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Iran UNESCO Sites

Home to one of the oldest civilizations, Iran enjoys 22 sites registered in UNESCO cultural and natural list.

Home to one of the oldest civilizations, Iran enjoys 22 sites registered in UNESCO cultural and natural list. In the list of Iran UNESCO sites you would find bazaars, palaces, mosques, churches, gardens, and etc. Azargasht Maleki has gathered all the UNESCO sites in Iran with their short descriptions.


1) Persepolis (1979(

Founded by Darius I in 518 B.C., Persepolis, known locally as Takhte Jamshid (The Throne of Jamshid), was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire (read more about Persepolis). Persepolis is one of the first three properties included in the World Heritage List in 1979, belonging to the Achaemenid dynasty and is the most complete architectural form and city planning of this period. This property had been not only a political center but also a religious one. Persepolis is situated 70 km northeast of Shiraz.Actually, Persepolis is the most must-see site in Shiraz tours and the most popular and famous Iran tourism site for the foreign tourists. You may find Shiraz tours in our Ancient and Present Capitals of Iran package.

2) Meidan Emam, Esfahan (1979(

Naqsh-e Jahan Square, constructed between 1598 and 1629, is a square situated at the center of Isfahan. It is one of the largest city squares in the world and an outstanding example of Iranian and Islamic architecture which is the first things to do in the Isfahan tours. Also known as Naghsh-e Jahan (“Image of the World”), and formerly as Meidan-e Shah, Meidan Emam is surrounded by three main components of power in Persia during Safavid days, Bazaar as merchants' power, mosque as the clergy power and palace as the kings' power and all these potential made this Iranian UNESCO Site full of foreign tourist who are eager to Persia culture. You may found Isfahan tours in our Iran tours like Impressive Iran and Tabriz, Isfahan and Shiraz tour itineraries.

3) Tchogha Zanbil (1979(

Tchogha Zanbil (meaning ‘basket mound’), founded c. 1250 B.C. by the Elamite king, was one of the first three sites in Iran to be inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. It is the largest and best-preserved ziggurat (stepped pyramidal monument) outside of Mesopotamia and part of an ancient city within the Kingdom of Elam, located in present-day Khuzestan province (read more about history of Iran). Regarding to its situation on the corner of Iran and the lack of enough time to tourists in Iran tours, there are not enough and noticeable tours to here. It is mentioned that Tchogha Zanbil was built mainly to honor the great god Inshushinak. Its original name was Dur Untash, which means 'town of Untash', but it is unlikely that many people, besides priests and servants, ever lived there. You may travel to Khuzestan in our Iran tour named Iranian World Heritage sites tour

4) Takht-e Soleyman (2003)

The archaeological site of Takht-e Soleyman (“Throne of Solomon”) is situated in Takab (West Azerbaijan Province). For the solo travelers who are coming through the land borders of Iran and Turkey, they can easily go there by staying a night in Urmia. The site includes the principal Zoroastrian sanctuary partly rebuilt in the 13th century as well as a temple of the Sasanian period (6th and 7th centuries) dedicated to Anahita. The site has strong symbolic and spiritual significance related to fire and water and stands as an exceptional testimony of the continuation of a cult related to fire and water over a period of some 2,500 years. AzarGasht Maleki provides tours to Takhte Soleyman for the tourists who are eager to have Urmia tour and Takab as well. You can stay a night in Urmia in Azrgasht Maleki world heritage sites itinerary too.

5) Pasargadae (2004(

Pasargadae was the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus II the Great which is built in 546 BCE or later; it was unfinished when he died in battle, in 530 or 529 BCE (read more Persepolis). Pasargadae was the capital of the first great multicultural empire in Western Asia, spanning the Eastern Mediterranean and Egypt to the Hindus River. It is situated in 130 km to the northeast of Shiraz, less than 50 km from Persepolis. Most of the tourists who are coming to Shiraz from Isfahan or Shiraz explore Pasargadae on their way. Thus they pass one day of staying in Shiraz by visiting Persepolis and Pasargadae and Naghshe Rostam (Necropolis). Shiraz tours always contain these three sites. (Read more Tabriz, Isfahan, Shiraz tour)

