Urban development projects incompatible with the regulations of world heritage sites could lead to the removal of the historical texture of Yazd Province from UNESCO’s list, an expert at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization said.
The recent demolition of a half-ruined building in the province was suspended by the Protection Unit of ICHHTO early this month, after it raised concerns among heritage authorities and compelled them to discuss the risk factors.
Speaking to ILNA, Eskandar Mokhtari, a member of ICHHTO’s Technical Council, said Yazd faces a serious challenge over maintaining its global status.
“The permit issued prior to Yazd’s global status needs revision to comply with the updated regulations set for historical sites,” he said.
Based on international regulations, heavy vehicles are not allowed in the vicinity of vulnerable historical zones and demolition of buildings has to be carried out with great care so as to not damage the neighboring structures.
Furthermore, urban construction standards, including the maximum height of buildings, the extent of construction and buffer zones of historical sites, should also be strictly enforced.
Emphasizing the pivotal role of the public in getting the UNESCO status for Yazd’s historical texture, the official said the local residents’ love of hometown and their efforts for preserving the local color and historical ambiance of the city is influential in retaining the status.
Mokhtari noted that the residents keep the city clean and avoid establishing heterogeneous commercial centers that may harm the archaic texture of the city.
“Nevertheless, the global status of the city will be endangered if governorates, municipalities, city councils and ICHHTO offices fail to fulfill their duties to preserve the historical values of the world heritage site,” he warned. The historical city of Yazd became Iran’s 22nd world heritage site after the World Heritage Committee voted in favor of its inscription on July 9, 2017, during the committee’s 41st session in Krakow, Poland.