The Culture of Flatbread Making and Sharing was inscribed by UNESCO in 2016 in a joint nomination file with Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.
According to the archeological excavations in ancient sites like Tepe Hesar in Damghan city, the history of wheat in Iran dates back to around 6-7 thousand years ago. In Avesta, a collection of religious texts of Zoroastrianism, it has been mentioned to a specific type of Iranian flatbread as a sign of blessing and abundance in ritual ceremonies.
According to written resources, after the conquest of Iran (651 CE), Arabs were acquainted with the Iranian flatbread and called it Thin Enjoyment. This name was kept though for a period of time it was called Raqaq. The limitations of planting rice and the difficulty for its transportation to various parts of Iran made bread even more popular in the past. Today, bread is also an inseparable part of Iranian gastronomy irrespective of social and economic status.
Based on the technique of cooking, Iranian bread is divided into various types including Komaj, frying pan, Sangak, furnace (Tanūr), Taftoon, Lavash, and pot bread. Although different in style, they are all made with wheat flour, water, and salt. The size and type of bread are different following the geographical condition, lifestyle, as well as access to the wheat and its abundance.
Out of the above bread types, Taftoon and Lavash with a round or oval thin shape are most common in Iran. In the past, Taftoon was the main bread of commoners, while Lavash was more popular among nobles and rich people because it was thinner. Nowadays, both of them are widely used in different cities and villages in the country.
In general, traditional bread making is a social and collective skill, indicating an expression of culture inherited from the past. This is more the case in rural regions where traditional styles of cooking bread are still in use. Family members and even neighbors help each other to cook bread in stone or clay oven in the ground (Tanūr) at homes. The Culture of Flatbread Making and Sharing was inscribed by UNESCO in 2016 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in a joint nomination file with Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.