Take a look at the status of Iran intangible heritage at UNESCO

Intangible cultural heritage is part of the achievements of civilizations that define their identity.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention held at the organization’s 32nd session in 2003, intangible heritage is the protection of intangible cultural heritage, behaviors, symbols and rituals that a community appreciate them as cultural heritage.  Iran cultural and intangible heritage at UNESCO are such a part of treasure left from ancient Iran.

According to the Convention, intangible cultural heritage means “actions, performances, expressions, knowledge, skills, as well as instruments, objects, handicrafts and related cultural environments that communities, groups and in some cases individuals define them as part of their cultural heritage. This intangible cultural heritage passed down from generation to generation. They constantly re-created by communities and groups in response to their environment, nature, and history. Giving them a sense of identity and continuity, and thus promoting cultural diversity and human creativity. The Convention focuses only on the type of intangible cultural heritage that is consistent with international human rights, as well as the need for mutual respect between communities, groups and individuals, and the need for sustainable development.

The purposes of this Convention are to “protect intangible cultural heritage, assure respect for intangible cultural heritage of communities, groups and individuals, promote local, national and international awareness of the importance of intangible cultural heritage and ensure mutual understanding and appreciation, and to provide cooperation and assistance.” “It’s international.” Let’s take a deep insight into Iran cultural and intangible heritage at UNESCO.

The intangible heritage and global memory of Iran UNESCO

So far, 14 Iranian heritage sites of intangible type have been registered in UNESCO World Heritage List, of which three are multinational and 11 are mono-national and belong to Iran.

spiritual heritage of Iran

Nowruz: Iran new year celebration

Nowruz is the first day of the Iranian solar year on the 1st of Farvardin. It is celebration of the beginning of the Iranian New Year, and one of the oldest celebrations left from ancient Iran. Nowruz originated in ancient Iran, and people in various parts of Iranian plateau still celebrate it. Nowruz is celebrated at the beginning of spring.

The registration file for Nowruz was registered in the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List in November 2009 with the membership of 7 countries. Nowruz was registered with UNESCO with the participation of 12 countries two years later in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Turkey


Fars province carpet

The weaving methods, motifs and drawings of Fars province are in the perfection of beauty and variety, and of course, they differ in each tribe and clan and in each region. Almost all of them woven on the ground. Fars carpets and rugs are mostly made of two fabrics and their warp and weft are made of wool. The knots used in the carpets of this province vary depending on the tribe and clan. This Iran cultural and intangible heritage at UNESCO inscribed in 2011.

Kashan carpet

Kashan carpet is also recognizable by its very delicate texture (knot with short and delicate lint) that shows the details of all the patterns, as well as its excellent merino wool which gives the carpet surface of velvety state. Kashan carpets and Aran carpets, with the exception of carpets woven from silk, have a dense and thick texture. After each row of knots, these rugs have two weaves, the first of which is stretched and the second is loose and loose.

Zourkhaneh rituals

The World Registration of Heroic and Zurkhaneh Religions at the UNESCO World Heritage List took place in 2010. Two years earlier, the ritual had been nationally registered. The heroic religion of Iran has a long history in this ancient land, this ancient religion has suffered over time and has received many joys to save what has been learned and has reached here.

Fars carpet
Kashan rug
zoorkhaneh sports


The process of global registration of Tazieh was opened in 2005. Due to the incompleteness of the submitted documents for research and review in UNESCO or the lack of compliance of the submitted documents with the standards of this organization, the process of global registration was delayed. Interestingly, the performing arts included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, while Turkey also claimed to be registered in the name of its country. However, due to its antiquity, Tazieh registration file was registered independently in the name of Iran in 2010.

Lenj boats technology

The knowledge of making this type of boat, which is specific to Persian Gulf and the Sea of ​​Oman, is completely Iranian. The wooden boats which made by hand in Hormozgan and Bushehr. With this registration, the name of the Persian Gulf was also registered in the list of intangible world monuments in 2011.

Shahnameh and Naqqali

The oldest performing arts in Iran, the performer or narrator, recounts poetry or prose with gestures, and sometimes with music and descriptions of inscriptions and paintings. The narrator must have the skills to speak while memorizing poems of Shahnameh, texts, as well as the ability to improvise. The narrator’s dress is simple. It has been inscribed in 2011.

