The history of Iranian painting backs to Cavemen due to discovered potteries in Lorestan Province showing images of animal and hunting scenes, which prove their skills in painting. Reminded paints from Achaemenid era simply reveal this fact that the painters of those times preferred profiles and shadeless color.
Desert Pearl, Kashan
Kashan is the historical city located in Esfahan province in Iran, which is the first of oases along the Qum-Kerman road that runs along the edge of the Dash-e-Kavir, central desert in Iran. Sialk hillocks located in 4 km west of Kashan reveal one of the primary prehistoric civilizations around 6000 years ago. Moreover, the most well-known historical houses that were built during 18th and 20th century are among the other sites of tourist attractions addressed to be one of breathtaking sites in Kashan. After Esfahan and Shiraz, Kashan known as the most popular city among foreign tourists due to its various tourist attractions. In below, Parvaz Aram Abi tries to introduce the most well-known sceneries and historical sites in Kashan.
1 . Agha-Bozorg mosque
Agha-Bozorg Mosque is the historical mosque in Kashan that was built in 19 century and is one of the best examples of the architectural masterpieces in Qajarieh era that consists two porches, one in front of sanctuary which has 2 minarets with brick dome and the other one located in the entrance door. Furthermore, a courtyard in the middle comprises trees and a fountain in center.
2 . Sialk hillocks (Sialk Ziggurat)
The Sialk Ziggurat is a largest ancient archeological site in Kashan close to Fin Garden that was told it built by Sialk People, the ancient residents of Kashan. A joint study between the Louver, the institute Francais de Recherché en Iran, and Iran’s culture heritage organization verify the oldest settlement in Sialk back to 5500-6000 BC.
3 . The Traditional Kashan Bazaar
The traditional and oldest Bazaar in Kashan in which located in central of Kashan have been built in Seljuk era (11 century), although its renovation had been done in Safavid period (15 century). Most of its stores have remained until now, and some of them belonged to dozens of generations in which have been transferred to their offspring’s. Most of tourists believe that the most stunning feature of the Bazaar is its impressive ceiling.
4 . Traditional Persian Architecture, Ameri House and Abbasi house, and Tabatabaei house
During 18th and 19th centuries, Kashan was a favorite vacation spot for Iranian wealthy traders and noblemen. In fact, those times were a prosperous times for Iranian merchants to trade between Iran and Russia. Although, in late of 18th century, cause of deadly earthquake in Kashan, most of historical architectures were collapsed including the more wealthy architectures that were built by Shah Abbas I, the mighty Safavid King (1571-1629 CE), however, some of them were survived and others were reconstructed over times.
The most prominent among these impressive architectures can be addressed to Ameri, Abbasi and Tabatabaei houses, all of which, nowadays, have been turned into public museum.
Ameri house was built during Zand era (middle of 18th century) for Agha-Ameri who was responsible for security of Tehran and Kerman route. The house was built in an area of 9000 square meters and has 7 courtyards, like the other house around, it was renovated in 19th century due to fatal earthquake occurred in the late of 18th century.
Abbasi house is among the largest historical architecture in Kashan that was built in the late 18th century. The house has six courtyards and after death of its primary owner was separated and turned into 6 independent different house that would have been fitted for different families.
Abbasi house as viewpoint of architectural site has an impressive design with stunning stucco, delightful wall painting and Islamic architecture decorations standing in the peak of beauty and elegance.
Tabatabaei house is one of the most stunning historical buildings where located in the old part of Kashan. This house Considered as the masterpiece of architecture, by which Tabatabaei, one of the most prominent carpet merchant, which was built in late the 18th century. This stunning house consists 40 rooms, 4 yards, 4 cellars, 3 windward, and 2 aqueducts; moreover, it comprises wall painting, elegant stain glass windows as well as other classic features of tradition Persian architecture, such as Biruni and Andaruni.
