The property of Bam and its Cultural Landscape is located on the southern edge of the Iranian high plateau, in Kerman Province, in south-eastern Iran, close to the Pakistan border. Bam lies 1,060 metres above sea level in the centre of the valley dominated to the north by the Kafut Mountains and to the south by the Jebal-e Barez Mountains. This valley forms the wider cultural landscape of the Bam County. Beyond the mountains lies the vast Lut Desert of Central Iran. Water from the Jebal-e Barez Mountains supplies the seasonal Posht-e Rud River that skirts Bam City between Arg-e Bam and Qal’eh Doktar. The Chelekhoneh River and its tributaries gather water from the central parts of the Jebal-e Barez Mountain range. It now runs northeast, although it formerly flowed through the Bam City until it was diverted by a dam into a new course that met with the Posht-e Rud northwest of Bam City. Water from the Kafut Mountains also supplies the catchment area.

The origins of the citadel of Bam, Arg-e Bam, can be traced back to the Achaemenid period (6th to 4th centuries BC) and even beyond. The heyday of the citadel was from the 7th to 11th centuries, being at the crossroads of important trade routes and known for the production of silk and cotton garments. The citadel, which contains the governor’s quarters and the fortified residential area, forms the central focus of a vast cultural landscape, which is marked by a series of forts and citadels, now in ruins. The existence of life in the oasis was based on the underground irrigation canals, the qanāts, of which Bam has preserved some of the earliest evidence in Iran and which continue to function till the present time. Arg-e Bam is the most representative example of a fortified medieval town built in vernacular technique using mud layers (Chineh), sun-dried mud bricks (khesht), and vaulted and domed structures. Outside the core area of Arg-e Bam, there are other protected historic structures which include Qal’eh Dokhtar (Maiden’s fortress, ca. 7th century), Emamzadeh Zeyd Mausoleum (11-12th century), and Emamzadeh Asiri Mausoleum (12th century) and historic qanāt systems and cultivations southeast of the Arg.

Bam and its Cultural Landscape represents an outstanding example of an ancient fortified settlement that developed around the Iranian central plateau and is an exceptional testimony to the development of a trading settlement in the desert environment of the Central Asian region. This impressive construction undoubtedly represents the Read more about this site on the UNESCO World Heritage website.

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Country profile

Capital: Tehran
Region: Asia and the Pacific

Related Information

  • Route: Land