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    Mazari Yazd, Iran

    Yazd - Mazari    Yazd, Iran


    Henna grinding is a 700-year-old profession still practiced in traditional bazaar of the city. Many old professions had been long forlorn, but the profession now supplying the best and popular henna to Iran and Persian Gulf countries is still alive in the dark, dim-lit cells of the bazaar, where the mazars (which means ‘to move wheel’ in local dialect) prefer their traditional means of the job.

    A street in Yazd hosts the traditional industry, and every tourist would find the street easily to buy the city’s souvenir.



    The local traders introduced henna to India, Pakistan and Persian Gulf countries. This brought a boom to local henna grinding industry as one of the main professions, and with it, Yazd henna found fame in these countries. Henna leaves were introduced to Yazd to be ground; however, the processing and packaging of henna made Yazd famous globally. In the course of their travels, the same traders introduced unground spices such as pepper, cinnamon, and ginger, adding to the ground items by mazars.

    Through centuries, Yazd mazars still prefer their old style of henna grinding using a traditional millstone, which ground henna leaves and was derived by donkey. The millstone was carved in a workshop near Mehriz hills. “Mazari” comes from the word “maz”, meaning wheel. It is the old name for spice and henna grinding workshops and the like in the dry climate of cities alongside the desert. In a green workshop, one can see a mazari grinding stone measuring three meters in width on a 4cm high platform. A wooden lever is the fulcrum that turns the stone. Although electricity is used to do the job these days, in the old days, horses, camels, and cow were used to turn the wheel.



    Apart from the massive stone turning in the center of the mazari in the main space of the workshop, the interior architecture comprises four rooms in the four corners as storage places for the whole, half-ground, and sieved henna leaves. One of the rooms is used to store the ground henna, bagged and stamped.

    The green henna powder is produced from the leaves of a shrub, which grows for 2-3 meters, native to Mediterranean, middle-eastern, Asia Minor, North Asian, and eastern African countries. The best areas in Iran to grow the shrub are Baluchistan in the east and Kerman in the center. Moreover, henna is one of the oldest coloring powders in the world and was used to draw on cave walls in the Second Stone Age. However, its most uses were in cosmetics. It is still popular among people for its healing and cosmetic uses. In the distant past and the Middle Ages, Iranian and Arab physicians prescribed it for burns, mouth ulcers, abscesses, and bladder swelling.



    These days, the leaves of the henna shrubs are brought to Yazd from other provinces of Iran to be ground and bagged in white.

    However, the profession now has been gradually changed to milling other species, which has now limited to a small cell in the mill entrance. The majority of lovers of henna come from Persian Gulf Arab states; some buy it for Hajj; some others buy henna to sell in their home country. Yazd exports the larger part of henna packaged to neighboring countries and Sistan and Baluchistan, Kerman and southern Khorasan are also frequent destinations.

    The street of the mazari in the old fabric of the city has been registered as a national heritage site.

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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.