TEHRAN – Museums and other cultural heritage sites in Isfahan have been allowed to reopen to the public after 45 days of closure due to the growing number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Iran’s central province.
Simultaneously with the third wave of COVID-19 in late November, more than 500 historic sites, tourist attractions and museums under the supervision of the Ministry of Tourism were closed to prevent the spread of the virus, the provincial tourism chief said.
However, as coronavirus lockdown measures are gradually relaxed in the country, sites could start operations depending on the announcement and decision of the headquarters of coronavirus control operations, Fereydun Allahyari said on Sunday.
Strict health and social distancing requirements are scrupulously observed in these tourist destinations, the official added.
In mid-November, the Iranian authorities again imposed confinement in the capital and some 150 Iranian cities defined as high-risk “red” zones due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Due to a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus infections and deaths, all historic sites as well as all artistic and cultural centers, universities, schools, seminars, English schools, libraries, cinemas, mosques, trade fairs beauty and several other entities were closed again.
Cultural heritage museums and historic sites have so far been closed and reopened for periods since the early days of the pandemic as a preventative measure to curb the disease.
Steeped in a rich history and culture, Isfahan was once a crossroads of international trade and diplomacy in Iran. Today, it’s one of Iran’s top tourist destinations for good reason. The ancient city is full of many architectural wonders such as unparalleled Islamic buildings, bazaars, museums, Persian gardens, and tree-lined boulevards. It is a city for walking, getting lost in its frenzied bazaars, dozing in beautiful gardens and meeting people.
The city has long been nicknamed Nesf-e-Jahan, which translates to “half the world”; that is, seeing that it is relevant to see the whole world. At its peak, it was also one of the largest cities in the region with a population of nearly one million.
Isfahan is famous not only for the abundance of its great historic bridges, but also for its “life-giving river”, the Zayandeh-Rood, which has long given the city an original beauty and fertility. The cool blue tiles of Isfahan’s Islamic buildings and the city’s majestic bridges contrast perfectly with the hot, dry Iranian countryside that surrounds it.
The immense Imam Square, better known as Naghsh-e Jahan Sq. (Literary meaning “Image of the World”), is one of the largest in the world (500 m by 160 m), and a majestic example of town planning. Built at the start of the 17th century, the UNESCO-listed square is dotted with the most interesting sites in Isfahan.
Modern Isfahan is now home to heavy industry, including steel plants and a nuclear facility on its outskirts, however, its inner core wants to be preserved as a priceless gem.
ABU / AFM