• Keywords: Iran, Cultural Landscape, Khorramabad, Zagros, archaeological remains, artifacts, prehistoric remains.

1. OFFICIAL CLASSIFICATIONS AND CATEGORIES

1.1 National and International Classification Lists

Khorramabad Valley and its Cultural Landscape was proposed in the Tentative List of UNESCO (named: “Khorramabad Valley”) with date of submission: 09/08/2007, criteria: (i)(iii)(iv)(v), category: cultural, and ref.: 5209.

1.2. Cultural Landscape Category/Tipology

Organically evolved landscapes
Relict (or fossil) landscape
Associative cultural landscape
1

1.3. Description and Justification by Med-O-Med

Description

Khorramabad valley is situated in the central heights of Luristan and at heart of limy mounts. If the site is proposed as a Cultural site in the Tentative List of UNESCO, Med-O-Med has decided to give one more step considering the site as Cultural Landscape (associative and relict landscape), taking into account its natural and cultural heritage (UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Article 1, 1972, Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, 2008): -Its Natural Heritage Components: Because of abundant water reservoirs and different types of plants and animals, suitable weather and natural defense facilities among Zagros Mountains as well as its special situation as a passage, it has had a great importance through history and has been the origin of life for 40000 years in this region. -Its Cultural Heritage Components: It is of few Zagros natural passages possessing civilization earlier than the two sides of Zagros Mountains. This valley comprises of at least 20 pre-historic properties such as caves, shelters and ancient sites as well as 20 ancient Tepes and 15 historical properties.

2. NAME / LOCATION / ACCESSIBILITY

  • Current denomination Khorramabad (Persian: خرم آباد‎).
  • Current denomination Khorramabad (Persian: خرم آباد‎).
  • Original denomination Khorramabad (Persian: خرم آباد‎).
  • Popular denomination Khorramabad (Persian: خرم آباد‎).
  • Address: Khorramabad, Luristan Province
  • Geographical coordinates: 33°29′16″N 48°21′21″E
  • Area, boundaries and surroundings: Khorramabad valley is situated in the central heights of Luristan and at heart of limy mounts, in the Zagros Mountains.
  • Access and transport facilities: Khorramabad Airport is 3 km south of the city proper.
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KHORRAMABAD VALLEY AND ITS CULTURAL LANDSCAPE (IRAN)

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KHORRAMABAD VALLEY AND ITS CULTURAL LANDSCAPE (IRAN) 33.487778, 48.355833 KHORRAMABAD VALLEY AND ITS CULTURAL LANDSCAPE (IRAN) (Directions)

3. LEGAL ISSUES

  • Owner: Iranian Government.
  • Body responsible for the maintenance: Iranian Government.

4. HISTORY

Khoramabad is the capital of Luristan province. The city was founded in the Sassanid period and was first known as Shapur Khast meaning “as desired by Shapur”. The name was later changed to Dezh-e Siyah meaning “black palace”. Because of abundant water reservoirs and different types of plants and animals, suitable weather and natural defense facilities among Zagros Mountains as well as its special situation as a passage, it has had a great importance through history and has been the origin of life for 40000 years in this region. It is of few Zagros natural passages possessing civilization earlier than the two sides of Zagros Mountains. This valley comprises of at least 20 pre-historic properties such as caves, shelters and ancient sites as well as 20 ancient Tepes and 15 historical properties.

5. GENERAL DESCRIPTION

5.1. Natural heritage

  • Heritage: Archaeological
  • Geography: High Mountain
  • Site topography: Natural
  • Climate and environmental conditions: Khorramabad has what is classed under the Köppen climate classification as a Mediterranean climate (Csa), owing to its high altitude making it much wetter than lowland cities like Baghdad or cities more shielded from the Zagros Mountains like Esfahan and Tehran. It remains extremely hot in the summer even with very low humidity, but the winter is sufficiently wet for rainfed agriculture, though much colder than classic Mediterranean climates.
  • Geological and Geographical characteristics: Zagros Mountain.
Land uses and economical activities:
Although not a major tourist destination, it is quite scenic and possesses several attractions, such as 5 Paleolithic cave-dwelling sites. In the city center, a tall citadel called Falak-ol-Aflak (The Heaven of Heavens), a relic of the Sassanid era, is now a nationally popular museum. Economically, it is the regional base of the agricultural industry.
Agricultural issues or other traditional productions and their effect on the landscape:
Agricultural industry.
Summary of Landscapes values and characteristics:

Khoramabad is the capital of Luristan province. In the centre of the city on a rocky hilltop are the ruins of a Sassanid palace known as Falak Al-Aflak (“the sky of skies”) since the Qajar period. Various reconstructions and improvements were carried out in the following centuries.