6) Bam and its Cultural Landscape (2004(

If you are staying more than 7 days in Iran, don't miss visiting Kerman and Bam in your Iran tour. Bam is situated in a desert environment in Kerman Province. The origins of Bam can be traced back to the Achaemenid period (6th to 4th centuries BC). Its heyday was from the 7th to 11th centuries, being at the crossroads of important trade routes and known for the production of silk and cotton garments. The Arg is divided into 4 main sections, with 38 Watch Towers, Public Housing, Barracks, Great Perimeter Wall, Bazaar, Fire Temple/ Mosque and a moat surrounding the citadel. The existence of life in the oasis was based on the underground irrigation canals, the Qanats, of which Bam has preserved some of the earliest evidence in Iran. There are a Iran desert tour include some cities that Kerman is one of them which you may be interested in. 

7) Soltaniyeh (2005(

The mausoleum of Soltanyeh was constructed in 1302–12 in the capital of the Ilkhanid dynasty, which was founded by the Mongols. Situated in the province of Zanjan, Soltaniyeh is one of the outstanding examples of the achievements of Persian architecture and Islamic architecture. In tours to North-west of Iran The octagonal building is crowned with a 50 m tall dome covered in turquoise-blue faience and surrounded by eight slender minarets. It is the earliest existing example of the double-shelled dome in Iran.

8) Bisotun (2006(

On the sacred mountain of Bisotun in western Iran’s Kermanshah province is a remarkable multilingual inscription carved on a limestone cliff about 60 m above the plain. Bisotun 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.

9) Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran (2008(

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 (Read more: Jolfa - Maku). 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. The monasteries have survived some 2,000 years of destruction, both of human origin and as a result of natural disasters and now there are several tours such as Tabriz tour which included Jolfa into the itinerary. 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. Recently, Malekitour has provided Armenia tour to Iran that you can find in the tour packages.

10) Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System (2009(

Shushtar, Historical Hydraulic System, inscribed as a masterpiece of creative genius, can be traced back to Darius the Great in the 5th century B.C. It’s situated at the foot of Zagros Mountains, about 90 km north of Ahvaz. The major part of its construction dates back to the Sassanid period. It was aimed at optimal use of water with applying the ancient water treatment techniques. It involved the creation of two main diversion canals on the river Kârun one of which  is still in use providing water to the city of Shushtar via a series of tunnels that supply water to mills. There is Iran World Heritage tour which Ahvaz and Shushtar Hydraulic system is included in it.

11) Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex (2010(

Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex consists of a series of interconnected, covered, brick structures, buildings, and enclosed spaces for different functions. It is one of the oldest bazaars in the Middle East and the largest covered bazaar in the world. Tabriz and its Bazaar were already prosperous and famous in the 13th century, when the town became the capital city of the Safavid kingdom. The city lost its status as capital in the 16th century, but remained important as a commercial hub until the end of the 18th century. It is the most complete example of the traditional commercial and cultural system of Iran. Regarding to its history and the remained sites Tabriz is selected as Islamic Tourism Capital in 2018 (Tabriz 2018)

12) Sheikh Safi al-din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble in Ardabil (2010(

Sheikh Safi al-Din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble was built as a small microcosmic city with bazaars, public baths, squares, religious buildings, houses, and offices.  The mausoleum, a tall, domed circular tower decorated with blue tile and about 17 meters in height; beside it is the 17th-century Porcelain House preserving the sanctuary's ceremonial wares. It was the largest and most complete khānegāh and the most prominent Sufi shrine since it also hosts the tomb of the founder of the Safavid Dynasty. In tours to Northwest of Iran you can have a tour to Ardabil and have a exploration the Shrine Ensemble.

13) The Persian Garden (2011(

There are nine different gardens which exemplify the diversity of Persian garden designs that evolved and adapted to different climate conditions. Always divided into four sectors, with water playing an important role for both irrigation and ornamentation, the Persian garden was conceived to symbolize Eden and the four Zoroastrian elements of sky, earth, water and plants. These gardens are dating back to different periods since the 6th century BC, also feature buildings, pavilions and walls, as well as sophisticated irrigation systems.

