1214 GMT October 19, 2018
Global registration of Yazd as the largest adobe city of the world on UNESCO’s World Heritage List was an important plan which was ratified by representatives of countries that attended in UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.
It is a harbinger of events to come for this city and the whole tourism industry of the Iran.
Yazd has witnessed positive developments including rise in number of tourists and rise in revenues in the past 11 months.
Yazd is a city which has achieved to maintain its ancient monuments and architectural texture over the years.
Its residents have managed to adapt themselves to desert conditions.
Currently, this city can be considered as a model for other regions in terms of preserving indigenous architecture.
Iran Daily has interviewed Fatemeh Danesh-Yazdi, chairwoman of Yazd Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Department. Excerpts follow:
IRAN DAILY: Please tell us about your viewpoints regarding special characteristic of Yazd compared to other monuments registered on UNESCO list.
FATEMEH DANESH YAZDI: Seventy-seven cities have been registered as a historical city which has an ancient or archeological site. For example, three Spanish cities have been registered on World Heritage List — each of them has a historical center.
Yazd is the first city with an extensive and dynamic old texture which has been registered on UNESCO List.
Prior to registration of Yazd on UNESCO List, 21 Iranian monuments have been registered on World Heritage List such as Pasargad, Takht-e Jamshid, Bistoun, Golestan Palace, Iranian gardens and Iranian aqueducts. Yazd was registered as 22th Iranian heritage on UNESCO List. Yazd is considered the first Shia city of the world.
Why did the procedure of global registration of Yazd ancient site on UNESCO list become too long?
Every monument should be registered nationally before global registration. An area of Yazd— stretching over 900 hectares — was registered on the National Heritage List in 2005.
Given the special characteristics of Yazd historical site, the dossier of Yazd was sent to UNESCO and ratified after revisions.
When the dossier was prepared, UNESCO inspectors visited Yazd and assessed Yazd ancient site with five criteria regarding values of ancient texture. They declared their final assessment to 41st Session of the World Heritage Committee — held in Krakow, Poland — which led to global registration of Yazd.
What were UNESCO’s criteria for global registration of Yazd?
Yazd was registered on basis of criteria III and V . Criterion III emphasizes on Yazd ancient site and its uniqueness. Criterion V refers peaceful coexistence of religions and adaptability of Yazd people to harsh nature, and architecture which is in tandem with local climatic conditions.
What are the advantages for Yazd after global registration?
UNESCO doesn’t give any financial credit to any country following registration of its monument.
UNESCO’s supports are restricted to research purposes.
When a heritage site is globally registered, it will become famous among other monuments. It will become an international brand.
In fact, global registration is a good publicity for a historical monument. It draws the attention of world people.
Moreover, with global registration of a monument, research institutes affiliated to UNSECO concentrate their activities on it.
Since global registration of Yazd, several research groups voluntarily have traveled to this city and studied on adobe structures and earthen architecture.
It is noteworthy to us that voluntary research groups from various nations travel to Yazd, observe our historical site and present us the results of their research free of charge.
In addition, all member states of UNESCO help the countries with globally registered monuments which have been damaged by different disasters.
We had the experience of such supports following Bam quake, because Bam Citadel had been globally registered before the quake.
What are tourism developments after global registration of Yazd?
Yazd has taken tourism industry seriously in recent years.
Cultural and historical tourists make up the highest number of visitors traveling to Iran.
In the past, they used to select Isfahan or Shiraz as their destinations. Following global registration of Yazd, it has become a top tourist destination.
Based on agreement reached among chambers of commerce of provinces of Yazd, Fars and Isfahan, the golden triangle of tourism has been formed among the trio. Every tourist who enters each of the abovementioned provinces, is encouraged to visit the remaining two.
The tourist arrivals grew significantly after global registration of Yazd. Close to 140,000 foreign tourists visited Yazd by the year to March 2018, indicating a growth of 20 percent compared to the year before.
What policies has Yazd Cultural Heritage Department adopted for drawing tourists to this desert city?
Several festivals have been considered for drawing tourists to Yazd in low season. Close to 60 provincial festivals were held in Yazd during the year to March 2018. In addition, Muharram rituals including Ashura mourning and Nakhl-Gardani are held in Yazd annually.