UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Iran

Explore Iran‘s amazing history and nature with its 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites! Walk through ancient cities like Persepolis, admire beautiful Isfahan, or see the unique water system in Shushtar. Hike the Hyrcanian forests, relics of the ice age, or discover the mysteries of the Tchogha Zanbil ziggurat. With so many wonders, Iran has an unforgettable adventure for everyone.

Imam Square (Isfahan)

Step back in time at Imam Square  in Isfahan, Iran. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a stunning example of 17th-century Safavid era architecture. Towering over the square are the magnificent Imam Mosque (Masjid-e Shah) and Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, both adorned with intricate tilework and calligraphy. Opposite them stands the Ali Qapu Palace, a lavish royal residence. Wander through the bustling bazaar or take a horse-drawn carriage ride for a truly immersive experience.

Persepolis (Shiraz)

Journey back to the heart of the ancient Achaemenid Empire at Persepolis, near Shiraz, Iran. This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts awe-inspiring palaces, intricate sculptures, and imposing staircases that once served as the ceremonial capital of the empire. Marvel at the Apadana Palace, the Hall of Audience, where foreign dignitaries were received. Walk through the Gate of All Nations, a symbolic entrance showcasing the vastness of the empire. Persepolis is a testament to the power and artistry of a bygone era, offering a glimpse into the grandeur of ancient Persia.

Tchogha Zanbil Ziggurat (Ahvaz)

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Journey to ancient Mesopotamia in Iran and discover the Tchogha Zanbil ziggurat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site near Ahvaz. This unique stepped pyramid dates back to the Elamite civilization (1275-653 BC) and is the best-preserved example of its kind. Dedicated to the god Inshushinak, the ziggurat’s mudbrick structure rises in tiers, offering a glimpse into the architectural ingenuity of this bygone era. Explore the surrounding temples and archaeological complex to delve deeper into the fascinating history of Elam.

Takht e Soleyman (West Azerbaijan province)

Journey to the ancient city of Takht-e Soleyman in Iran, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once a capital of the Sasanian Empire, this archaeological marvel offers a glimpse into a bygone era. Explore the ruins of a royal city, including a fire temple, a grand palace, and a unique four- Iwan structure. Takht-e Soleyman’s remote location adds to its mystique, making it a perfect destination for history buffs and adventure seekers alike.

Bam (Kerman)

Journey to Bam, a captivating city in Iran’s Kerman province, and embark on a historical adventure. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bam boasts the spectacular Bam Citadel, a mudbrick fortress that remarkably withstood centuries of harsh desert conditions. Sadly, a devastating earthquake in 2003 heavily damaged the citadel. However, extensive restoration efforts are underway, allowing visitors to appreciate its architectural significance and resilience. Explore the ancient citadel and delve into Bam’s rich history, a captivating experience for any explorer.

Pasargadae (Shiraz)

Journey to the ancient Persian Empire at Pasargadae, near Shiraz, Iran. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this archaeological marvel was once the capital of the Achaemenid dynasty. Explore the tomb of Cyrus the Great, a towering structure honoring the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Marvel at the intricate details and bas-reliefs adorning the Gate of All Nations, a symbolic entrance to the complex. Pasargadae offers a captivating glimpse into the artistry and power of this bygone era.

Soltanieh Dome (Zanjan)

Unveiling architectural ingenuity, Soltanieh in Iran’s Zanjan province boasts a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This 14th-century marvel centers around the Soltaniyeh Dome, a magnificent mausoleum crowned with the world’s largest brick dome. Its turquoise-tiled brilliance and innovative double-shell design leave visitors awestruck. Explore the surrounding octagonal building adorned with exquisite calligraphy and geometric patterns, a testament to the fusion of Persian and Islamic architectural styles. Soltanieh offers a captivating glimpse into Iran’s rich history and architectural prowess

Bisotun (Kermanshah)

While “Bisoun” in Kermanshah is currently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, history buffs can still explore ancient wonders in the region. Kermanshah boasts impressive archaeological sites like Bisotun, famed for its Achaemenid-era rock reliefs. For a deeper dive into Iranian history, consider visiting nearby UNESCO treasures like Taq Bostan, with its Sasanian-era rock carvings, or UNESCO-listed Takht-e Soleyman, an ancient royal city.

Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran (Azerbaijan provinces)

Journey off the beaten path and discover the Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nestled in northwestern Iran, this collection of monasteries showcases Armenian Christian architecture and artistic traditions from the 7th to the 16th centuries. Explore the St. Thaddeus Monastery, believed to be founded by one of Jesus’ apostles, and admire its blend of Armenian, Byzantine, and Persian styles. Witness the exquisite craftsmanship of the Saint Stepanos Monastery and the Chapel of Dzordzor. These well-preserved ensembles stand as a testament to the rich cultural and religious exchange between Armenia and Iran.

Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System (Ahvaz)

While not quite in Ahvaz itself, history buffs and engineering marvels will be amazed by the Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System, located just a short distance away in Khuzestan Province. Dating back to the Sassanian era, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a marvel of ancient ingenuity. Canals, dams, and watermills work together to this day, showcasing the incredible water management system developed over 2,500 years ago. Explore the Shushtar Waterfalls, a cascading wonder created by the Gargar Canal, or marvel at the intricate bridge-dams that controlled the flow of the Karun River. This unique site offers a glimpse into Iran’s rich history of innovation and its deep connection to water.

Sheikh Safi al-din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble (Ardebil)

Unveiling Islamic mysticism and Safavid dynasty history, the Sheikh Safi al-din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble in Ardabil, Iran, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This spiritual complex encompasses a Sufi lodge (khānegāh), a shrine, and a tomb. Built between the 16th and 18th centuries, the ensemble reflects Safavid architecture and incorporates elements of Ilkhanid and Timurid styles. Explore the seven sections symbolizing Sufi mystical stages, each leading you closer to the revered tomb of Sheikh Safi al-din, the founder of the Safavid order. Admire the stunning tilework, calligraphy, and intricate architecture, all whispering tales of Iran’s rich religious and artistic heritage.

Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex

Lose yourself in the labyrinthine wonder of Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s largest covered bazaars. Travelers for centuries have weaved through its vibrant alleys, encountering a dazzling array of spices, carpets, handicrafts, and local treasures. Each historic caravanserai within the complex offers a glimpse into the rich history of trade along the Silk Road. Don’t miss the chance to experience the captivating atmosphere and immerse yourself in the heart of Iranian commerce.

The Persian Garden

Unveiling a paradise on Earth, Iran’s Persian Gardens are a UNESCO World Heritage Site unlike any other. Designed with geometric precision, these captivating gardens incorporate refreshing water channels, fragrant flowerbeds, and towering trees. This unique style, exemplified by the Chehel Sotoun or the Bagh-e Fin, reflects a deep connection with nature and a desire to create an earthly haven. Explore these tranquil spaces and discover a legacy of innovation and beauty that has influenced garden design for centuries.

Gonbad-e Qābus (Golestan Province)

Journey to Iran and marvel at the Gonbad-e Qābus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This 11th-century brick tower tomb stands a staggering 53 meters tall, making it the world’s tallest brick tower. Located in Gonbad-e Kavus, northeastern Iran, the tower is a masterpiece of early Islamic architecture. Its intricate geometric design and conical roof influenced tomb construction throughout the region. Explore this awe-inspiring monument and immerse yourself in Iran’s rich history and architectural heritage.

Masjed-e Jāmé of Isfahan


Unveiling over 12 centuries of history, Masjed-e Jāmé of Isfahan in Iran is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a dazzling architectural masterpiece. This grand mosque is a testament to the evolution of Islamic architecture, boasting elements from various dynasties. Explore the four-iwan courtyard layout, a hallmark of Seljuk design. Marvel at the intricate tilework and calligraphy adorning the mosque’s walls, reflecting the artistry of the Safavid era. Don’t miss the Oljeitu prayer hall, renowned for its stunning stucco decorations. Masjed-e Jāmé is a must-visit for anyone seeking a journey through Iranian art and history.

Golestan Palace (Tehran)

Unveiling a bygone era of opulence, Tehran’s Golestan Palace is a must-see for history buffs. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this grand complex boasts 19th-century royal buildings showcasing the architectural flair of the Qajar era. Explore courtyards adorned with glittering pools, wander through museums brimming with royal treasures, and marvel at the intricate tilework and calligraphy that grace the palace walls. Golestan Palace offers a captivating glimpse into the grandeur of Iran’s Qajar dynasty.