14) Gonbad-e Qābus (2012(

The Tower in the central part of the city reaches 72 metres (236 ft) (including the height of the platform) was built in 1006 AD. The tower is the only remaining evidence of Jorjan, a former centre of arts and science that was destroyed during the Mongols’ invasion in the 14th and 15th centuries. It is an outstanding and technologically innovative example of Islamic architecture that influenced sacral building in Iran, Anatolia and Central Asia. The Tower was built on such a scientific and architectural design that at the front of the Tower, at an external circle, one can hear one's echo.

15) Masjed-e Jāmé of Isfahan (2012)

Masjed Jame (Friday mosque) is the grand, congregational mosque in Isfahan. The mosque is the result of continual construction, reconstruction, additions and renovations on the site from around 771 to the end of the 20th century. This is one of the oldest mosques still standing in Iran and it was built in the four-iwan architectural style, placing four gates face to face. It is the oldest preserved edifice of its type in Iran and a prototype for later mosque designs throughout Central Asia.

16) Golestan Palace (2013)

One of the oldest historic monuments in the city of Tehran, and of world heritage status, the Golestan Palace belongs to a group of royal buildings that were once enclosed within the mud-thatched walls of Tehran's arg ("citadel"). It consists of gardens, royal buildings, and collections of Iranian crafts and European presents from the 18th and 19th centuries. It represents a new style incorporating traditional Persian arts and crafts and elements of 18th century architecture and technology.

17) Shahr-i Sokhta (2014)

Shahr-i Sokhta, meaning ‘Burnt City’, is located at the junction of Bronze Age trade routes crossing the Iranian plateau. The remains of the mudbrick city represent the emergence of the first complex societies in Sistan and Baluchistan province. Founded around 3200 BC, it was populated during four main periods up to 1800 BC, during which time there developed several distinct areas within the city: those where monuments were built, and separate quarters for housing, burial and manufacture.

18) Susa (2015(

Susa contains several layers of superimposed urban settlements in a continuous succession from the late 5th millennium BCE until the 13th century CE. The site bears exceptional testimony to the Elamite, Persian and Parthian cultural traditions, which have largely disappeared. Susa is in khuzestan province.

19) Cultural Landscape of Maymand (2015(

Meymand is a very ancient village which is located near Shahr-e Babak city in Kerman Province. Meymand is believed to be a primary human residence in the Iranian Plateau, dating back to 12,000 years ago. Many of the residents live in the 350 hand-dug houses amid the rocks, some of which have been inhabited for as long as 3,000 years. Stone engravings nearly 10,000 years old are found around the village, and deposits of pottery nearly 6,000 years old attest to the long history of settlement at the village site.

20) The Persian Qanat (2016)

The Persian Qanat system is an exceptional testimony to the tradition of providing water to arid regions to support settlements. The technological and communal achievements of the qanats play a vital role of qanat in the formation of various civilisations. The Persian Qanat system is an outstanding example of a technological ensemble illustrating significant stages in the history of human occupation of arid and semi-arid regions.

21) Lut Desert (2016)

The Lut Desert, widely referred to as Dasht-e Lut is a large salt desert located in the provinces of Kerman and Sistan and Baluchestan. It is the world's 27th-largest desert (Read more about Geography, Nature and Climate). The surface of its sand has been measured at temperatures as high as 70 °C (159 °F), making it one of the world's driest and hottest places. Iran’s Dasht-e Lut with its giant dunes, salt plains and yardang provides an epic journey of breathtaking beauty and wilderness. Between June and October, this arid subtropical area is swept by strong winds, which transport sediment and cause aeolian erosion on a colossal scale. Consequently, the site presents some of the most spectacular examples of aeolian yardang landforms (massive corrugated ridges). It also contains extensive stony deserts and dune fields. The property represents an exceptional example of ongoing geological processes.

22) Historic City of Yazd (2017)

The City of Yazd is located in the middle of the Iranian plateau, 270 km southeast of Isfahan, close to the Spice and Silk Roads. It bears living testimony to the use of limited resources for survival in the desert. Water is supplied to the city through a qanat system developed to draw underground water. The earthen architecture of Yazd has escaped the modernization that destroyed many traditional earthen towns, retaining its traditional districts, the qanat system, traditional houses, bazars, hammams, mosques, synagogues, Zoroastrian temples and the historic garden of Dolat-abad.


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