Iran’s UNESCO Heritage Sites

UNESCO World Heritage Sites are cultural or natural landmarks recognized for their outstanding universal value and importance to humanity. These sites are carefully selected, protected, and maintained to preserve them for future generations.

Iran, a country with a rich and diverse history, boasts an impressive 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, each with a unique story to tell. These sites range from ancient cities to natural wonders, each with its distinctive architectural, cultural, and historical significance.

Iran’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites represent the country’s exceptional cultural and historical importance. Iran’s location at the crossroads of civilization, connecting Asia and Europe, has made it a vital hub for trade, culture, and religion for centuries. Iran’s architecture, art, and cultural heritage are a testament to the country’s long and fascinating history, providing a glimpse into the evolution of human civilization.

Keep reading to learn about some of Iran’s top UNESCO World Heritage Sites. And if you would like to explore Iran’s historical and archaeological sites in the company of an expert academic, consider joining us on our Iran Tour: Empires of Everlasting Fires.



Persepolis, one of Iran’s most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, was once the capital of the ancient Achaemenid Empire. The site has impressive architectural features, including the grand staircase, the Palace of Xerxes, and the Gate of All Nations. Persepolis is also home to many valuable artifacts, including inscriptions, carvings, and sculptures. The site is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, attracting visitors from all over the globe.

Naqsh-e Jahan Square

Naqsh-e Jahan Square, located in Isfahan, is a magnificent example of Islamic architecture and design. The square was built during the Safavid Dynasty and features the Ali Qapu Palace, the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, and the Shah Mosque. The square is famous for its intricate tilework, calligraphy, and colorful mosaics. The site is considered one of the most beautiful squares in the world, attracting visitors with its grandeur and historical significance.

On our Iran Tour’s visit to Isfahan, we’ll also visit the Jameh Mosque of Isfahan UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Golestan Palace

Golestan Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Tehran, Iran. The palace was originally built during the Safavid period and was extensively renovated during the Qajar era, making it a unique blend of Persian and Western architectural styles. The palace complex has several buildings and gardens, including the main palace, the Hall of Mirrors, and the Shams al-Emareh.

Golestan Palace was once the residence of the Qajar royal family and served as the center of their court and government. It was also the site of important ceremonies, such as coronations and official receptions. The palace played a significant role in Iranian history, serving as a symbol of power and influence during a period of significant change in the country.

One of the most impressive architectural features of Golestan Palace is the Hall of Mirrors, which is covered in intricate mirrorwork and decorated with colorful stained glass. Another highlight is the Shams al-Emareh, a three-story tower that combines Persian and European architectural styles. The tower was once an observatory and offered stunning views of the surrounding city.

Interesting facts about Golestan Palace:

  • Golestan Palace was the first Iranian site to be inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
  • The palace was used as a filming location for the popular Iranian television series “Shahrzad.”
  • The palace contains a collection of exquisite Persian art, including ceramics, calligraphy, and textiles.
Golestan Palace


Pasargadae, the capital of the Achaemenid Empire, is a well-preserved archaeological site in Fars Province. The site features the tomb of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, and several other impressive structures, including the Audience Hall and the Gatehouse. Pasargadae is a testament to the exceptional engineering and architectural skills of the ancient Persians, attracting history lovers and architecture enthusiasts from all over the world.

Chogha Zanbil

Chogha Zanbil, located in Khuzestan Province, is an ancient Elamite complex built around 1250 BC. The site features a massive ziggurat, the largest of its kind in Iran, as well as several temples, a palace, and other impressive structures. Chogha Zanbil is a testament to the advanced engineering and architectural skills of the ancient Elamites, attracting visitors with its impressive size and historical significance.


The UNESCO World Heritage Site at Bishapur is an ancient city in the Fars Province of Iran. It was founded in the 3rd century AD by the Sassanian king, Shapur I, and was an important political and cultural center during the Sassanian Empire. The site consists of several important structures, including a palace, a temple, and a system of water channels.

Bishapur was a vital center of Sassanian power and played an important role in the history of the Persian Empire. The city was strategically located at the crossroads of major trade routes and served as a gateway to the Persian Gulf. It was also the site of important military victories, including the defeat of the Roman emperor, Valerian.

One of the most impressive architectural features of Bishapur is the palace of Shapur I, which is adorned with intricate carvings and reliefs. The palace also features a large central courtyard and several rooms decorated with colorful mosaics. The temple at Bishapur is another important architectural feature, featuring a massive columned hall and several smaller chambers.

Interesting facts about the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Bishapur:

  • Bishapur was built using a unique blend of Persian and Roman architectural styles, reflecting the city’s strategic importance as a crossroads of trade and culture.
  • The city’s system of water channels, or qanats, was among the most advanced in the ancient world and served to irrigate the surrounding agricultural lands.
  • Bishapur was one of the last Sassanian strongholds to fall to the Arab armies during the Islamic conquest of Persia.

Book an Iran Cultural Tour with Far Horizons

Iran’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites offer visitors a unique glimpse into the country’s rich cultural and historical heritage. From ancient cities to natural wonders, each site is a testament to the country’s unique position at the crossroads of civilization.

Iran’s impressive architectural feats, innovative engineering, and rich artistic traditions are all on display at these sites, attracting visitors from all over the world. As we strive to preserve cultural heritage, visiting and appreciating these remarkable sites is more important than ever.

If you’d like to travel to Iran with Far Horizons, book your place on our Iran ‘Empires of Everlasting Fires’ Tour. If you’ve yet to decide where in the world you’d like to journey to next, explore our full selection of Worldwide Historical Tours.

If you have any questions at all, please get in touch.

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