Unesco World Heritages in Iran

There are many historical monuments in Iran and many Unesco World Heritages in Iran, of which 700 cultural monuments registered in the UNESCO World Heritage List over the past years.  Iran has already made great efforts to record its historical monuments at the UNESCO World Heritage List. And for this, it has already recorded 19 sites.

This action was taken by Iran because UNESCO decided to formulate a convention to identify, protect and introduce the cultural and natural heritage of human beings around the world in 1972. This organization acts as the United Nations Scientific, Cultural and Educational Arm.

The role of UNESCO in the field of tourism has gradually turned into supporting cultural development. So far, 180 countries have signed the World Heritage Convention and have registered more than 700 cultural and natural sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List. And Iran, with its rich history and rich cultural background, has recorded 17 sites in the UNESCO World list so far. In recent months, this number reached 19 with the global registration of two other monuments.

But which Iranian cultural and historical sites have been introduced to the world as an Unesco World Heritages in Iran?

Chogha Zanbil 

Unesco World Heritage in Iran

Chogha Zanbil in Khouzestan, Iran

The historic site of Chogha Zanbil in Shush was the first historical monument that was registered as an Unesco World Heritages in Iran on May 19, 1979 on the World Heritage List with the efforts of the late Shahriar Adel. From the factors contributing to the establishment of this complex on the world heritage list are the significance of this historic site as the most important work since the era of the Elamite regime, its 3000-year history, and also its natural attractions.

The natural erosion and destruction caused by the Iran-Iraq war inflicted great damage on this ancient city. In order to prevent further destruction of this region, an agreement was reached between the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization, UNESCO, Japan Credit Institute and the Kerrake Institute of France (the International Organization for the Protection of Builders) for the implementation of a study on conservation and restoration of the site in 1998. In line with the implementation of this project, a permanent research base including a lab, a department for conservation and restoration, a library, a computer department and a department of pottery studies were created and equipped in the administrative part of the Haft Tepe Museum.

Naqsh-e Jahan Square

Unesco World Heritages in Iran

Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan

The second Iranian monument, which was registered with Shahriar Jalal’s efforts with his own expense at Unesco World Heritages in Iran, was ” Naqsh-e Jahan Square” in Isfahan. This square was registered on the World Heritage List at the same meeting and on the same day in 1979.

Naqsh-e Jahan Square, which was registered on February 13, 1934 in the national monuments list was renamed to “Imam Square” after the Islamic revolution, and is now the central square of Isfahan, which is at the heart of the historical collection of Naqsh-e Jahan. In this area, there are some other places like Imam Khomeini Mosque, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, and Qasiriyah Shrine.

In addition to them, there are two hundred stores around the square, which is usually the place for selling handicrafts in Isfahan.


The historic site of the Persepolis was the third international location along with the first two that was registered in World Heritage List after Iran’s accession to the Unesco World Heritages in Iran Convention in 1979.

Persepolis was one of the ancient cities of Iran that had been the capital of the glorious kingdom of Iran during the Achaemenid Empire in the past. This ancient city was built during the reign of Darius the Great, Xerxes and Artaxeres I, and had been used for 200 years. On the first day of the New Year, many groups from different countries, representing satraps or governorates arrived here with diverse presents and gave their gifts to Shah.

In 518 BCE, they began the construction of Persepolis as the new capital of the Achaemenids in Pars. Darius was the founder of Persepolis, after that his son Xerxes and his grandson Ardeshir I continued his efforts and added to this building’s magnificence. Much of the existing knowledge about Achaemenid background and their culture became available due to stones and metal inscriptions that were engraved on the walls and plaques in this area.

Following the efforts of the late Shahriar Jalal to register these three historic sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List, all three successfully were listed within one year on the UNESCO list successfully, and after that a 24-year interruption was followed by the global registration of Iranian monuments. And then, the historic site of Takht-e Soleiman in the Takab of the West Azerbaijan was recorded as the fourth UNESCO World heritage in 2003.

