TEHRAN. The Iranian government has allocated about $1.2 million ($4.1 million) to tourism-related projects being carried out in West Azerbaijan Province in northwestern Iran, the provincial tourism director said.
The budget will be spent on nine projects in the field of tourism, cultural heritage and crafts, Jalil Jabbari explained on Wednesday.
Projects include the development of the tourism infrastructure of the World Heritage Sites of St. Thaddeus Monastery, also known as Kare Klise (Black Church), and Takht-e Soleiman (Solomon’s Throne), as well as the restoration of centuries-old monuments. the old Jame Mosque in Urmia, the official added.
Last week, an official announced that West Azerbaijan Province should become a popular summer tourist destination.
He pointed out that as a way to distribute travel fairly across the country and develop tourism potential throughout the country, the northwestern province as well as some other provinces will be introduced as summer holiday destinations.
Western Azerbaijan, given its historical, cultural, social and tourism potential, as well as the availability of suitable places for living, hospitality and recreation, is ready to receive travelers and tourists, the official said.
He noted that before the outbreak of coronavirus, the number of travelers to the province was increasing, but the pandemic stopped this trend.
However, he said the province has been a popular destination for travelers during the Norouz holiday this year.
Earlier this month, an official announced that about 1,500 beds were expected to be added to the province’s hospitality sector.
He explained that the province of West Azerbaijan will increase its capacity by 1,500 places after the completion and opening of 30 unfinished projects related to tourism.
The projects have been allocated a budget of 400 billion rials ($1.4 million), the official added.
The monastery of St. Thaddeus is one of the oldest surviving Christian monuments in the country. It is located in Chaldoran County about 20 kilometers from Maku, on the border of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey.
The ancient church is decorated with elaborate bas-reliefs of flowers, animals and human figures on the façade and outer walls. It also has verses from the Old and New Testaments written in Armenian calligraphy.
Together with the monastery of St. Stepanos and the Dzorzor chapel, Kare Klise was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008 under the name “Armenian monastic ensembles of Iran.” All three monuments are located in Western Azerbaijan and have great historical and cultural significance. They reliably testify to the exchange with ancient regional societies, in particular with the Byzantine, Orthodox and Persian.
UNESCO believes that the churches are examples of the outstanding universal value of the Armenian architectural and decorative traditions.
Takht-e Soleiman (“Throne of Solomon”) testifies to various eras…