5 . Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse
Sultan Ahmad Bathhouse is a historical Iranian Public Bathhouse that was built in 16th century during Safavid Dynasty, even though it was renewed during Qajar Dynasty due to the fatal earthquake in 1778 that caused widespread damages, in addition, lastly renovation was done in 1996 successfully. The bathhouse covered an area of 1000 square meters including 2 main parts, Sarbineh (dressing hall), large octagonal hall and pool separated by 8 pillars from outer section, and the other part called Garmineh (the hot bathing hall) includes smaller bathing rooms and entrance section which called Khazineh (final bathing room). You can see impressive decoration of turquoise, gold tile-work, brickwork and artistic painting inside of the bathhouse, moreover, its roof consisting of multiple domes that contain convex glasses to provide adequate lighting into bathhouse while hiding it form of outside.
6 . Fin Garden
Fin Garden primarily designed as a form of Persian style garden for Shah Abass I, the mightiest king of Safavid Dynasty, who like Kashan very much insofar as he ordered to buried in Kashan. This spectacular garden added to the world heritage of UNESCO in 2011 along other Iranian heritage sites, which is covered 23000 square meters with Cedar trees dating back to 500 years surrounded the garden and its turquoise seven ponds.
On one side of the garden is the bathhouse where Amir-Kabir, Iranian Hero, prime minister under Naser-od-Shah from 1848 to 1851 was assassinated cause of plotting the king’s mother. He was fundamental reformed especially in the fields of education and administration, but his popularity had not been appreciated by royal court and the king’s families, therefore, he was imprisoned in Fin Garden and eventually killed in the bathhouse.
7 . The shrine of Imamzadeh Hilal Ibn Ali
The beautiful shrine of Imamzadeh Hilal Ibn Ali, Prophet Mohammad offspring’s, located in Aran Va Bidgol, a village situated about 15 Km north-west of Kashan. The mausoleum decorated elaborately and designed colorfully. It has one of places near Kashan that has a worth to see it.
8 . Maranjab Carvansary
Maranjab Caravansary is one of 999 Iranian Caravansaries built by Shah Abbas I in 1603 AD that was located in Aran Va Bidgol desert, near its Salt Lake. It was a significant stopover and a place for rest and recover after a daily’s Journey for passengers of Silk Road who used this route for trading between different parts of Asia especially China, North Africa, and South-Eastern Europe.
Typically, most of traditional Caravansaries had been guarded by a trench scout and 500 armed guards who held responsible for Caravansaries’ security and safe passage of goods from China to Europe and vice versa. Subterranean springs creates fresh water in which just like a miracle on the heart the salty desert.
9 . The stunning village of Abyaneh
Abyaneh village, also known “red village” is one the best preserved villages in Iran dating back hundred years ago in which situated around 80 Km south of Kashan along the slopes of Karkas (Vulture) Mount. An Abyanki woman typically wears a white long scarf covering the shoulders and upper trunk with colorful pattern and an upper-knee skirt while wearing colored flared trousers. The dialect of Abyanki people is classified into Middle Persian language, the language of Sasanian Persia.
Jame’ mosque with its historical wooden style dating back to 1374 AD, the very old fire temple belong to Abyanki ancient Zoroastrians, and two mausoleum belonged to offspring’s of Imam Kazem, the seventh Imam of Shia are the other spectacular parts of Abyaneh.
April and May are the best time to visit this stunning village, which is the time of Rose-watering.
10 . Niasar Village
Niasar is a small village with full of gardens located 28 Km west of Kashan that its popularity owe to flower-water festival taking place each year in May. Many people in different parts of the world as well as different parts of Iran get together to visit this exiting festival.
Niasar fire temple is one of historical sites in the amazing village located in the highest point and over a rocky hill, which has been made of stones bonded with mortar, however, the main parts of it had been collapsed many years ago.
Niasar cave is a man-made cave for the purpose of worship and like all Mitra (goddess of sun and kindest) caves in the ancient era had been built in full darkness, while signs of water erosion on the rocks proved that the cave had a picturesque area since time immemorial.
