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    Ancient city of Shoushtar in Iran

    Shoshtar - Ancient city of Shoushtar in Iran


    • Best Time to Visit: September to May

    The city of Shoushtar, could be called the biggest water museum in the world in view of the streams and rivulets that run through it and the lakes and reservoirs surrounding it. Shoustar is located in the northern part of Khuzestan province in southwestern Iran.

    Water has always played a vital part in the formation of villages, emergence of cities and flourishing of civilizations. A glance at history shows that most ancient human civilizations sprang up besides rivers. In Iran, River Karoun has been the site of ancient civilizations, such as the Elamites.

    Karoun is the biggest river of Iran and has its sources in the Zagros Mountains. It passes through the Shoushtar plain on its way to the Persian Gulf. The fertile soil and flat terrain coupled with abundant water resources has turned this region into one of the most important agricultural poles of Iran. During Achaemenid rule, some 2,500 years ago, the economy was dependent upon agriculture, and hence the rulers paid special attention to development of agriculture in this region.

    After Achaemenids, the Parthians and later the Sassanids continued to expand Shoushtar's waterways and built the most unique irrigation network in old times. The same policy was continued after the advent of Islam and the rise of the glorious Islamic civilization. Although the most important goal in building Shoushtar's network of dams, dykes, canals, and bridges, has been irrigation, its architects have been able to achieve other great goals including industrial, commercial and defence.

    At any rate, the harnessing of the Great Karoun River is proof to the talents and ingenuity of Iranians. According to experts, Shoushtar and its surroundings present one of the biggest and oldest man-made miracles before the industrial revolution. These networks stretch for several kilometers and even the architecture of these works is admirable. Today we will focus on these marvels of Shoustar

    Karoun River splits into two branches when flowing into Shoushtar. One of the branches known as Gor Gor continues its path straight down south, while the known as Shatit turns right. After traversing a distance of 40 km these two branches join together in a place called "Band-e Ghir". Another dam called "Band-e Mizan" also has a fair share of Karoun waters and utilizes both the Gor Gor and Shatit rivers. The Iranians have built a network of canals in the region in order to develop irrigation around the natural and manmade islands that have come into existence as a result.

    Several bridges dot the area and connect different parts of the Shustar area. These canals also feed the watermills in the region to grease the wheels of industry. Lands as far as 40 km south of Shoushtar have turned into green and fertile areas, thanks to the ingenuity of Iranians. There are several dams as well as such as the "Band-e Gorgor". It is worth noting over 50 large watermills exist in the area and have various industrial functions. The rivulets have also provided an opportunity to build beautiful fountains that catch the eye of visitors.

    It is worth noting that Karoun River which flows gently on its way to the Persian Gulf because of the flat nature of Khuzestan is the means of generating energy in Iran. Because of the ingenuity of Iranians, even during floods the waters of Karoun River do not cause any havoc on the surrounding sites. This has earned the region the title of "Water Museum of the World". The good news is that this beautiful historical collection is registered as the 9th Iranian work at UNESCO.

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    This workshop is designed according to the UNESCO World Heritage Education Programme in order to give young people a chance to voice their concerns and to become involved in the protection of our common cultural and natural heritage. It seeks to encourage and enable tomorrow’s decision-makers to participate in heritage conservation and to respond to the continuing threats facing our World Heritage. The idea of involving young people in World Heritage preservation and promotion came as a response to Article 27 of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention). Furthermore, Patrimonito means 'small heritage' in Spanish and the character represents a young heritage guardian. Patrimonito has been widely adopted as the international mascot of the World Heritage Education Programme.
    Date: 29th December
    Number of trainees: 7
    Duration: 3 hours

    The workshop of "Patrimonito" was held on 29th of December. Participants arrived around 10:30 and they were welcomed by hot chocolate and Persian cup cakes. After a little introduction by trainers and trainees, the process started by making two groups and letting them choose a name for their group, each group was accompanied by a mentor then each group was given some images of world heritage sites in Iran and some descriptions, each group was asked to match images and descriptions, the mentor was guiding them throughout the activity. All trainees were participating actively and trying to remember their experiences about their travels to these places. When they were done with the activity, the mentors started giving the answers and a brief explanation about each site; mentors were using trainees’ ideas and experiences to complete their tasks.

    Shortly after that, the second part started which was a presentation done by two of mentors. The aim of this presentation was to define the value of these world heritage sites and duties of each person as a "Patrimonito", and what happens if there is no "Patrimonito" and nobody cares about our tangible or intangible heritage. In this part trainees started questioning and understanding the whole concept of being a "Patrimonito", they also added their own suggestions on how to protect our heritage and by the end of this part, they were completely aware about their role as a "Patrimonito".
    Now it was a best time to have a short break, during the break trainees were introduced to some of intangible heritages as they were served by traditional food and snacks and even they way of serving was according to traditions and everyone had this opportunity to discuss about intangible heritage while enjoying some traditional food and snacks.
    When the break was done, everyone was asked to choose a heritage either tangible or intangible and they had to introduce their chosen heritage to a tourist by making a postcard using what they have learnt. They were given all of necessary tools such as color papers, color pencils, glue, scissors, images of heritage and a mentor was with them in order to help them completing the task.

    When they were done, they handed out their postcards and with the mentors they sat together and spent a few minutes asking and answering about what they have learnt. Then they were told to say their vows for protecting their heritage and caring about it, the mentor said the vow and the trainees repeated after her and they officially became a "Patrimonito".

    The last but the best part was when they were given the certificates, and they were told that since they are aware of the value of the heritage and they know how to protect it, they are chosen as "Patrimonito" and they should continue their mission by introducing the value of heritage to others. They were granted certificates and labels and the workshop of "Patrimonito" was finished by taking some memorial photos.