UNESCO and the European Union launched the project “Silk Roads Heritage Corridors in Afghanistan, Central Asia and Iran – International Dimension of the European Year of Cultural Heritage” in October 2018. The overall project objective is to strengthen the contribution of culture to sustainable progress, notably through heritage-based tourism development, diversification of tourism products and delivery of high-quality visitor experiences along the Silk Roads heritage corridors in the participating countries.
Within the framework of this project, several Silk Roads heritage sites in Afghanistan, Central Asia and Iran will be selected for conservation/restoration, rehabilitation and promotion to reveal their importance for the cultural identity of the region and for promoting inter-cultural dialogue and social cohesion. Historically, the Silk Road was a network of trade routes connecting China and the Far East with the Middle East and Europe. For thousands of years, the Silk Roads have connected civilizations and brought peoples and cultures in contact with each other from across the world, permitting not only an exchange of goods but also an interaction of ideas and cultures that has shaped our world today.
In the I.R. of Iran, UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office is extending support to the Iranian Cultural Heritage Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) for the restoration of the Silk Road Caravansary, the “Yengi Emam Caravansary”, which dates back to the reign of the Safavid Shah Abbas the Great (16th -17th Century). The “Caravansary” is the one of the most important forms of Persian architecture that emerged across the Silk Roads and provided a unique venue for exchanges of goods and traditions among travelers coming from the most diverse cultures.
Located in Alborz Province, in the ancient hills of the old Yengi Emam village, the Caravansary will be used as a Cultural Center after the restoration works are completed, in a first initiative of its kind in Iran. Over the past months, UNESCO and ICHHTO have been conducting advanced documentation of the Caravansary, using 3D laser scanning and aerial photogrammetry techniques, in view of the upcoming restoration works. Currently, the most appropriate interventions are being discussed with the national authorities of Iran and works are expected to take place in autumn 2019.
This project is jointly implemented by UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office and Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) with financial support of the European Union.