A few meters down to the Niasar fire temple, a clean and cool spring flows through the village, considered as the most known earliest springs and located at the beginning of the historical part of this area. Niasar waterfall is an eye-catching place surrounded by beautiful lush tress such as willows, elms, junipers, ash, berries, figs and vines.
All About Tabriz
A fascinating bazaar, a deeply human heart and passionately helpful freelance guides make this gigantic, sprawling city (Tabriz) a sun rising positive introduction to Iran. It had a spell as the Iranian capital and has proven extremely influenced in the country’s recent history. Sometimes stiflingly smoggy and hot in summer, it can be freezing and hot in summer, it can be freezing cold in winter, but the Azeri welcome is generally very warm any time of year. Do not miss an excursion to Kandovan, Iran’s Cappadocia. (بیشتر…)
The Azerbaijan Museum, the major archaeological and historical museum in Tabriz, which was established on April 1958, situated next to the famous Blue Mosque, and it may be the nicest museum in Iran. It consists of three parts; in the entrance, you will find the archaeological department, which tells the story of Azerbaijan from the fifth century until the Sassanid era. (بیشتر…)
Arg-e Tabriz (Tabriz Citadel), also known as ‘Arg-e Alishah’, is a remnant of a big unfinished 14th-century mausoleum and a 19th-century military castle and barrack in the city center of Tabriz, East Azarbaijan Province, which was built during Ilkhanid era, between 1318 and 1339.This huge brick edifice is a chunky remnant of Tabriz Citadel. Criminals were once executed by being hurled from the top of the citadel walls. (بیشتر…)
Amir Nezam House (Qajar museum)
House of Amir Nezam House (Qajar museum), one of the dignitaries of Qajar era in Tabriz, was transformed into a specialized museum of Qajar period in 2006. Due to its historical importance, the museum hosts a large number of admirers of art, culture and history.
The reason behind the importance of Amir Nezam House, situated on Sheshgalan Avenue, is because of Tabriz’s sensitive historical and political position. In various periods, Tabriz was of paramount importance and this glory reached its zenith during the rule of Ilkhanid and Qajar dynasties.
In 1218 AH (after hegira), crown prince of Fath Ali Shah, Abbas Mirza, resided in Tabriz, which was the country’s command headquarters during wars between Iran and Russia. Beautiful buildings from Qajar era remain in Tabriz. House of Amir Nezam is one of such building.
The building was built during the era of Naser al-Din Shah by Amir Nezam Garrousi, who was the king’s chief of staff. In the king’s memoirs about his third trip to Europe, many references have been made about this building. It should be noted that after Naser al-Din Shah’s era, governors of Azerbaijan also resided in this building.
Hassan Ali Khan Amir Nezam Garrousi, the former owner of this building, was among the affluent and renowned dignitaries of his time. He held important political and military posts for 64 years. Among his posts are ambassadorship in European countries and minister of Azerbaijan.
Amir Nezam Garrousi had a deep understanding of modern ways of leadership. This important figure made moves that paved the way for bringing about fundamental social changes in Iran.
He took vast interests in arts and calligraphy. Due to his endeavors, distinguished literary figures and calligraphers emerged. A number of his students, who learned principles of calligraphy from him, are responsible for momentous developments in Iranian calligraphy.
Amir Nezam participated in Herat wars with the ranks of colonel and brigadier general with immense courage and gallantry, and was appointed Iran’s ambassador to London and also supervised and protected Iranian students studying in European cities. When Amir Nezam was ordered to kill the people of Azarbaijan, he refused to do so and went into exile in Kerman where he died.
Today, only parts of this building remain, as other parts have been destroyed throughout history. Due to its historical precedence and value, the house was purchased by East Azarbaijan’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Department in 2001. It was subsequently registered as national heritage and underwent renovation.
