TEHRAN: Iran reopened museums in Tehran and other cities yesterday after a more than year-long closure because of the pandemic.
“Museums in Tehran and other large cities that are no longer red-coded, meaning the risk of contracting the virus was very high, reopened on Sunday,” the director of Iran’s museums, Mohammad-Reza Kargar, said.
“Tourists and visitors are welcome to return while observing sanitary measures.”
A country with a millennia-long history, Iran has some 746 museums, including 170 in the capital.
“We are absolutely delighted, and we think the people are too because they were fed up with staying home. Visiting museums improves their mood,” Kargar said in his tourism and heritage ministry office.
“We have safety protocols in place, of course, and the number of visitors will be dependent on the space at our sites so the public stays safe and healthy.”
Kargar said only students, researchers and staff had been allowed into museums during the past 14 months.
Iran’s museums attracted more than 21 million visitors in the year before the outbreak that forced these locations to close in May last year.
Yesterday, the National Museum of Iran, with its magnificent collection of treasures dating back to the Bronze and Iron ages, was still deserted.
“We have to wait for the news to spread and schools to reopen for people to come back,” explained Firouzeh Sepidnameh, head of the museum’s pre-Islamic collections.
Iran, the worst-hit country in the Middle East, has confirmed more than 5.4 million cases of coronavirus including 117,000 deaths, according to figures issued yesterday by the health ministry.