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.
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…)
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.
The Ganjali Khan Complex is a Safavid-era building complex, located in the old center of Kerman, Iran. The complex is composed of a school, a square, a caravanserai, a bathhouse, an Ab Anbar (cistern), a mint, a mosque and a bazaar.
The Ganjali Khan Complex was built by Ganj Ali Khan who governed Kerman, Sistan and Kandahar provinces from 1596 to 1621 under Safavid Shah Abbas I. A number of inscriptions laid inside the complex indicate the exact date when these places have been built.
The complex covers an area of 11000 square meters and is centered on a large public square-ninety-nine meters by fifty-four meter-which is aligned with Vakil Bazaar running east-west to its south. The square is enveloped by bazaar arcades to the north, south and west and is flanked by the Ganjali Khan Caravanserai to the east. The entrance to the Ganjali Khan bathhouse is located along a section of Vakil Bazaar south of the square, known as Ganjali Khan Bazaar. The complex was built in Isfahani style of architecture.
Monuments and buildings
Ganjali Khan Square
In ancient Iran, the squares of the cities were established near the governorships and were places for gatherings and ceremonies. The Ganjali square is ninety-nine meters by fifty-four meter, and Similar to Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan and Amir Chakhmagh Square in Yazd, is surrounded by urban elements such as bazaars, Caravanserais and schools.
Ganjali Khan Bathhouse
Built in 1631, the Ganjali bathhouse is located on the southern side of Ganjali Square, off a section of Vakil Bazaar known as Ganjali Bazaar. The entrance of the building is painted with ornaments of the Safavid era. An interesting feature of its architectural finish is that the sculptured stones of the ceiling coincide with that of the flooring. It is composed of a disrobing room, cold room and hot room, all covered with domes carried on squint. The Ganjali Baths are unique works of architecture decorated with exquisite tile works, paintings, stucco, and arches.
The bathhouse was converted into an anthropological museum in 1971. In the closet section and main yard of the bath, there are many lifelike statues. These statues were designed at Tehran University‘s faculty of fine arts in 1973 and then transferred to this museum.
Ganjali Khan Bazaar
The bazaar is located in southern part of Ganjali Khan Square. Inside, the bazaar is decorated with exquisite plasterwork and wall paintings and although they are 400 years old, they are still well preserved. The bazaar is 93 meters long and is connected to Ganjali square through 16 Iwans and vaults.
Ganjali Khan Caravanserai and Mosque
The caravanserai is located on the east side of the Ganjali KhanSquare. Its portal bears a foundation inscription from 1598 composed by calligrapher Alireza Abbasi. The plan of the caravanserai is based on the four-iwan typology, with double-story halls centered on tall Iwans enveloping four sides of an open courtyard. There is an octagonal fountain at the center of the courtyard, which is chamfered at the corners. The caravanserai measures thirty-one and a half by twenty-three meters. It has a small domed mosque at one corner that measures five and a half by five meters.
The mint’s construction started in 1598 and ended in 1625. The interior decorations consist of Ochre plasterwork and brickwork. The building has a tall dome crowned by a cupola to admit light and vent air. The mint was converted into a numismatics museum in 1970. The museum displays coins from different periods such as Parthian, Sassanid, Safavid and Afsharid eras.
The Safavid era Yakhchal Moayedi is a well-preserved, conical adobe structure that was used to store ice. The ice store was, and in some part still is, surrounded by gardens. The gardens would fill with water during winter, and when the water froze, the ice would be slid into the yakhchal for use in warmer months. It is now a theatre space that doubles as a tourism office, with a few brochures.
Yakhchal Moayedi, is located about one and a half kilometers from the center of the city. This cone-shaped building is about eighteen meters high. The massive insulation and the continuous cooling waters that spiral down its side keep the ice stored there in winter frozen throughout the summer. These ice houses used in desert towns from antiquity have a trench at the bottom to catch what water does melt from the ice and allow it to refreeze during the cold desert nights. The ice is broken up and moved to caverns deep in the ground where ambient low temperatures remain constant and allow the ice to remain in a frozen state. As more water runs into the trench, the process is repeated. Often seen around the ice-houses and many of the homes in the desert are towers called Badgirs or windward. Built of mud or mud brick, these Badgirs (windward), mentioned by Marco Polo, are square or round, but the operating principle is the same: to catch the slightest breeze in the vents at the top and to funnel the cooling air down through internal, vertically-placed wooded slats to the water or dwelling below. Alternately, the badgir can function as a chimney, expelling warm air to pull cool air out of a Qanat (an underground stream).
This is a circular structure made of sun baked bricks and clay. The same resembles a huge dome. This structure located in the city of Kerman, is surrounded by lush greenery and is a site for tourists. There are several small-gardens around this ice-house, which were filled with the water in winter, then after that the water iced, the ices lead to the ice-house to use in summer.
Moayedi is the name of a parish in Kerman and it includes some parts of fields and old Qanat in Takhti square and Khorshid Abuhames streets. It sites in the first of Shahid Kamyab in the same region of Kerman and is now one of the tourist attractions. It seems that Moayed Aldin Reyhan one of the rulers of Kerman had been the owner of it. The gardens would fill with water during winter, and when the water froze, the ice would be slid into the Yakhchal for use in warmer.
Imam mosque is one of the Naqsh-e-Jahan mosques, which has been built in the Safavid era and is a good example of Islamic Architecture. This building is a timeless masterpiece of eleventh century’s Architecture and tiling. Abbasi Jame mosque located in the southern side of Naqsh-e-Jahan Square and in the vicinity of important buildings such as Ali Qapu and Sheikh Lotfollah mosque.
Palaces & Caravansaries in Isfahan
Some of the Palaces & Caravansaries in Isfahan can be listed as below:
- Ali Qapu (The Royal Palace) – early 17th century
- ChehelSotoun (The Palace of Forty Columns) – 1647
- Hasht-Behesht (The Palace of Eight Paradises) – 1669
- Shah Caravan-sarai
- Talar Ashraf (The Palace of Ashraf) – 1650
Some of the Minarets in Isfahan can be listed as below:
- Ali minaret – 11th century
- Bagh-e-Ghoushkhane minaret – 14th century
- ChehelDokhtaran minaret – 12 century
- Dardasht minarets – 14th century
- Darozziafe minarets – 14th century
- MenarJonban – 14th century
- Sarban minaret