• Keywords: Iran, Cultural landscape, Bam, fortified city, qanats, mud layer technique, Chineh, mud bricks, Khesht, Congregational Mosque, Mirza Na'im, Mir House, Citadel (Arg-e Bam), Qal'eh Dokhtar, Maiden's Fortress, Emamzadeh Zeyd Mausoleum, Emamzadeh Asiri Mausoleum,

1. OFFICIAL CLASSIFICATIONS AND CATEGORIES

1.1 National and International Classification Lists

Bam Cultural Landscape is classified as a Cultural Landscape by UNESCO since 2004. Minor modification inscribed year: 2007, criteria: (ii)(iii)(iv)(v), ref: 1208bis. Inscription Year on the List of World Heritage in Danger: 2004.

1.2. Cultural Landscape Category/Tipology

Organically evolved landscapes
Relict (or fossil) landscape

1.3. Description and Justification by Med-O-Med

Description

Bam is situated between Jebal Barez Mountains and the Lut Desert at 1,060 m above sea level in south-eastern Iran. Bam and related sites represent a cultural landscape and an exceptional testimony to the development of a trading settlement in the desert environment of the Central Asian region. It developed at the crossroads of important trade routes at the southern side of the Iranian high plateau, and it became an outstanding example of the interaction of the various influences. It is an outstanding example of a fortified settlement and citadel in the Central Asian region, based on the use of mud layer technique (Chineh) combined with mud bricks (Khesht). Also, Bam grew in an oasis created mainly thanks to an underground water management system (qanats). Actually, the cultural landscape of Bam is an outstanding representation of the interaction of man and nature in a desert environment, using this hydraulic system. The system is based on a strict social system with precise tasks and responsibilities, which have been maintained in use until the present, but has now become vulnerable to irreversible change. Med-O-Med agrees to the UNESCO criteria selected to define the site as a Cultural Landscape.

2. NAME / LOCATION / ACCESSIBILITY

  • Current denomination Bam.
  • Current denomination Bam.
  • Original denomination Bam.
  • Popular denomination Bam.
  • Address: In Kerman Province, Bam District.
  • Geographical coordinates: N29 7 0.588 E58 22 0
  • Area, boundaries and surroundings: Bam lies 1,060 metres above sea level in the centre of the valley dominated to the north by the Kafut Mountains and to the south by the Jebal-e Barez Mountains. This valley forms the wider cultural landscape of the Bam County. Beyond the mountains lies the vast Lut Desert of Central Iran.
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BAM CULTURAL LANDSCAPE (IRAN)

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BAM CULTURAL LANDSCAPE (IRAN) 29.116830, 58.366667 BAM CULTURAL LANDSCAPE (IRAN) (Directions)

3. LEGAL ISSUES

  • Owner: Iranian Government.
  • Body responsible for the maintenance: Iranian Government.
  • Legal protection: Bam and its Cultural Landscape are protected since 1945, under Iranian national legislation (Law of Conservation of National Monuments, 3 Nov. 1930), and other instruments of legal control and norms of protection related to architecture and land use control. Illegal excavations are prohibited in Iran. The main management authority is the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO), an independent directorate who collaborates with other national and local authorities and follows a programme that is regularly updated. Some of the listed buildings outside the Arg are the property of other government institutions but changes are subject to permission by ICHHTO. Management involves collaboration particularly with the Religious Endowment Organization (Sazeman-e Owqaf), Ministry of Housing and Town Planning (Vezarat-e Maskan va Shahrsazi), and the Municipalities (Shahrdari) of Bam and Baravat. ICHHTO has two offices in the region, the regional office of Kerman, and the Task Force office in Bam. While the nominated World Heritage property is generally an archaeological area, the buffer zone consists of two towns, Bam and Baravat, and related palm groves. The buffer zone one covers the urban area next to the citadel: any construction activity or alteration here is forbidden without the permission and supervision of the ICHHTO. An extended landscape protection zone is provided, covering the entire town, the irrigation areas and cultivations in Bam and Baravat this allows for land use control. The skyline and views of the Arg will be protected as long as the building height is limited to 10m. Agricultural activity is allowed so far as this will not require constructions disturbing the landscape. Any mining or quarrying is forbidden if it affects the sight of the mountains visible from Bam. The balance between palm groves and built areas is retained the same as before the earthquake.