Takht-e Soleymān

Unesco World Heritages in Iran

Takht-e Soleymān in Takab

The historic castle of Takht-e Soleyman, which survives from the Sassanid period with various sections such as Azar-e-Kashsab fire temple as one of the most important Sassanid fire temples, the Temple of Warriors, Ivan Khosrow, Anahita Temple and some other small fireworks with strong gates and walls are considered among the most important historical monuments of the world.

Takht-e Soleyman was destroyed during the invasion of the Roman Emperor in 624 BC. The ancient Takht-e Soleyman complex was considered to be the largest educational, religious and social center that existed before Islam in Iran, but was destroyed by the Roman emperor Heraclius in 624 BC.

Arg-e Bam

The historic site of the “Arg-e Bam”, or in the words of Shahriar Adal the “Bam Cultural Landscape”, was registered in danger list of Unesco World Heritages in Iran after the earthquake that occurred on January 5, 2003 and partially destroyed this historic city. After that the efforts made by the Cultural Heritage Organization to save this historic site, and it became the fifth international site of Iran on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The historic site of Pasargad in Fars province was the second recognized site of this province and the sixth international site of Iran as the second Iranian quota in UNESCO in 2004 on the World Heritage List. This historic monument known as the Murghab plain has 3,000 years of civilization, and there was cultivation in the 4th and 3rd millennium BC in villages such as Tel Nakhodi, Tel-Khari, Tel-3 Mill and 2 Tulan.

In the past, Pasargad was linked to the Persepolis and Shush. After thorough investigation, Herzfeld and others found this way in the hollow plain, which entered the northern part of the plateau and went to the tomb of Cyrus and then went straight to Tangeh Bolaghi.

Dome of Soltaniyeh

The “Dome of Soltaniyeh“ in Zanjan is the seventh internationalized historical site of Iran. This dome was registered at UNESCO in 2005.

Dome of Soltaniyeh is the tomb of Al Jayto and was built in the city of Soltanieh (the capital of the Ilkhanis). This place is one of the important works of Iranian and Islamic and Azeri architecture. It is believed that the first dome was built in 703 AH by order of al-Jayto (Sultan Mohammad Khodabandeh) and was constructed to carry Ali al-Ibn Abi Talib body from Najaf to Soltanieh. There were 3000 workers involved to construct this building and it took 10 years to complete it.

Behistun Inscription

Unesco World Heritages in Iran

Behistun Inscription in Kermanshah

The “Behistun “ area in Kermanshah is the eighth internationalized site of Iran, which was registered in 2006 on the Unesco World Heritages in Iran List. The embossed and inscribed letter of Darius, created by Darius I is the instruction and a sign of the significant connections of human values in the development of art and the writing.

The historic site of Behistun is on the route of the main roads of communication between Iran and Mesopotamia and is related to the sacred Mount Behistun. While the archaeological evidence of human settlement in the prehistoric period can be seen in the site, the most notable feature of this place is related to the sixth century BC. The Behistun Inscription is unique because it is the only Achaemenid remained text that documents a special historical event, namely the rebuilding of the empire by Darius I. This work was also registered on January 15, 1931 in the national monuments list.

The Church collections

The “Church” World Collection in Azerbaijan includes three major churches of Iran called “Ghare Church”, “St. Stephen” and “Virgin Mary ” was registered as the ninth historical site on the Unesco World Heritages in Iran list in 2008.

The churches of Azerbaijan are prominent examples of Armenian traditional architecture and decoration, which have resisted against the cultural change of the region, especially Byzantine, Orthodox and Persian. The history of these churches dates back to the 7th to the 14th centuries, which were reconstructed and restored several times due to natural disasters and human actions.

Shushtar waterfalls

Shushtar Waterfalls are among the tenth largest Iranian construction site that were registered in the Unesco World Heritages in Iran in 2009.

In order to save one of the historically endangered sites, the large study project of conservation and restoration of the Shushtar mills (waterfalls) has been initiated by the Cultural Heritage Organization since 1998. Since 2002, the cultural heritage site of Shoushtar Historical Hydraulic Structures has been established with the aim of studying the historical aquatic structures of this region and the country as well as organizing, protecting and introducing the historical monuments of Shushtar.

