The History of Cultural Heritage in Iran

Cultural Heritage is an expression of the ways of living developed by a community and passed on from generation to generation, including customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values. Cultural heritage is among the most fundamental basics for identity consolidation, creativity and national self-esteem in any country. Research in its various fields sheds light on some historic ambiguities, acknowledges the values resulted from the deep-rooted heritage, and accelerate the recognition of latent values in a country’s cultural heritage. Cultural Heritage is often expressed as either Intangible or Tangible Cultural Heritage (ICOMOS, 2002).
It was in 1930 that some of the historic monuments in Iran were registered as Iranian National Cultural Heritage. According to the Act of Preserving National Heritage, “[a]ll the artefacts associated with the races lived in Iran during the Zand dynasty are considered as antiques…” . The first item registered in the National Heritage was Soleyman Tepe, introduced by André Godard. After 25 years, when Golestan Palace was registered in the list, artefacts associated with the Qajar dynasty (and after it) could also be registered in the List for Iranian National Heritages.

Iran joined the UNESCO World Heritage Convention in 1975 and registered its very first world heritage sites: Chogha Zanbil (Khuzestan), Persepolis (Fars) and Naqsh-e Jahan Square (Isfahan). For a complete list of World Heritage Sites in Iran, please refer to the related page.