September 25, 2023

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Iran’s Razavi pilgrimage seeks UNESCO heritage nod

TEHRAN – Iran eyes a UNESCO status for the spiritual tradition of pilgrimage to the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS), which is associated with special rituals, ceremonies and hospitality services.

The Islamic Republic has nominated the religious pilgrimage for possible inscription on the register of good safeguarding practices, Mostafa Pourali, who is in charge of Registration, Preservation, and Restoration of Spiritual and Natural Heritage sites at the Ministry of Heritage, Culture, Tourism, and Handicrafts, said on Wednesday.

Through such registrations, the UN cultural body helps to safeguard tressured pilgrimage rituals that are rooted in the public believes, the consistency and persistence of which exhibit their significance and values.

Pilgrimage to the holy shrine, which is situated in the northeastern city of Mashhad, is registered on the National Intangible Cultural Heritage List upon a proposal offered by the tourism department of Khorasan Razavi province.

Mashhad, the provincial capital, is Iran’s holiest and second-largest city. Its raison d’être is the striking shrine complex of the eighth Shia Imam that is encircled by dozens of five-star hotels and many other accommodation centers.

Mashhad recorded some four million overnight stays, mainly by domestic travelers, in the first three months of the current Iranian calendar year (started on March 21). “3,951,000 overnight stays have been recorded for the first three months of the year at authorized accommodation centers such as hotels, traditional lodging houses, apartment hotels, and guest houses,” the provential tourism chief has said.

The overnight stays were made by 1,312,000 passengers, Seyyed Javad Mousavi said. “During the period [the average of] hotel occupancy rate in Mashhad reached is currently at 66.8%.”


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