4. HISTORY

The origins of the citadel of Bam, Arg-e Bam, can be traced back to the Achaemenid period (6th to 4th centuries BC) and even beyond. The heyday of the citadel was from the 7th to 11th centuries, being at the crossroads of important trade routes and known for the production of silk and cotton garments. The beginnings of Bam are fundamentally linked with the invention and development of the qanat system. The technique of using qanats was sufficiently well established in the Achaemenid period (6th-4th centuries BC). A popular belief attributes the foundation of the town itself to Haftvad, who lived at the time of Ardashir Babakan, the founder of the Sassanian Empire (3rd century BC). The name of Bam has been associated with the ‘burst of the worm’ (silk worm). Haftvad is given as the person who introduced silk and cotton weaving to the region of Kerman.

5. GENERAL DESCRIPTION

5.1. Natural heritage

  • Heritage: Urban
  • Geography: High Mountain
  • Site topography: Natural
  • Geological and Geographical characteristics: Bam lies 1,060 metres above sea level in the centre of the valley dominated to the north by the Kafut Mountains and to the south by the Jebal-e Barez Mountains. This valley forms the wider cultural landscape of the Bam County. Beyond the mountains lies the vast Lut Desert of Central Iran.
Water resources:
Water from the Jebal-e Barez Mountains supplies the seasonal Posht-e Rud River that skirts Bam City between Arg-e Bam and Qal’eh Doktar. The Chelekhoneh River and its tributaries gather water from the central parts of the Jebal-e Barez Mountain range. It now runs northeast, although it formerly flowed through the Bam City until it was diverted by a dam into a new course that met with the Posht-e Rud northwest of Bam City. Water from the Kafut Mountains also supplies the catchment area.
Land uses and economical activities:
Tourism. Agricultural.
Agricultural issues or other traditional productions and their effect on the landscape:
Bam grew in an oasis created mainly thanks to an underground water management system (qanats). There are agricultural activity in the site.
Summary of Landscapes values and characteristics:

Bam and its Cultural Landscape represents an outstanding example of an ancient fortified settlement that developed around the Iranian central plateau and is an exceptional testimony to the development of a trading settlement in the desert environment of the Central Asian region. This impressive construction undoubtedly represents the climax and is the most important achievement of its type not only in the area of Bam but also in a much wider cultural region of Western Asia.

5.2. Cultural Heritage

A) Related to current constructions, buildings and art pieces in general

Architectonical elements /Sculptures:

Bam is an outstanding example of a fortified settlement and citadel in the Central Asian region, based on the use of mud layer technique (Chineh) combined with mud bricks (Khesht). The citadel, which contains the governor’s quarters and the fortified residential area, forms the central focus of a vast cultural landscape, which is marked by a series of forts and citadels, now in ruins. The existence of life in the oasis was based on the underground irrigation canals, the qanāts, of which Bam has preserved some of the earliest evidence in Iran and which continue to function till the present time. Arg-e Bam is the most representative example of a fortified medieval town built in vernacular technique using mud layers (Chineh), sun-dried mud bricks (khesht), and vaulted and domed structures. Outside the core area of Arg-e Bam, there are other protected historic structures which include Qal’eh Dokhtar (Maiden’s fortress, ca. 7th century), Emamzadeh Zeyd Mausoleum (11-12th century), and Emamzadeh Asiri Mausoleum (12th century and historic qanāt systems and cultivations southeast of the Arg. Bam grew in an oasis created mainly thanks to an underground water management system (qanats ), which has continued its function until the present day. The principal core zone consists of the Citadel (Arg-e Bam) with its surroundings. Outside this area, the specified remains of protected historic structures include: Qal’eh Dokhtar (Maiden’s Fortress, c . 7th century), Emamzadeh Zeyd Mausoleum (11th-12th centuries), and Emamzadeh Asiri Mausoleum (12th century). The Enclosure of the Citadel (Arg-e Bam) has 38 watchtowers, the principal entrance gate is in the south, and there are three other gates. A moat surrounds the outer defence wall, which encloses the Government Quarters and the historic town of Bam. The impressive Government Quarters are situated on a rocky hill (45 m high) in the northern section of the enclosure, surrounded by a double fortification wall. The main residential quarter of the historic town occupies the southern section of the enclosure. The notable structures include the bazaar extending from the main south entrance towards the governor’s quarters in the north. In the eastern part, buildings include the Congregational Mosque, the Mirza Na’im ensemble (18th century), and the Mir House. The mosque may be one of the oldest built in Iran, going back to the 8th or 9th centuries, probably rebuilt in the 17th century. The north-western area of the enclosure is occupied by another residential quarter, Konari Quarter.

In the case of gardens: original and current style:
It is not the case.
Man-made elements related to water management:
Bam is located in an oasis area, the existence of which has been based on the use of underground water canals, qanāts, and has preserved evidence of the technological development in the building and maintenance of the qanāts over more than two millennia. The system is based on a strict social system with precise tasks and responsibilities, which have been maintained in use until the present, but has now become vulnerable to irreversible change.
B) Related to ancient remains

  • Archaeological components:

    The beginnings of Bam are fundamentally linked with the invention and development of the qanat system. The technique of using qanats was sufficiently well established in the Achaemenid period (6th-4th centuries BC). The archaeological discoveries of ancient qanats in the south-eastern suburbs of Bam are datable at least to the beginning of the 2nd century BC.

  • Historical routes:

    For centuries, Bam had a strategic location on the Silk Roads connecting it to Central Asia in the east, the Persian Gulf in the south, as well as Egypt in the west and it is an example of the interaction of the various influences.

  • Traces in the environment of human activity: Archaeological remains, qanats, architectonical elements.
C) Related to intangible, social and spiritual values

  • Population, ethnic groups: The city was affected by the 6.5 Richter scale earthquake on 26 December 2003. More than 26,000 people lost their lives and a large part of the town was destroyed.
  • Languages and dialects: Persian

5.3. Quality

Condition: environmental/ cultural heritage degradation:
Bam was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004, shortly after it was struck by a major earthquake. Damage caused by the quake warranted the site’s simultaneous inscription on the List of Heritage in Danger. Following the 2003 earthquake (6.6 on the Richter scale, estimated by the United States Geological Survey), a team of experts coordinated by the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office and ICHHTO prepared a Comprehensive Management Plan, 2008-2017, which covers the World Heritage property and was developed through a process involving the local authorities of the County, the five Districts and the municipalities of Bam and Baravat. The new urban master plan for the reconstruction of the City of Bam, prepared in 2004, respects the original street pattern. Conservation and management actions at the property need to guarantee the preservation and presentation of all the key characteristics of the Citadel and the other architectural remains in the inscribed property. The restoration and partial reconstruction of selected elements need to be based on a critical assessment of the reliability of documentary and field evidence, and taking care that the impact on the archaeological and natural setting will not alter the existing balance of the property. The re-establishment of some of the pre-earthquake conditions will need to be in concurrence with international conventions and charters to ensure that the conditions of authenticity and integrity continue to be met. At the same time, conservation and protection of the World Heritage property requires a balanced approach to confer the site its place in the living culture and its contribution to the specific identity of Bam, as well as the values associated with the long and complex history of the city and its associated landscape.
Perspectives/Views/ Points of interest/Setting:

The ancient city, the qanats, etc.

