Yazd, Iran

Registered Sector: 
Historic City of Yazd
Location and site: 

The City of Yazd is located in the middle of the Iranian plateau, 270 km southeast of Isfahan, close to the Spice and Silk Roads. It bears living testimony to the use of limited resources for survival in the desert. Water is supplied to the city through a qanat system developed to draw underground water. The earthen architecture of Yazd has escaped the modernization that destroyed many traditional earthen towns, retaining its traditional districts, the qanat system, traditional houses, bazars, hammams, mosques, synagogues, Zoroastrian temples and the historic garden of Dolat-abad.

Historical Function: 
Administrative Status: 
Capital of Yazd province
Historical Reference: 

The settlement in Yazd region dates back to pre-Islamic era but the historic city of Yazd, according to the evidences, was established after 10th century (4th century AH). The name of Yazd probably derives from the name of the Sassanid king Yazdegerd I. Yazd was definitely a Zoroastrianism center in Sassanid times. After the Arab conquest of Persia, many Zoroastrians migrated to the region of Yazd from neighboring provinces. By paying a levy, Yazd was allowed to remain Zoroastrian even after the conquest of Islam, but Islam gradually became the dominant religion.

Yazd, particularly after the 10th century (4th century AH), has a written and documented history. Since the 10th century, due to its key commercial and strategic location on the main trade routes (Silk road and Spice route), Yazd has become a famous and prosperous city on the edge of the Iranian Central Desert. Due to the multi-cultural identity and its location on the caravan routes linking India with the West, Yazd became an important commercial center, facilitating transfer of knowledge in a way that the impact of Yazd on the cities and towns around the desert and along the trade routes can be clearly seen. Taking advantage of this situation, the builders of Yazd have developed highly elaborated principles in the city building process at all levels, covering all relevant aspects from material selection and preparation to housing design and city planning.

Urban Morphology: 

The site consists of three separate zones, a large central zone and two smaller in the south and the northwest of the central zone.

The city of Yazd is the capital of Yazd Province. It is located 270 km to the southeast of Isfahan and 625 km to the south of Tehran within the central area of the Iranian Plateau, which is known as the desert part of the country with an altitude of 1200 m above sea level.

Yazd is one of the largest earthen cities in Iran and is mostly known to be the driest major city of the country, with an average annual rainfall of only 60 mm. It is also one of the hottest areas with summer temperatures frequently exceeding 40°C.

Registration Criteria: 

Criteria (iii) and (v).

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