New 2016 UNESCO Sites: Our 3 Picks for Sites in Uzbekistan and Iran
In 2016, the UNESCO committee added 21 new sites to its list, including seven in MIR’s destinations.
The Zarch Qanat is Iran’s longest underground water aqueduct, snaking some 50 miles below the ground from its mother well to Yazd. The Zarch qanat may be up to 3,000 years old. 2,115 vertical shafts allow ventilation and access to the qanat; the shafts are ringed with earth berms of excavated sand, like big anthills. Qanats are hand-dug and maintained, requiring close cooperation among all parties across generations. In Yazd, many of the richer houses sat astride a qanat, and a badgir, or windtower, was built above the water to hydrate the desert air and cool the home. An example of this can be seen at the Water Museum in Yazd, a former merchant’s house built over the UNESCO-listed Zarch Qanat.
Uzbekistan’s Ugam-Chatkal National Park is located northeast of Tashkent, in the northernmost tip of the country, and includes the famed Chimgan resort area. Founded in 1947, Ugam-Chatkal was recognized as a biosphere reserve in 1978, and a full-fledged UNESCO Site in 2016. Its forests, alpine meadows, river valleys, and mild mountain slopes harbor 44 species of mammals and 230 species of birds.
Ugam-Chatkal abuts two other UNESCO Sites, Kyrgyzstan’s Besh-Aral State Reserve and Sairam-Ugam National Park in Kazakhstan; together they make up a wildlife corridor that crosses the three countries.
A complete list of all the 2016 UNESCO Sites
Read about all the new sites on UNESCO’s website.
Travel to Iran and Central Asia with MIR
You may experience these new UNESCO Sites on some of our journeys to Iran and Central Asia: on a small group tour, on a rail journey by private train, or on an independent trip put together just the way you want it.
- Small Group Tours
- Rail Journeys by Private Train
- Custom Private Journeys
- If you would like to tour some of the new UNESCO Sites in Iran or Central Asia, MIR can work with you to create a custom, private journey that reflects your desires and timeline. You can also travel on one of MIR’s hand-crafted private independent travel itineraries, Essential Iran or our new Essential Iran Enhanced.
Top Photo: Traditional badgirs, or windtowers, in Yazd, Iran; Credit: Martin Klimenta
PUBLISHED: September 20, 2016