Tabriz Market

Unesco World Heritages in Iran

Tabriz Market in east Azerbaijan

Tabriz market is the 11th internationalized historical site of Iran, which was listed on this Unesco World Heritages in Iran list in 2010.

This place is one of the largest and most important indoor markets in Iran and Asia, with an area of about 1 sq. Km, and is considered as the largest indoor market in the world. Tabriz market consists of several other smaller stores, buildings and caravansaries. This market has already had a great boom because of its location on the crossroads of the Silk Road and the daily passage of thousands of caravans from various Asian, African and European markets.

This market was reconstructed by the ruler of Tabriz, Najafgholi Khan Denboli about 3 centuries ago and after the Tabriz historical earthquake in 1779. This market was registered in 1974 in the National Iranian List.

Sheikh Safi Al-Din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble

The 11th International Works of Iran is the “Tomb of Sheikh Safi Al-Din Ardebili”, which was registered in 1390. This tomb is one of the historical and ancient sites of the city of Ardebil that is located in the northwest of Iran, in addition to the shrine of Sheikh Safi Al-Din Ardebili, the tombs of Shah Isma’il I (the first king of Safavid) and the wife of Shah Isma’il (the mother of Shah Tahmasb), as well as some elders and landlords of Safavid era, and the victims of the Chaldoran War are located there.


A chain of Iranian gardens including 9 gardens from different parts of the country was also registered in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2011 as the 12th Iranian site. These gardens include Akrbarieh Garden in Birjand, Fin Garden in Kashan, Prince Mahan Garden in Kerman, Eram Garden in Shiraz, Abbasabad Garden in Behshahr, Chehelsotun Garden in Isfahan, Dolatabad Garden in Yazd, Pasargad Gardens in Shiraz and Pahlavanpur Garden in Yazd.

Gonbad-e Qaboos

Unesco World Heritages in Iran

Gonbad-e Qaboos in Golestan province

The thirteenth international site entitled “Gonbad-e Qaboos” in Gorgan was also registered in World Heritage List in 2012. This building, which is considered the tallest brick tower in the world, belongs to the fourth century AH. This building that is located on a hill and about 15 meters above the surface of the earth was constructed in 996 by “Shams Al-Ma’ali Qaboos Bin Voshmgir”.

Jameh Mosque of Isfahan

“Isfahan Jame Mosque” is the 14th international site of Iran. This valuable and exquisite place, which entered in the UNESCO list in 2012 is one of the most important and oldest religious buildings in Iran.

This mosque displays a large historical complex in the northeast of Isfahan. Beside the old square, it includes various parts such as the dome of Nizam Al-Mulk, the dome of Taj El-Molk, along with the Mozaffari School and the Al-Ja’ito Mehrab, each representing the art of Islamic architecture in particular periods. According to the historical evidence, mosque of Isfahan was constructed on the ruins of an older mosque built by Arabs residing in the village of Tehran in Isfahan in the 2nd AH century. The first mosque was erected on the ruins of some other building that was related to the Sassanid period.

Golestan Palace

Golestan Palace is the fifteenth international site of Iran and the world’s first international capital, which was placed on the UNESCO list in 2013, since the beginning of the registration among the world heritage sites, this place faced with a lot of problems such as unauthorized and high-rise construction in the vicinity of this historic complex.  It seems that these problems have been fixed with consultations to some important figures.

Shahr-e Sukhteh

The 16th international site of Iran is “Shahr-e Sukhteh”, this famous area that is known as one of the most advanced ancient cities in the world was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014.

The historic site of the ” Shahr-e Sukhteh ” is the name of the remaining part of an ancient city that is 56 kilometers away from Zabul and on the edge of the Zabul – Zahedan road in eastern part of Iran and in Sistan and Baluchestan province.

It is said that Shahr-e Sukhteh is the oldest and most advanced city in the world, and it is even more advanced than the city of Crete, which is mentioned in the book written by Sinoha.

Two other ancient works, called “Shush ancient site” and “Meymand Cultural Landscape”, were recorded as the 18th and 19th Iranian monuments in UNESCO World Heritage List.