7 UNESCO Sites to Visit in Iran

By PackToIran | Jun 12, 2022
Middle East > Iran

It is one of the 10 countries with the most world heritage sites and is rich in culture and history. We will explore some of the less visited UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Iran, which are scattered throughout the country.

1- Meymand Village

Among Iran's many natural attractions and villages is Meymand Village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This Meymand Village (Meimand Village) in Kerman Province, more than 12000 years old, is one of the oldest settlements in the country, with 350 hand-carved cliff caves cut into the rocks, some of which have been inhabited for more than 3000 years. Despite modernization and the arid climate of Meymand, some of these hand-dug caves are still inhabited by local residents.

2- Lut Desert

Located in the south-east of Iran, the Lut Desert was inscribed as the first natural UNESCO World Heritage Site in Iran in 2016. Located in the middle of mountain ranges, the climate of Lut Desert is hyperarid, and the spectacular aeolian erosion and aeolian upheaval caused by summer strong winds (called yardangs) makes Lut a picturesque desert. Although it's a desert, it has a unique wildlife that have adapted to the harsh environment. Its geological wonders, as well as the lack of humidity and light pollution, make the Lut Desert one of the best spots in Iran for stargazing and watching beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

3- Takht-e Soleyman

The archaeological site of Takht-e Soleyman (Takht-e Suleiman) resides in west Azerbaijan Province, northwest of Iran, and includes a Zoroastrian sanctuary named Azar Goshasb Fire Temple that was rebuilt in the Ilkhanid period, (13th century), the Sassanid Temple of Anahita, Solomon Prison, which is a 100-meter-high mound with an 80-meter-deep hole, and Takht-e Soleyman Lake, which coveres a mysterious golden city based on legends and myths. UNESCO has designated this ancient site as a great example of Sassanid glory and power.

4- Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System

Located in south-western Iran, Khuzestan Province is home to prehistoric civilizations like the Ilamite Empire, and also ancient heritage from the Achaemenid and Sassanid ancient empires, including the Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System, which is one of the most significant. In 2009, this historic site was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list for its masterpiece of architecture and engineering dating back to Darius I's reign. However, its main improvements date from the Sassanid era. Hydraulic structures were used in Shushtar (an influential city in Khuzestan Province) for transferring and sharing water as well as watering the region's farms and lands through its water wells, water mills, artificial waterfalls, and canals.

5- Bam and its Cultural Landscape

In the southeast of Kerman Province, in the city of Bam, there is a historical city whose roots date back to the Achaemenid Era. Due to its location on the Silk Road and Spice Road, this city flourished during the 7th to 11th centuries. Arg-e Bam stands out among historical cities of Iran due to its importance as a representative example of medieval fortified towns and settlements as well as a trading center. There is no doubt that this earthen and brick made structure, which includes the governor's palace, residential houses, and maze of alleyways, is one of the greatest achievements in Iranian architecture. This medieval town was reconstructed and renovated following the 6.8 magnitude richter earthquake that struck Bam and Kerman in 2003, and it still retains its historical value and glory. It is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Danger.

Bam Citadel - Iran

Bam Citadel - Iran

6- The Armenian Monastic Ensamble

This unique UNESCO World Heritage Site is a collection of three Armenian churches in West and East Azerbaijan known as the Holy Stepanos Monastery, the Holy Thaddeus Monastery, and the Holy Chapel of Dzordzor built between the 7th and 14th centuries. Armenians lived in the northwest of Iran for centuries, and these well-preserved churches show the style and ornamentation of Armenian architecture.

The Armenian Monastic Ensamble - Iran

The Armenian Monastic Ensamble - Iran

7- The Behistoun Relief

Bistun (also known as Behistoun) is a multilingual Iranian inscription that is considered one of the most valuable historical documents containing so much data from the ancient world. Designed by Darius I, the great Achaemenid king, the Behistoun relief is carved on limestone and is 15 meters by 25 meters high. It contains information about Darius' life, about events following the death of Cyrus the Great, etc. in three languages: Elamite, Babylonian and Old Persian. Also included in this heritage is a spectacular bass relief of Darius I standing on the chest of a character named Gaumata. Besides Darius, the bass relief shows Achaemenid soldiers accompanying him and honoring him, as well as the great deity of Farvahar at the top.

Things to do Unesco World Heritage Sites History Iran Middle East

Share this tip:

Written by PacktoIran
We specialise in arranging small group and tailor-made journeys of discovery throughout Iran. With its captivating history, friendly people, stunning scenery, art, architecture and gardens our ancient and diverse country is a fascinating and compelling place to visit. Whether you are a solo traveller, traveling with friends or family our tours are designed so all of our clients enjoy an authentic experience in the capable hands of Iran’s foremost guides.

Thoughts? Questions?

See also


Tours and activities

Alamut Valley day tour

Visiting Castle of the Assassins, Alamut Valley, Andej Valley, Ovan Lake and Lambesar castle

Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Private Table

Cruise the Bosphorus Strait while enjoying a dinner and show. Enjoy a selection of food and drinks while being entertained by a Turkish night show. Admire views of Istanbul's historical buildings as they are lit up at night. Snap photos and enjoy the sparkle of the city. See the Dolmabahçe Palace, the Galata Bridge, the Rumeli Fortre