Restoration of the Saryazd Citadel

Nasser Keykheaei

Director of International Relations, Arg Saryazd Co.

Arg Saryazd Co.

Rabate Nou Saryazd Village 30th kilometre of Yazd-Kerman Road 8981163713, Yazd Islamic Republic of Iran

Yazd, Islamic Republic of Iran

UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation - Award of Distinction 2014

Connecting Cultures In Historical Past

History, the state of historical steps movement, and Human Evolution have always been interesting to the people of the world. It seems that one of the ways to reach the Global Village is the connection between the history of people and nations of the world.

21sary1xIt makes the role of sociologists more important and more serious. Furthermore, people have always thought about their history and have always been eager to become aware of their cultures, customs and past events of their ethnicity and nationality. Even many nations are trying to complete the family tree of their ancestors. It is natural that the only way to reach what is mentioned is to collect anything that has left for us from the past, such as: historical books and objects, verbal culture which has been conveyed orally from the past, and historical monuments (as one of the most important one). We can get all our answers by analyzing, investigating, and maybe developing a matrix from whatever remained from the past. By completing missing parts of the matrix we will be able to connect the history of world different races and nations; achieve one of the ways to utopia Global Village, and as a result reach unity, co-existence, and a world of peace and friendship for all nations and religions. In fact, after the old definitions of development, balanced development, and sustainable development we will be able to approach the definition of Development as a Human Happiness.

The above introduction was presented for it is better to consider restoration and protection of monuments from another aspect. It is better to pay attention to the importance of restoration and protection of monuments, apart from what is related to Cultural heritage (Buildings dimensions) and even tourism. Suppose the fourth dimension of these monuments (in addition to the length, width and height) are people who were the builders and users of them and experienced events, thoughts, bitter and sweet memories there.

All that was mentioned, my own special interest and attention to the old culture and civilization of my country, ancestors, and ethnicity (Yazd), combining my great experiences of development activities, urban management and tourism, and also my interest to the society made me to establish Arg -e- Saryazd Development Company 8 years ago. I have decided, from that time, to restore, repair and protect all the monuments located within the historic village of Saryazd (located 25 km southeast of Yazd).

As you know, Yazd was one of the oldest settlements of human beings in which life still exists. Historians estimation about Yazd, goes back 6000 years ago.

21sary4xHistorians believe that Saryazd was the main and old site of the current city of Yazd, the present monuments of which goes back 2400 years. One of the significant monuments of this village is the Castle of Saryazd which goes back 1700 years and still looks great across the desert. It seems that this monument has the largest and highest infrastructure and is the only monument in the world which is constructed from mud and clay. The monument is about 20,000 squere meters and has four floors. In some history books in Iran this monument is mentioned as the meeting place of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. In 1975, England produced the movie The Queen of Sheba in this castle.

Being located in the Silk Road, and having an all around moat and internal and external towers and walls, had made this castle a depositing place throughout history. There are 500 small rooms at the core of the castle in which businessmen would give their money and jwellery for safekeeping. So the castle of Saryazd can be named as the oldest bank box of the world. This castle also had service, administrative, and military parts for protecting the things which had been given for safekeeping.

The current village of Saryazd, known as Arg-e Saryazd, has eighteen historically significant monuments (going back 2000 years). After seriously pursuing and getting government permit, Arg -e Saryazd Development Company took the responsibility to restore these monuments. Other historical monuments of this village are different caravansaries, chapar khaneh, bath, mosques, Pakaneh qanat, ab anbar, Farafar’s gate, and, as one of the most important one, Farafar buried city.

Research stages are being taken to gain government permit in order to explor Farafar buried city, which goes back more than 2400 years. It seems that the first stages of exploration will be started late next year.

Considering the state budget, I was aware that doing such great and human task for protecting these monuments and transition of this human trust to the next generations is not possible. So I decided to take action by developing a matrix, defying the complete economy cycle, and procuring the necessary funds from my own budget. Beside the task of restoring, I have always paid attention to different societies and local cultures.

Obviously, many studies must have been taken up about human societies and their cultures from pas to the present, and location and structure of Saryazd monuments. Hanooks must also have been developed for restoring each of these monuments. All these proceedings were taken in Bana sakht-e Khavar, which is an architecture and design consulting company and owned by me. In my opinion, being economical and becoming economical is the two conditions for the continuation of any action. By defining and completing Arg-e Saryazd, and gaining the government permit, this place was approved as the best tourism region. So, by using this historical place as a tourism region, we have made this plan economical in order to continue the task of restoring and protecting it.

Currently, the restoration of the oldest mud and clay hotel of the world is carrying out in Seljuq caravanserai, goes back more than 1000 years, and will be ready to be put into operation by early next year. Different facilities are available, improving, and will be exploitable in Arg-e Saryazd, such as: short trips by a camel through the desert, observing stars, motorcycling through the desert, visiting historical places, staying in historical buildings which goes back more than a hundred years, visiting Aramesh lake in the desert, visiting Dark Carvansarai (a 800 years old monument without electricity), historical bath, and great qanats.

The present tourism collection won the top prize in UNESCO Asia – Pacific Awards For Cultural Heritage Conservation 2014. Receiving this prize provide more encouragement and interest for the completion of this project.


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