The house has two stories and covers an area of 3,000 square meters with a built-in area of 1,500 square meters. Like other historical and important buildings of Tabriz, the house has two courtyards that are decorated with small gardens and large ponds.
Since its pillars are embellished with plasterworks like other regional historical buildings, the balcony of this building also has 16 pillars. Plaster and mirror works in its halls enhance the beauties of this building. There is a large pond in the basement, which is one of its prettiest sections.
The museum has 11 halls for displaying different artistic endeavors. The historical articles kept in these halls have been categorized under sections named Chinese, metals, stone, coin, music, weapons and architecture.
Among the important and extraordinary articles in this museum are ceremonial clothing items of Haj Mohammad Hossein Haj Alilou (a nomadic tribe leader), a women’s jacket decorated with needlework and velvet decorated with patterns.
Chinese crystal candle-holder, vase and beautiful dishes kept in Chinese Hall indicate the cooperation of people who made available their Qajar-era works to the museum.
Given the growth of music during Qajar period and presence of towering musicians in Tabriz, the Music Hall of the museum displays the traditional Iranian and Azeri music of the time. Visitors can become familiar with valuable specimens of Setar (a traditional string instrument), gramophone and piano, and observe the statues of Abolhassan Saba, a towering master of Iranian traditional music, and Abolhassan Khan Eqbal Azar, a master of singing and traditional music, and become acquainted with the governing ambiance of the Qajar era.
Since several wars were waged during the Qajar era, it was necessary to establish Weapons Hall in the museum. When visitors visit this hall, they can remember the historical events and bitter wars of this period.
The Stone Hall has a very exquisite marble inscription made in memory of the reconstruction of Tabriz after a devastating earthquake destroyed the city in 1193 AH and a stone engraved in memory of the coronation of Mozaffareddin Shah.
Coin Hall displays Qajar era coins belonging to the eras of Mohammad Ali Shah, Mozaffareddin Shah and Ahmad Shah. Today, House of Amir Nezam is of great interest to visitors fascinated by cultural and artistic endeavors of the Qajar era.
Jameh Mosque is one of the historical monuments of Tabriz but its date of construction is not known. Since its foundation, it has been surrounded by a market. The most ancient part of this mosque is its vast roofed area. It has an arch and domes, based on octagonal brick pillars, and covered with delicate and artistic plaster work of the 5th century AH (after hegira).
This mosque was repaired during the rule of Mongol Ilkhanid Dynasty, which built additional sections to this mosque. Its high-altitude altar and plaster work are reminders of that era. During the rule of Ak Koyunlu, in the former undivided Azarbaijan province, a tall, tiled dome was built in the northern corner of this mosque–the remains of which can be currently observed.
During the 1193 AH earthquake, which damaged many Tabriz buildings, this mosque was partly damaged. The current mosque was constructed following the quake during the early years of the rule of Qajar Dynasty. It is one of the good works of art dating back to the Qajarid Era. Its height, solid structure and merited architecture makes for a compelling view and experts admire the skills of its architect.
Constitution House (Khan-e Mashroute)
Constitution House (Khan-e Mashroute) of Tabriz belongs to the Iranian Constitutional Revolution originated in Tabriz and culminated during the reign of Mohammad Ali Shah of Qajar dynasty (1779-1925). Sattar Khan and Baqir Khan were the two most prominent leading figures behind the movement. Tabriz was occupied by Russians several times in the first half of 20th century, including most of both world wars. A railway line to the border at Jolfa, built by the expansionist Russians, was of little importance until recently, but it has increased in significance in the ’90s because of Iran’s friendlier relations with its northern neighbors.
With a very rich history, Tabriz used to house many historical monuments. Unfortunately, many of them were destroyed in repeated invasions and attacks of foreign forces, negligence of the ruling governments, as well natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. What remains now mostly dates back to the Ilkhanids, the Safavids, and the Qajars. Some of the monuments are unrivaled masterpieces of architecture, such as the Constitution House.
