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Iran: Lowered Jahan Nama in Isfahan to Become Cultural Centre

Tehran, 21 September 2005(CHN) -- Jahan Nama, a tall building which has intruded the aerial buffer zone of Naqsh Jahan square and consequently has been threatening this UNESCO world heritage site with an impending placement on the Endangered World Heritage list, is now promised not only to be shortened but also to be altered from a commercial to a cultural center.

Pointing out the issue, Abbas Haj Rasouli, head of Isfahan's city council, announced, "According to the latest decision of Jahan Nama Modification Committee which is approved by Isfahan's city council, this building is going to be modified not only in the physical height but also it will be changed from a commercial complex to a cultural centre."

Noting that the building is already fully purchased by the municipality of Isfahan, Haj Rasouli said, "Jahan Nama is now completely possessed by Isfahan's municipality and thus this body is entitled to change its function."

The alteration of this commercial complex to a would-be cultural centre involves establishing special shops and workshops for traditional handicrafts and other cultural products, a 5-star hotel with 200 beds above them, and a conference hall.

"In our negotiations with the former director of Iran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization, we reached an agreement to reduce the height of the building by 10 to 12 meters which means about 4 floors. Provided that the new management approves of the same solution, we hope the crisis, which concerned the whole nation, will end up this year," he added.

Now a special committee for the reduction of Jahan nama height is formed comprising representatives of Isfahan branch office of ICHTO and Isfahan's city council to deal with the issue. The deadline set by UNESCO has also urged the Iranian and local authorities to take a more serious attitude towards this issue. The ratification of an act dedicated to Jahan Nama modification in the public meeting of Isfahan's city council and the formation of a committee to find a solution out of this crisis indicate the importance of the issue for Iranian officials.

According to the resolution issued by ICOMOS, International Council of Monuments and Sites, which is the responsible body for World Heritage List under UNESCO, if the height of the buidling is not reduced by the deadline, which is February 1, 2006, Naqsh-e-Jahan square will be automatically placed on Endangered World Heritage List.

Being situated just 760 meters away from Naqsh Jahan square, Jahan Nama high-rise is 48 meters. ICOMOS experts believe that the excessive height of this building has intruded the buffer zone boundaries of Naqsh-e-Jahan Square and tainted the landscape of this world heritage site.

... Payvand News - 9/27/05 ... --

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