Fortified Armenian monasteries in Iran were added to the new sites inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List on 6 July.
The Armenian Monastic Ensembles in Iran, in the north-west of the country, consists of three monastic ensembles of the Armenian Christian faith: St Thaddeus and St Stepanos and the Chapel of Dzordzor. These edifices - the oldest of which, St Thaddeus, dates back to the 7th century – are examples of outstanding universal value of the Armenian architectural and decorative traditions. They bear testimony to very important interchanges with the other regional cultures, in particular the Byzantine, Orthodox and Persian. Situated on the south-eastern fringe of the main zone of the Armenian cultural space, the monasteries constituted a major centre for the dissemination of that culture into Azerbayjan and Persia. They are the last regional remains of this culture that are still in a satisfactory state of integrity and authenticity. Furthermore, as places of pilgrimage, the monastic ensembles are living witnesses of Armenian religious traditions through the centuries.
This is the fourth cultural site to be added onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List since the start of the current session of the World Heritage Committee today. The three properties inscribed earlier today were: Le Morne Cultural Landscape in Mauritius, The Al-Hijr Archaeological Site (Madâin Sâlih) in Saudi Arabia, and the Fujian Tulou in China.