Constitution House of Tabriz (Khan-e Mashroute) is a symbol of fighting despotism and reminiscent of struggles by Sattar Khan and Baqer Khan, the two key figures in the Iranian Constitutional Movement.
During the years, which led to Constitutional Revolution and afterwards the house, was used as a gathering place of the leaders, activists and sympathizers of the movement. Among them, the most famous people were Sattar khan, Bagher Khan, Seqat-ol-Eslam Tabrizi and Haji Mirza Aqa Farshi.
Located in Rasteh Koucheh District in the vicinity of the city’s historical bazaar, the two story building was constructed in 1868 by Haj Vali Me’mar-e Tabrizi. It has numerous rooms and halls. The most beautiful part of the house is a skylight and corridor decorated with colorful glass and mirrors.
The house is constructed by order of Haj Mehdi Koozekanani on 1868. It includes a two-floor building with internal and external part, with Qajar era architecture. Haj Mehdi Koozekanani was a merchant in the Bazaar of Tabriz. With initiating of Constitution revolution and rising up in Tabriz city, Haj Mehdi joined the revolution and became one of the major financiers of the revolution. At the same time, he used the house as a place for meeting of the revolution heads, and a place for publication of underground paper of the constitution movement. The house became important in the history once again just after World War II when it was used as a place for Azerbaijan’s Democrat Party meeting center (1946-1947). On 1975, the house was registered by Cultural Heritage of Iran.
Statues of Sattar Khan and Baqer Khan, known as Sardar-e Melli (national commander) and Salar-e Melli (national leader) respectively, are standing at the entrance of the building, reminding the passion for fighting at that era.
Sattar Khan’s revolver and examples of press from the Constitution movement era are among the items maintained at the museum.
The museum also features personal belongings of Seqat ol-Eslam Tabrizi, a Shia cleric who was hanged by Russian troops in Tabriz as well as photos of others who were campaigning presence of Russian troops in Tabriz. It includes sculptures of famous constitution revolutionaries, their personal belongings, their weapons, underground newspaper of the revolution, and numerous photos from the revolution. One of the rooms in the building is belonged to the woman’s role in the revolution.
All about Kerman
The desert trading city of Kerman has long been a staging point for traveling between Persia and the Indian subcontinent and today it remains the best place from which to explore southeastern Iran. The city has a mud-brick core centered on the historic and very lively bazaar. This is surrounded by ever – expanding low-rise , blond-brick suburbs punctuated by Qanat- fed parks.
The city is something of a melting pot, blending Persians with the more sub continental Baluchis who dominates areas east of here. This mix is most evident in the Bazaar, which is a highlight. Sights in and around Kerman can keep you for two to four days.
Believed to have been founded in the early 3rd century by Sassanid dynasty progenitor Ardeshir I, Kerman has a history full of prosperity and plunder. Always an important trade hub, from the 7th century Kerman was ruled in turn by the Arabs, Buyid, Seljuks, Turkmen and Mongols, and then until the Qajar dynasty by a further succession of invaders and regional despots. Kerman only gained security under the central government in Tehran during the 19th century.
Kerman’s continuity was its commerce, the evidence of which can still be seen in the many caravanserai around the Bazaar. As trade moved more to the sea in the production of carpets, which remains important today.
Sanati Museum of Contemporary Art
Occupying a former orphanage, the Sanati Museum of Contemporary Art is a pleasant surprise in a town that can otherwise feel a long way from modern cultural pursuits. In a Qajar-era building set around an attractive courtyard, the museum houses paintings, sculptures and stone inlays by famous local artist Sayyed Ali Akbar Sanati (1916–2006), who spent most of his childhood in the orphanage. It also exhibits works by younger Iranian artists and even a bronze hand by Auguste Rodin.
A unique feature of the museum is its architecture. Set around an attractive courtyard the museum building was built of adobe and brick with domed ceiling in accordance to Iranian traditional architectural style. Not surprisingly, it is a good place to meet open-minded young Kermanis.