for its diffusion in the region. Today they are the last regional testimony of this culture in a satisfactory state of integrity and authenticity. The monastic ensembles are the place of pilgrimage of the apostle St. Thaddeus, which bears an outstanding living testimony to Armenian religious traditions down the centuries. The State Party has made a remarkable long-term effort regarding the restoration and conservation of the Armenian monastic ensembles in Iran. Their integrity and authenticity are satisfactory, and this includes the Chapel of Dzordzor, which (because of a dam construction project) was moved and then rebuilt with an evident concern to retain authenticity. The legal protection in place is adequate. The monastic ensemble is currently in a good state of conservation. The management plan provides the necessary guarantees for the long-term conservation of the property and the expression of its Outstanding Universal Value.

 

 

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