6. VALUES

Tangible

  • Aesthetic
  • Archaeological
  • Architectonical
  • Geological/Geographical
  • Living heritage
The main tangible values of "Bam Cultural Landscape" are: -Aesthetic/Geographical: Bam lies 1,060 metres above sea level in the centre of the valley dominated to the north by the Kafut Mountains and to the south by the Jebal-e Barez Mountains. This valley forms the wider and beatiful cultural landscape of the Bam County. Beyond the mountains lies the vast Lut Desert of Central Iran. Water from the Jebal-e Barez Mountains supplies the seasonal Posht-e Rud River that skirts Bam City between Arg-e Bam and Qal’eh Doktar. The Chelekhoneh River and its tributaries gather water from the central parts of the Jebal-e Barez Mountain range. -Architectonical/Archaeological/Living heritage: The citadel, which contains the governor’s quarters and the fortified residential area, forms the central focus of a vast cultural landscape, which is marked by a series of forts and citadels, now in ruins. The existence of life in the oasis was based on the underground irrigation canals, the qanāts, of which Bam has preserved some of the earliest evidence in Iran and which continue to function till the present time. Arg-e Bam is the most representative example of a fortified medieval town built in vernacular technique using mud layers (Chineh), sun-dried mud bricks (khesht), and vaulted and domed structures. Outside the core area of Arg-e Bam, there are other protected historic structures which include Qal’eh Dokhtar (Maiden’s fortress, ca. 7th century), Emamzadeh Zeyd Mausoleum (11-12th century), and Emamzadeh Asiri Mausoleum (12th century and historic qanāt systems and cultivations southeast of the Arg.

Intangible

  • Historical
The main intangible values of "Bam Cultural Landscape" are: -Historical: The beginnings of Bam are fundamentally linked with the invention and development of the qanat system. The technique of using qanats was sufficiently well established in the Achaemenid period (6th-4th centuries BC). -Social significance/Cultural: Like all water technologies, qanats require a nexus of environmental and social conditions in order to be effective over time. On the Iranian plateau, reliance on qanats promoted high levels of social and ecological adaptation. They inspired a need for social cohesion that permeated virtually all areas of village life. Qanats defined village lifeworlds on the plateau by (1)determining settlement location, (2)structuring built environments within settlements, and (3)requiring social cohesion in water allocation, water distribution, water use, and system maintenance. These lifeworlds framed the horizons of everyday life in plateau settlements, encompassing people’s firsthand involvement with the practical world, the world of values, and the world of goods. With the shift from qanats to deep wells, water-based social patterns are in flux.
Authenticity:
The property maintains several attributes that substantiate its authenticity. In regard to the historic fabric, although some deterioration existed and partial restorations were carried out between 1976 and 2003, these used traditional techniques and materials. The 2003 earthquake caused the collapse of various sections of the Governor’s Quarters and the upper parts of the defence walls. Notwithstanding, much of the lost fabric was from modern restorations. The materials found at the older levels are well preserved and have now been revealed. The traditional culture for architecture and the city plan have also been preserved, including the continuity in workmanship and know-how for earthen architecture construction. To maintain the authenticity of the property, it will be important that interventions follow appropriate restoration principles and guidelines, in accordance to international doctrine, and in consideration to the original materials and techniques. The setting has also maintained many of the historical features that speak to the integration of man and environment and other symbolic associations with the natural landscape. To retain the authenticity of this relationship, the management of the buffer zone will play a critical role, as well as provisions made for the continuation of historic practices and rituals and the continuous function and use of the area.
Universality:
Bam and its Cultural Landscape represents an outstanding example of an ancient fortified settlement that developed around the Iranian central plateau and is an exceptional testimony to the development of a trading settlement in the desert environment of the Central Asian region. This impressive construction undoubtedly represents the climax and is the most important achievement of its type not only in the area of Bam but also in a much wider cultural region of Western Asia. Bam is located in an oasis area, the existence of which has been based on the use of underground water canals, qanāts, and has preserved evidence of the technological development in the building and maintenance of the qanāts over more than two millennia. For centuries, Bam had a strategic location on the Silk Roads connecting it to Central Asia in the east, the Persian Gulf in the south, as well as Egypt in the west and it is an example of the interaction of the various influences. The cultural landscape of Bam is an important representation of the interaction between man and nature and retains a rich resource of ancient canalisations, settlements and forts as landmarks and as a tangible evidence of the evolution of the area. Med-O-Med agrees to the UNESCO criteria to define the site as a Cultural Landscape (ii, iii, iv, v): ii) Bam developed at the crossroads of important trade routes at the southern side of the Iranian high plateau, and it became an outstanding example of the interaction of the various influences. iii) The Bam and its Cultural Landscape represent an exceptional testimony to the development of a trading settlement in the desert environment of the Central Asian region. iv) The city of Bam represents an outstanding example of a fortified settlement and citadel in the Central Asian region, based on the use mud layer technique (chineh) combined with mud bricks (khesht). v) The cultural landscape of Bam is an outstanding representation of the interaction of man and nature in a desert environment, using the qanats. The system is based on a strict social system with precise tasks and responsibilities, which have been maintained in use until the present, but has now become vulnerable to irreversible change.
Values linked to the Islamic culture and civilisation:
Although the methods of qanat construction were carried westwards into the Mediterranen and subsequently into Latin America, qanats and qanat systems attained their maximun development in Iran. They are a tangible expression of Islamic culture and define a way of relation betwen persian people and natural resources (water). The expansion of Islam was involved in the international diffusion of qanat technology. The early Arab invasions spread qanats westward across North Africa and into Cyprus, Sicily, Spain, and the Canary Islands. Bam is also an outstanding example of a fortified settlement and citadel in the Central Asian region, based on the use of mud layer technique (Chineh) combined with mud bricks (Khesht).

