In Pictures

In pictures: Iran's sites of cultural importance

Following the assassination of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, US President Donald Trump has threatened to respond to any Iranian retaliation by attacking Iranian cultural sites.

There are hundreds of such sites with historical significance in Iran, more than 20 with Unesco World Heritage status. Here is a selection of some of the most important.

Naqsh-e Jahan Square, known also as Imam Square, is a square situated at the centre of Isfahan city, Iran Image copyright Getty Images
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One of the largest city squares in the world, Naqsh-e Jahan Square (Pattern of the World Square), is in the city of Isfahan, built in the early 17th Century.

Tiled Architecture of Imam Mosque, Isfahan Image copyright Getty Images
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Sited in Naqsh-e Jahan Square is the Imam Mosque (renamed so after the 1979 revolution). It is decorated with elaborate tiles and also registered as a Unesco World Heritage site.

Tiled entrance to the Golestan Palace in Tehran Image copyright Getty Images
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The Golestan Palace is a complex of royal buildings with elaborate interiors in Tehran, and was the official residence of the Qajar dynasty in the 19th Century.

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Interior of the Golestan Palace in Tehran Image copyright Getty Images
Ruins of Apadana and Tachara Palace behind stairway with bas relief carvings in Persepolis Unesco World Heritage Site against cloudy blue sky in Shiraz, Iran Image copyright Getty Images
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Persepolis was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire, and dates back to 515 BC. It was declared by Unesco to be a World Heritage Site in 1979.

Achaemenid inscription at Behistun, Iran Image copyright Alamy
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Showing Darius the Great of the Achaemenid Empire around 500 BC, the Behistun Inscription is a large rock relief written in several languages and was crucial to the deciphering of cuneiform script - one of the earliest systems of writing.

Bam Citadel Image copyright Getty Images
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One of the largest adobe (earth-based building material) constructions in the world, the ancient Arg-e Bam citadel was situated on the ancient Silk Road East-West trade route.

Extensively damaged in an earthquake in 2003, it is currently undergoing reconstruction.

Azadi (Freedom) Tower in Tehran Image copyright Getty Images

The Azadi (Freedom) Tower in the centre of Iran was originally commissioned by the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, to mark the 2,500th year of the foundation of the Imperial State of Iran.

It was renamed after the 1979 Revolution which removed him from power, and is the site of major gatherings celebrating the Islamic republic.

Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini, which houses the tomb of Ruhollah Khomeini and his family in Tehran Image copyright Alamy
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The Mausoleum of Ruhollah Khomeini houses the tombs of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini - the founder of the Islamic republic - and his family, together with other political figures. It is an important site of pilgrimage in modern Iran.

Mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini Image copyright Alamy
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Mausoleum of Ruhollah Khomeini interior, Tehran, Iran Image copyright Alamy
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All photographs copyrighted as marked.