The 1,750-year-old Academy of Gondishapur, also known as Jondishapur University,in the southern Iranian city of Dezful has been registered as a World Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Head of Gondishapur, Mohammad Reza Assari, said the university was registered on November 3 in the UNESCO’s list of world heritage.
In a Farsi interview with ISNA, Assari also said the idea to register Gondishapur University in the UNESCO’s world heritage list was raised first three years ago while the arrangements to hold Gondishapur Congress were being made.
Assari went on saying the registration was made with the aim of reintroducing the long history of the Academy of Gondishapur. “We shared our historical evidence with the UNESCO office in Iran.”
The head of the university said the office confirmed the authenticity of the evidence and the board of the directors is now waiting for the final registration of the university by the world body.
Elsewhere in his interview, Assari added the university was established in 271. “We are happy that the treasure which we had closed our eyes on is now recognized internationally as a historical and ancient site. Today, we can say that Iran is hosting the most ancient higher education centre in the world.”
Assari stressed the Gondishapur University in Dezful has been recognized as the first university in the world. “So far the UNESCO has confirmed our evidence on the history of the university.”
According to Assari, right now many foreign tourists travel to Dezful to visit the world’s oldest university. “In his book on the history of Gondishapur University, Mahmoud Mahfuz from Turkey quotes a line inscribed on the gate of the educational centre saying science and knowledge stand higher compared with sward and force.”
The world’s oldest university was built by Shapour I of Sassanid dynasty in a namesake city which stood near the existing city of Dezful. It included a medical school and was a centrefor training scientists for centuries to come. Iranian, Greek, Indian and Roman scientists conducted studies and scientific research there.