5.2. Cultural Heritage

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

In the case of gardens: original and current style:
It is not the case.
B) Related to ancient remains

  • Archaeological components:

    Judging from scarce archaeological evidence, the intermontane valleys in the Zagros Mountain chain havebeen occupied by hunter-gatherers at least since the endof the Middle Pleistocene. This valley comprises of at least 20 pre-historic properties such as caves, shelters and ancient sites as well as 20 ancient Tepes and 15 historical properties. There have been found Middle Paleolithic (Mousterian) artifacts, and the rest consisted of Upper Paleolithic and Epipaleolithic materials. Over two year period, scientifics excavated or tested Ghamari and Kunji Caves (both Middle Paleolithic, the Gar Arjeneh rockshelter (Middle and Upper Paleolithic), and Yafteh Cave (Upper Paleolithic).

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

  • Population, ethnic groups: At the 2006 census, the population of the city was 328,544, in 75,945 families. The city population is predominantly Lur and Lak, although the two groups are closely related.
  • Languages and dialects: Persian

5.3. Quality

Perspectives/Views/ Points of interest/Setting:

-The archaeological remains. -The city itself. -Zagros mountains.

6. VALUES

Tangible

  • Aesthetic
  • Archaeological
  • Geological/Geographical
The main tangible values of "Khorramabad Valley and its Cultural Landscape" are: -Aesthetic/ Geographical: From the summit of Zagros mountains, visitors will have a panoramic view of the countryside, and of the Khorramabad valley and city. -Archaeological: This valley comprises of at least 20 pre-historic properties such as caves, shelters and ancient sites as well as 20 ancient Tepes and 15 historical properties.

Intangible

  • Historical
The main intangible value of "Khorramabad Valley and its Cultural Landscape" is historical. Because of abundant water reservoirs and different types of plants and animals, suitable weather and natural defense facilities among Zagros Mountains as well as its special situation as a passage, it has had a great importance through history and has been the origin of life for 40000 years in this region.
Authenticity:
Incomparable site in terms of the number of bas-reliefs and the historic, political, religious, sociable, artistic values involved, but comparable with similar works in Naqsh-e Rostam, Naqsh-e Raja, Tap-e Chugan and Firuzabad, in Fars Province.
Universality:
Med-O-med agrees to the UNESCO criteria (i, iii, iv, v) to define the site as a Cultural Landscape: i) The archaeological remains found in the site represents a masterpiece of human creative genius. iii) Khorramabad Valley bears an exceptional testimony to the iranian cultural tradition. iv) The ancient remains and the ruins are outstanding examples of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates significant stages in human history. v) The city is an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement and land-use which is representative of its culture.

7. ENCLOSURES

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

Khorramabad Valley and its 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/tentativelists/5209/ http://whc.unesco.org/venice2002 http://www.iranvisitor.com/city-guides/luristan-guide http://siris-archives.si.edu/ipac20/ipac.jsp?uri=full=3100001~!292567!0 http://academia.edu/2002487/Recent_Paleolithic_Surveys_in_Luristan -Baumler, M. et al. (1993). A Middle Paleolithic Assemblage from Kunji Cave, Iran. pp. 1–74 In Olszewski, Deborah and Dibble, Harold Lewis (editors) (1993) The Paleolithic prehistory of the Zagros-Taurus The University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ISBN 978-0-924171-24-6 -Baumler, M. et al. (1993). A Middle Paleolithic assemblage from Kunji Cave, Iran. In The Paleolithic prehistory of the Zagros-Taurus. Edited by D. Olszewski andH. Dibble.Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum. -Bewley, R.H. (1980). Houmian, Iran. M.Phil. thesis, Depart-ment of Archaeology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge,U.K. -Hamed, V .Recent Paleolithic Surveys in Luristanmore. Center for Archaeological Research, No. 15 , EkbatanSt., Baharestan Sq., Tehran, Iran (Roustaei)/ Department of Anthropology, Arizona StateUniversity, Tempe, AZ 85287-2042. -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.

Compiler Data: Sara Martínez Frías.