World’s 3rd oldest tree ‘Cypress of Abarkuh’ in Yazd became 4500 years old

TEHRAN, Mar. 24 (MNA) – The world’s third oldest tree still living today, ‘Cypress of Abarkuh’ or ‘Sarv-e Abarkuh’, located in Yazd province, Iran, has just became 4,500 years old.

Iran is home to the world’s third longest-living tree still standing today. ‘Cypress of Abarkuh’ or ‘Sarv-e Abarkuh’, located in Abarkouh city of Yazd province has just become 4,500 years old. The tree is the world’s third oldest after a Great Basin bristlecone pine (5,062 years old) and Methuselah (4,845 years old), both of which from the same species ‘Pinus longaeva’ and living in California’s White Mountains.

Cypress has an ancient, deep-rooted tie with the Iranian history, and is spotted in many symbols and old Persian poetry. Yet, the Cypress of Abarkuh is a special case all on its own.

The tree is Iran’s oldest living heritage, standing at 25-28 meters high and with a width of 11.5 meters at its trunk and 18 meters higher up around its branches.

Researchers from Japan and Russia first estimated the tree’s lifespan as old as 8,000 years. Later, Russian scientist Alexander Rouf estimated its age at between 4,000 and 4,500 years old, which placed it as the oldest tree in Asia.

Cypress of Abarkuh, while protected by the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran as the country’s third national heritage in 2007, is sadly still waiting for a UNESCO inscription.

For something as ancient as this, it is only natural to be shrouded in mysteries and legends. Some legends attribute the tree’s origin to Japheth, the son of Noah, while others believe Zoroaster, the ancient Iranian prophet and spiritual leader, had planted it. In some myths, the tree has been described to have a soul that keeps it standing throughout the centuries.

Mythologies aside, the tree’s longevity has been credited to favorable natural conditions of its location. Nowadays, though, with the expansion of cities and tourist and car traffics, the tree’s natural habitat seems to be in a greater need to be protected. The Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Yazd has taken some measures, such as killing pests and enclosing the tree with fences, in a bid to ensure that the ancient tree would continue to live for many more years to come.

An ice house in Abarkuh

Abarkuh, meanwhile, is the oldest city in Yazd, with many beautiful historical monuments and tourist attractions. The city is home to four adobe ice houses’which date back to Qajar dynasty. The ice houses (Yakhchal) are ancient buildings made of adobe and mud that were used to store ice and food throughout the year, commonly used prior to the invention of the refrigerator.

Gonbad-e Ali is another wonderful spot for sight-seeing. It is an octagonal funerary tower made of stone, dating back to the Dylamlyan period in fifth century AD, and considered as a fine example of Iranian historical architecture.

Gonbad-e Ali

You can also see one of the finest examples of windcatchers in the world in Abarkuh, located at Aghazadeh Mansion. It is 18 meters high and covers an area of 18 square meters. The mansion has three different sections based on the weather conditions in various seasons. It features a cross-shaped northern room facing a central courtyard with a large stone pool in the middle. Pick up a 20,000 rial bill and look at the building portrayed on it. It is the façade of the mansion that has been adorning the banknote since 2015.

Aghazadeh Mansion

While in Abarkuh, take a trip to the center of the city to visit its grand mosque. The Jameh Mosque of Abarku belongs to the Timurid Empire period, and is made of adobe. It is a four-ivan structure with a rectangular courtyard in the middle. The entrance to the mosque opens to the north and runs through the courtyard by a wide octagonal atrium.

News Code 143285


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