7. ENCLOSURES

Historical and graphical data (drawings, paintings, engravings, photographs, literary items…):

Bam Cultural Landscape is one of all of the cultural landscapes of Iran which are included in The Cultural Landscape inventory runned by Med-O-Med.

Bibliography:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1208 http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1208/video http://whc.unesco.org/en/activities/21/ http://whc.unesco.org/en/activities/477/ http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1031 http://whc.unesco.org/en/events/389 http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco-courier/archives/ http://whc.unesco.org/venice2002 http://www.un.org.ir/news/latest-news/unesco-world-heritage-committee-removes-bam-list-danger http://www.payvand.com/news/09/may/1227.html http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/789555.shtml http://www.international.icomos.org/risk/2004/iran2004.pdf http://www.bamjam.net/Iran/Bam.html http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/bam.html -Beekman, C. S., P. S. Weigand, and J. J. Pint. (1999). Old World Irrigation Technology in a New World Context: Qanats in Spanish Colonial Western Mexico, Antiquity 73(279): 440-446. -English, P.W. (1968). The Origin and spread of qanats in the Old World. Proc. of teh AM. Philosophical Society. Vol. 112, p. 170-181. -English, P.W. (1968). The Origin and spread of qanats in the Old World. Proc. of teh AM. Philosophical Society. Vol. 112, p. 170-181. -English, P. (1997). Qanats and Lifeworlds in Iranian Plateau Villages, Proceedings of the Conference: Transformation o-UNESCO. (2001). Convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage. World Heritage Committee. 25 session. Helsinki, Finland. -UNESCO. (2002). Cultural Landscapes: the Challenges of Conservation. Associated Workshops, World Heritage. Ferrara, Italy. -Wulff, H.E. (1968). The Qanats of Iran. Scientific American, April, p. 94-105.

Compiler Data: Sara Martínez Frías.