Preserving Persian Heritage: Session at the XVI NAZC 2012


August 5, 2012

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This video was the introductory segment on the session titled “Persian Religious Sites”. This was presented at the XVI North American Zarathusti Congress 2012, hosted by ZAGNY in New York in August 2012.

Persian Religious Sites: Session at XVI NAZC 2012 from ZAGNY on Vimeo.

Preserving Persian Heritage: Session at XVI NAZC 2012 from ZAGNY on Vimeo.


Persian historical sites and Zarathushti pilgrimage sites will deteriorate unless we act to preserve them. The status of these sites and the work being done to preserve them will be presented.
Zarathushti Pilgrimage Sites in Yazd: An Opinion

Yazd and its surroundings are home to numerous sacred sites that are visited by both Zarathushtis and members of other religious communities. While each of these holy sites carries special religious and historical significance, this discussion will focus on the social, economical and cultural aspects of these sites. The physical state of each pilgrimage site, in addition to their current deficiencies and current management (or mismanagement as the case may be), will be reviewed, along with recommendations to improve their overall condition.

Preserving Zarathushti Pilgrimage Sites

We invest in and build Zarathushti cultural and religious buildings in Iran or elsewhere based on the needs of different communities. Yet, many of these buildings, either due to lack of time, or lack of expert opinion, are being built in a manner that misrepresent Zarathushti and Persian architectural elements. This gap is especially visible with regards to religious sites.
In this session, we will present specific Zarathushti architectural elements and their increased use in Zarathushti sites, the result of three years of research and study. We will also present current renovation and restoration activities related to Zarathushti pilgrimage sites in Iran.
Engagements with Zoroastrian Heritage in (post)Modern Iran

This paper traces the history of the use of pre-Islamic sites in Iran during the 19th and the 20th centuries. In the 19th century, both in India by Parsi philanthropists and in Iran by the Qajar aristocracy, the revival of Zarathushti heritage became a trend and later power and identity politics. From the 1930s use of the Persepolis motive in official buildings to the 1971 celebration of “the 2,500-year Anniversary of the Founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great,” Zarathushti artistic past and sites were deployed as essential to national might and prestige. After the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1980, the authorities have devised an ambivalent policy of both preservation and neglect towards these archeological sites.

Alayar Dabestani
Behmard Khosravi
Dr. Talinn Grigor
Shirin Khosravi