World heritage listing boosts Iran tourism


Iranian tourism officials say inscription of Soltanieh Dome, a 700-year-old site and that time’s tallest building, has tripled the number of tourists visiting the site.

Official figures show some 52,000 tourists visited Soltanieh Dome four years ago in 2005. The latest updates say the number has tripled, meaning the historic dome hosted over 130,000 tourists in 2008,” said head of Soltanieh Dome restoration project.

“Students and researchers who visit the site for study and research reasons are excluded from the tourism database,” said Mohammad Reza Qorbanzadeh.

Located in Iran’s northwestern province of Zanjan, Soltanieh Dome was the world’s tallest building when it was built during the Ilkhanid era.

It currently ranks third in height, after Italy’s Saint Mary church in Florence and Turkey’s Aya Sofia Mosque in Istanbul.

The 200-ton structure was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2006, after the Naqsh-e-Jahan square, Persepolis, Chogha Zanbil Ziggurat, Takht-e-Soleiman, Pasargadae, and Bam citadel.