Shahr-e Sokhte (Sistan)

Unearth the secrets of Iran’s ancient past at Shahr-i Sokhta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dating back to the Bronze Age, this city flourished as a major trading center for over 1,000 years. Explore the archaeological remains to discover impressive urban planning, showcasing sophisticated mudbrick structures and a complex drainage system. Shahr-i Sokhta also holds significance for its advancements in metallurgy, with evidence of early bronze production techniques. This fascinating site offers a glimpse into a bygone era of human innovation and trade.

Cultural Landscape of Maymand (Kerman)

Journey into a unique way of life at the Cultural Landscape of Maymand in Iran. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a living example of a traditional troglodyte (cave dwelling) settlement. In this arid region, villagers have carved homes into the soft rock for millennia, creating a network of underground spaces. Maymand also boasts a sophisticated water management system, showcasing the ingenuity of its inhabitants. Explore this remarkable cultural landscape and discover a way of life almost untouched by time.

Susa (Ahvaz)

Unearth the ancient secrets of Susa, Iran, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This historic city, once the capital of the Elamite Empire, boasts impressive archaeological remains dating back millennia. Explore the Apadana Palace, a grand audience hall built by Darius the Great, or decipher the mysteries of the Danial Tomb, a revered pilgrimage site. Susa offers a captivating journey through the layers of Iranian history, perfect for archaeology and history buffs.

Lut Desert (Kerman)

Experience the awe-inspiring extremes of Iran’s Lut Desert, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nicknamed the “Emptiness Plain,” Lut boasts scorching temperatures, some of the hottest recorded on Earth. This hyper-arid landscape is sculpted by relentless winds, forming spectacular yardangs (yard-long landforms) with towering, corrugated ridges. Explore vast plains, towering sand dunes, and dramatic rocky plateaus. The Lut Desert offers a glimpse into a world of stark beauty and a unique ecosystem adapted to survive in one of Earth’s most challenging environments

The Persian Qanat


Marvel at Iran’s ancient engineering marvel the Persian Qanat. This ingenious underground water management system, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has thrived for over 3,000 years. Qanats tap into natural aquifers and channel water through gently sloping tunnels, often stretching for kilometers, bringing life-giving water to arid regions. Explore the network of vertical shafts that provided ventilation and access for maintenance, and discover a testament to Iranian innovation that still irrigates fields and sustains communities today.

Historic City of Yazd

Unveiling the secrets of desert life, Yazd in Iran is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that boasts a unique history and architectural marvels. Nicknamed the “City of Windcatchers” for its iconic towers that cool homes naturally, Yazd showcases traditional mudbrick architecture perfectly adapted to the arid climate. Explore the labyrinthine alleys of the old town, marvel at the Amir Chaqmaq Complex with its caravanserai, mosque, and towering gateway, or delve into Zoroastrian history at the centuries-old fire temples. Yazd offers a fascinating glimpse into a bygone era where innovation and tradition thrived in harmony.

 Sassanid Archaeological Landscape  (Fars Province)

Journey back to the Sasanian Empire (3rd-7th centuries AD) at the Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars Region in Iran. This UNESCO World Heritage Site encompasses eight grand archaeological sites spread across three areas: Firuzabad, Bishapur, and Sarvestan. Explore the remains of Sasanian capitals, marvel at intricate rock reliefs and sculptures, and wander through the well-preserved city plans. This sprawling landscape offers a fascinating glimpse into the power, artistry, and engineering marvels of a bygone era.

Hyrcanian Forests (Gilan)

Escape the arid landscapes and discover a verdant paradise in Iran’s Hyrcanian Forests. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, these ancient broadleaf forests stretch along the Caspian Sea coast, a relic of the last glacial period. Hike amidst towering oaks, hornbeams, and oriental beeches, teeming with diverse wildlife like Persian leopards and rare birds. Explore Golestan National Park, a jewel of the Hyrcanian ecosystem, or trek through the lush valleys for an unforgettable encounter with nature’s grandeur.

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