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Exploring the Land of Ancient Civilizations


If you"re looking for opportunities to explore the glory and splendor of a matchless and magnificent civilization firsthand, the ancient land of Iran has much to offer you with its unparalleled beauties and wonderful antiquities.

Although it might be the case that the mainstream media have deprived you of beholding the exquisiteness of Iran by portraying a fallacious and deceptive image of the country as a part of their anti-Iranian propaganda project, you can personally search to discover in Iran what is practically impossible to find in the rest of the world.

The Western state-run corporate media are trying their best to convince you that Iran is not a safe and secure place to visit. It"s the essence of their black propaganda directed against Iran discriminatorily; however, if you once made the courageous decision to visit the cradle of Mesopotamian civilization, you"ll finally come to the conclusion that Iran is absolutely different from what you"ve been told. The first experience of visiting Iran is enough to persuade you that this ancient land is worth visiting tens of times.

From hundreds of monuments, historical buildings, ancient sites, complexes and cities which are located all around Iran, let"s stop by the most popular three out of ten places which are registered in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

World Heritage Sites are considered to be of special cultural or physical significance and should be vigilantly protected by the international community and the country which they"re situated in. As of 2009, 890 sites are listed by the UNESCO globally.

Should you once decided to take a visit of Iran, you"re highly recommended to take into account the following three World Heritage Sites which constitute the most valuable legacy of Iran"s 7,500-year-old civilization.

1- Persepolis:

Active ImageI don"t know of any foreign tourist, including my non-Iranian friends, who has concluded his trip to Iran without taking a visit of Persepolis. Persepolis is actually the heart of Iran"s ancient civilization and the pure manifestation of Persian glory.

Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of Achaemenid dynasty. The early remnants of Persepolis date back to 515 BCE. According to the French archaeologist and architect André Godard who designed the National Museum of Iran, Cyrus the Great first chose the site of Persepolis as his capital; however, Darius the Great expanded its halls and peripheral buildings consequently, ordering the construction of Apadana Palace and the Council Hall as the appendixes of the main structure.

Persepolis includes a number of enormous buildings which exist on its terrace including The Gate of All Nations, The Throne Hall and The Tomb of King of Kings. The façades, porticos, gates and walls of the Persepolis are beautifully ornamented with oriental, Persian sketches and bas reliefs that depict various scenes of the ancient Persian lifestyle.




2- Naqsh-e Jahan Square

Active ImageAlso known as Imam Square, Naqsh-e Jahan Square is one of the world"s largest squares, situated at the center of Isfahan city. It is 160 meters wide by 508 meters long. Several remarkable buildings with unique features that render them outstanding historical constructions are located at each corner of this square. One of the most beautiful buildings in Naqsh-e Jahan Square is the Ali Qapu Palace. It was a ceremonial palace belonging to the Safavid Dynasty that ruled Iran from 1501 to 1722. Ali Qapu Palace is 34 meters high with an area of 1,800 square meters, 6 stories and 53 rooms. It was used as the royal fortress of Shah Abbas I.

The northern side of the square opens into the Grand Bazaar of Isfahan which is one of the oldest bazaars of the Middle East dating back to the 17th century. The French jeweler and traveler Jean-Baptiste Chardin has written about the Grand Bazaar of Isfahan extensively. His ten-volume book "The Travels of Sir John Chardin" is one of the remarkable scholarly books written about the history of Ancient Persia.



3- Soltaniyeh

Active ImageSoltaniyeh is one of the cities in Iran"s western province of Zanjan. The Soltaniyeh Dome is the world"s largest brick-made dome. It also retains the record of world"s oldest double-shell dome. In 2005, the Soltaniyeh Dome was registered in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

The building used to be the capital of Ilkhanid dynasty in the 14th century. The interior mosaics, faiences, murals and frescos of the Soltaniyeh Dome are superlatively beautiful and attractive. They are consisted of Persian calligraphic elements and ornamental components.

The French archaeologist André Godard has described the dome elaborately: "Definitely, it is the most excellent instance of Mongolian architecture and one of the best breakthroughs of Iran"s Islamic architecture and perhaps the most attractive one of them technically."

From the viewpoint of architectural importance and historical significance, Soltaniyeh Dome is compared to Italy"s Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral.

Iran has seven other historical magnets registered in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites: Behistun Inscription in the Kermanshah province, Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System and Chogha Zanbil ziggurat in the Khuzestan province, Bam and its Cultural Landscape in the Kerman province, Pasargadae city in the Fars province, The Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran in the Eastern Azerbaijan province and Takht-i-Suleiman in the Western Azerbaijan province.

According to the officials of Cultural Heritage Organization, Iran"s 11th international site will be registered in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites during the 34th session of the World Heritage Committee that is arranged to be held from July 25 to August 3 in Brasilia, Brazil. The Grand Bazaar of Tabriz which is reportedly the largest covered construction of the world is the 11th site of Iran whose registration proposal was submitted to the committee last year.

Your travel to Iran can be juxtaposed with a lot of dynamism, attraction and interest if you consider visiting the international historical sites of the country as your main agenda. Aside from these sites, a number of undetected and hidden sites are available to be seen by you if your travel is slated to be an impressive and unforgettable exploration of the heart of Iran"s longstanding and respectable civilization.



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