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D-Days for Iran's Historical Sites in UNESCO's Session

As forty-eight new sites are vying for a place on UNESCO's prestigious World Heritage List, voting for Pasargadae and the Bam Citadel is due to be held on Thursday and Friday, respectively, Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency reported on Tuesday.

Photo: Nassrollah Kasraian

Experts are making the case in the 28th session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO in Suzhou, China, hoping they would be inscribed on the roll. Mohammad Beheshti, head of the research center at the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) heads the Iranian delegation in the summit.

Attempts to enlist the Citadel of Bam started after a devastating quake last December, which ruined over 70 percent of the historical clay site and killed over 26,000 of its citizens. Since then several experts with UNESCO have visited the site and gave guidelines on how to reconstruct the citadel, the world's biggest clay structure. Iranian experts also worked around the clock to get the documentation and profiling works prepared as soon as possible.

Pasargadae is located 70 km north of Persepolis. It was the oldest capital of the ancient Achaemenid empire, built by the founder of this empire, king Cyrus the Great (559-330 BCE). It resembled a park of 2x3 km in which several monumental buildings were to be seen.

UNESCO officials in east China's Suzhou city, where the conference which also aims to discuss ways to better protect the world's cultural heritage opened, declined to reveal any of the 48 sites, citing policy. Roni Amelan, an official with UNESCO's bureau of public information, said UNESCO this year was urging the independent committee which selects sites for to make the list more representative and balanced. Among the 178 member states that have signed on to the 1972 convention to protect the world's cultural and natural heritage, 49 states still do not have a site on the list.

To date, the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage protects 754 sites of "outstanding universal value" in 129 member states, including 582 cultural and 149 natural sites, and 23 mixed sites.

... Payvand News - 6/29/04 ... --

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