Tehran museums reopen to visitors as coronavirus cases drop


TEHRAN – Museums in the Iranian capital have reopened to the public after a five-month closure as the metropolis experiences a sustained decline in coronavirus infections.

As Tehran is located in the “orange” zone and restrictions on the coronavirus pandemic have been relaxed, all museums in Tehran have reopened and started operations, Mohammadreza Kargar, director of the tourism ministry for museums, said on Sunday. and historic properties.

However, visitors must adhere to health protocols and social distancing guidelines, the official added.

Last November, the official announced that Iranian museums had taken 1.7 trillion rials (roughly $ 42 million at the official exchange rate of 42,000 rials to the dollar) affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

If the country were in normal conditions, museums would welcome more than 25 million visitors [within a year], but now they have suffered huge losses as there are hardly any visitors to the museums, he noted.

Last October, the former Minister of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts, Ali-Asghar Mounesan, warned that Iranian cultural heritage and tourism would be in a critical situation if the crises caused by the coronavirus epidemic continue.

With the coronavirus epidemic, museums have been on the front line of closures and for several months, they no longer have revenue from ticket sales, Mounesan explained.

Meanwhile, the ministry is facing a shortage of funds in the field of cultural heritage, which poses problems to maintain and preserve 34,000 national heritage properties as well as 26 sites classified by UNESCO, explained the official. He said in August that Iranian tourism had suffered a loss of 12 trillion rials (about $ 2.85 billion) since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Currently, 740 museums are active across Iran and some three million historical objects are kept in museums affiliated with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts.

Iran is home to one of the oldest continuous major civilizations in the world, comprising settlements dating back to 4000 BC. It is also home to some of the oldest cultural monuments in the world, including bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, public baths, madrasas, gardens, rich natural and rural landscapes as well as 26 World Heritage sites from the ‘UNESCO.

The name Iran, formerly known as Persia, primarily refers to the First Persian Empire, ruled by the Achaemenids (c. 550-330 BC) and sites such as Pasargadae and Persepolis. However, there are dozens of prehistoric sites like the burnt city in Sistan-Baluchestan, Tepe Sialk in Kashan, Susa and Tchogha Zanbil in Khuzestan province, and Ecbatana in Hamedan which predate the Achaemenid period.

From a broader perspective, Iranian history can be divided into pre-Islamic and Islamic eras. The Medes unified Iran as a nation and empire in 625 BC. The Islamic conquest of Persia (633-656) which put an end to the powerful Sassanid Empire (224-651) was a turning point in the history of the nation.

ABU / AFM

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