The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in its 40th session since July 10 in Turkey, inscribed eleven Iranian qanats on the World Heritage List.
Here is IFP’s report on the inscription:
Qanats were vital for the ancient Persian people to supply water for agriculture and permanent settlements.
These access shafts used to transport water is still in place in some locations, allowing equitable and sustainable water-sharing and distribution.
The 11 qanats representing the Persian Qanat in Iran include rest areas for workers, water reservoirs and watermills.
UNESCO highlighted that these Qanats provide exceptional testimony to cultural traditions and civilizations in desert areas with an arid climate, the UN’s website reported.
Throughout the arid regions of Iran, agricultural and permanent settlements are supported by the ancient qanat system of tapping alluvial aquifers at the heads of valleys and conducting the water along underground tunnels by gravity, often over many kilometres.
Qanat is a gently sloping underground channel with a series of vertical access shafts, used to transport water from an aquifer under a hill. Qanats create a reliable supply of water for human settlements and irrigation in hot, arid, and semi-arid climates.
The historical importance and complex system of qanat as well as their benefits for ecosystem were the main reasons for their registration, Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicraft Organization announced in a press release on Friday, July 15.
Two of the registered qanats are located in northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi; the Ghasabeh qanat of Gonabad, the oldest qanat in the world which is more than 2,500 years old, and Baladeh qanat of Ferdows for its complex water distribution system.
In Yazd Province, Zarch qanat, which is the longest qanat in the world with a length of 71km, and Hassan Abad Moshir qanat, whose high volume and good quality of water is well-known, are also on the list.
Among other qanats inscribed on the list are Gohar-Riz qanat, Akbarabad qanat and Ghassemabad qanat from Kerman Province. The first is registered for its fault-based water supply and the two others for being twin qanats, Tehran Times reported.
Three qanats from Isfahan Province are also on the list; Moun qanat for being the only double-decked qanat in the world, and Vazvan qanat and Mozdabad qanat for using underground dams.
Ebrahimabad qanat in central Arak Province is also amongst the 11 registered items, which is inscribed for its conical shape.
Persian qanats were inscribed on the World Heritage as Iran’s 20th item in the list. The first Iranian sites to be registered in the World Heritage List were Tchogha Zanbil in Khuzestan Province, Naqsh-e Jahan [or Imam] Square in Isfahan, and Persepolis in Fars Province, which were inscribed in 1979.