 Radif of traditional Iranian music

Radif of Iranian music is a part of Iran cultural and intangible heritage at UNESCO. The five vocal lines of Abu Atta (with Arabic hands), Dashti, Bayat Turk (or Bayat Zand), Afshari and Bayat of Isfahan, were the first intangible heritage of Iran that were recorded in UNESCO in 2009. Homayoun is called Panjgah.

narration of shahaname
traditional Iran music

Music of Bakhshis of Khorasan

Bakhshis music (local musicians and singers of Khorasan which includes a collection of poetry, literature, mysticism and ethics, was recorded by Houshang Javid and Mojtaba Gheitaghi on July 1, 2011 as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. In the eastern region of Khorasan Razavi province, cities Khaf, Torbat-e-Jam, and Taybad have a kind of music center in the province.

Qalisuyan rituals of Mashhad-e Ardehal

The only Islamic religious ceremony held according to the solar calendar. A symbolic ceremony that always brings thousands of people to Mashhad Ardehal, 42 km west of Kashan in the morning of the second Friday of October. Imamzadeh Ali, who was the second son of Imam Baqir (AS) was living in Kashan and Finn for several years. He was marching from Finn to Khaveh. By the attack of the Golden Army of Naal, the local ruler of Khaveh, he wes killed. Then the Khaveis wrap the Imamzadeh in a rug and bury it. The ceremony is a fusion of this. The wooden fins take the Imamzadeh carpet from the Khavehs and wash it in the spring near the Imamzadeh and return. This custom was inscribed at UNESCO in 2012 under the name of Qaishsuyan ritual.

The art of making and playing Kamantcheh

Kamantcheh or fiddle is one of Iranian instruments and music of East. The first historical signs of the fiddle can be seen in the book “Al-Kabir Music” by Labo Nasr Farabi in the fourth century AH. In this book, he mentions the fiddle as an Iranian instrument. The fiddle was one of the main instruments of Iranian music during the Safavid and Qajar eras, and the first recorded sound of the fiddle dates back to the early twentieth century. The art of making and playing Kamantcheh was recorded in 2017.

Chogan: horse riding game

The Republic of Azerbaijan, while sporting Chogan, was registered under the name of “traditional polo game with horses in Qarabagh” while this game been held in Iran for more than 3,000 years by kings and elders of this land. Dariush Kabir held the Chogan game in Persepolis and Naghsh Jahan Square in Isfahan was designed to hold the polo game in front of Safavid kings. In the works of great poets such as Ferdowsi and Roudaki, the popularity of this game in Iran has been mentioned many times. It was after Azerbaijan’s action that Iran submitted the registration file for “Chogan with music and narration” to UNESCO, which was registered in 2017. Of course, in the case of Chogan, it is emphasized that Chogan is a cultural element that is related to the history and identity of its performers. This element is widely present in Iranian literature, narration, storytelling, proverbs, miniature painting, handicrafts and architectural decorations, and is a valuable component of the worldview and symbolism of its performers.

khorasan music
celebration of washing carpet in Ardehal

Lavash bread

Lavash bread is a thin crispy bread about three millimeters thick that is baked from Fitir dough or “low-fat” dough. This bread is also called tandoori bread. Bread that is made from the same dough but is very thin is called homemade bread, which becomes very thin after baking. In Armenia and Iran, this bread is called Lavash. In Georgia, it is called “Sumashkhuri Lavashi”, meaning Armenian Lavash. Lavash bread has been registered as a multinational in UNESCO in 2016 with Armenia.


Dotar is one of the percussion instruments of Iranian music and as its name suggests, it has two strings. This instrument is not usually played with a percussion and is wound with nails. Traditional skills of crafting and playing Dotar is one of precious Iran cultural and intangible heritage at UNESCO which inscribed in 2019.

Lavash bread

Iran cultural and intangible heritage at UNESCO

Looking deeper into Iran cultural and intangible heritage at UNESCO, you can see that this heritage is beyond a nation, and it is related to lifestyle and the originality of one nation connected to the other countries in border. There are many other customs and symbols of Iran as cultural and intangible heritage that should mention bolder.

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