Underground city added to national heritage list

TEHRAN — The underground city of Sefidshahr, along with six other properties in the province of Isfahan, have recently been added to the national heritage list.

The Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts announced the entries on Saturday in separate letters to the governor-general of the central province, CHTN reported.

Khajeh Naein, Tehranchi and Prvaresh mansions along with Yavari Castle, Ahmad Khan Garden and Sefidshahr Crypt have also been added to the prestigious list.

These underground cities found in almost every corner of the country are a special type of cave architecture. Locals dug underground chambers as hiding places for women, children, and the elderly to deal with infrequent attacks from foreign invaders.

Steeped in a rich history and culture, Isfahan was once a hub of international trade and diplomacy in Iran. Today, it is one of Iran’s top tourist destinations for good reason. The ancient city is full of many architectural marvels such as unparalleled Islamic buildings, bazaars, museums, Persian gardens and tree-lined boulevards. It is a city for walking, getting lost in its maze of bazaars, dozing in beautiful gardens and meeting people.

Isfahan is famous not only for the abundance of great historical bridges, but also for its “life-giving river”, the Zayandeh-Rood, which has long given the city original beauty and fertility. The cool blue tiles of Isfahan’s Islamic buildings and the city’s majestic bridges contrast perfectly with the hot, dry Iranian countryside that surrounds it.

The huge Imam Square, better known as Naghsh-e Jahan Sq. (literary meaning “Image of the World”), is one of the largest in the world (500 m by 160 m), and a majestic example of town planning. Built in the early 17th century, the UNESCO World Heritage Square is dotted with Isfahan’s most interesting sights.

Modern Isfahan is now home to heavy industry, including steel mills and a nuclear facility on its outskirts, however, its inner core wants to be preserved as a priceless gem.


Bonny J. Streater