Saturday 30 June 2007
The World Heritage Committee inscribed 22 new sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List during its ongoing session in Christchurch including the Parthian site of Nisa.
The Parthian fortresses of Nisa consists of two mounds of Old and New Nisa which indicate they were part of one of the earliest and most important cities of the third Iranian dynastic empire, the Arsacids, a major world power from 248 BCE to 224 CE.
They mounds have been relatively undisturbed for nearly two millennia and conserve the unexcavated remains of an ancient civilization which skilfully combined its own Iranian traditional cultural elements with those of the Greco-Roman west.
Archaeological excavations in two parts of the site have revealed richly decorated architecture, illustrative of domestic, state, and religious functions. Most of the excavation to date has been carried out at the Royal citadel, now known as Old Nisa, but the site also includes the ancient town, known as New Nisa. Old Nisa is a 14-ha tell shaped like an irregular pentagon and surrounded by a high defensive earth rampart with more than 40 rectangular towers, its corners flanked by powerful bastions.
The 25-ha mound of New Nisa is surrounded by powerful walls, up to 9m high on all sides, with two entrances. Situated at the crossroads of important commercial and strategic axes, the archaeological remains of Nisa vividly illustrate the significant interaction of cultural influences from central Asia and the Mediterranean in this powerful empire which formed a barrier to Roman expansion while serving as an important communication and trading centre between east and west, north and south. The site testifies to the significance of this imperial power, to its wealth and culture.
The world heritage committee meeting in Christchurch ends on Monday, after deciding which applications join the 830 World Heritage sites previously named.
See online : World Heritage List