Category Archives: Architecture

Kariz-e Kish: An underground city in Kish Island, Iran

A stone doorway opens up into a maze of walled passages and clear openings that is now partly open for tourists. It is actually an ancient underground aqueduct in Kish, a resort island in Hormozgan Province, in the Persian Gulf.

The kariz of Kish is said to have been built about 2500 years ago by the inhabitants of Harireh City. They stroked the coralline layers of the island in search of water and built the qanat to channel fresh water to their homes and farms. For centuries afterwards, this water not only relieved the thirst of the local residents, but by exporting it to neighboring states, they bartered it for sugar or cash.

Before the Roman aqueduct, the people of pre-Islamic Iran had developed their own hydraulic system called kariz (qanat). The technology spread then eastward to Afghanistan and westward to Egypt. A qanat taps underground mountain water sources trapped in and beneath the upper reaches of alluvial fans and channels the water downhill through a series of gently sloping tunnels, often several kilometres long, to the places where it is needed for irrigation and domestic use. Although new qanats are seldom built today, many old qanats are still used in Iran and Afghanistan, mainly for irrigation.

The ancient water management system in Kish collected water from 274 wells in an area of 14km² and conducted the water to a central refining shaft filled with three layers of filter material. The top layer was coral gravel which was used to neutralize the acids in the water and filter bigger solids in the water. Then a layer of coral grit with clay was filtering fine solids, and the lowest layer was made of marl, a special sort of clay.

Sixteen meters below the coral island, the tunnels, which have been reinforced for safety, snake through the island for over five miles, creating a subterranean world. Its ceilings, once a seabed, are eight meters high and mostly covered by fossilized shells and corals. Tests conducted on these fossils at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, determined that they are from 53 to 570 million years old.

Kish has a history of about 3.000 years, over this time it has been called under various names such as Kamtina, Arakia, Arakata, and Ghiss. The island has an estimated population of 26.000 residents and about one million visitors annually.

Kish Underground City is located at the Olympics Square, on the intersection of three aqueducts with 74 wells over an area of 10km². Efforts have been made to preserve the traditional and historic fabric of this site while providing new uses with museums, art galleries, handicraft workshops, traditional and modern tea and coffee shops for tourists. Nevertheless, the developers have not forgotten its ancient function; the kariz is again fulfilling its role as a water filter, although the filtered water is used mainly for irrigation purposes.

Sources: Ancient Origins, Atlas Obscura, Daily Mail, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Facebook @Kariz.Kish, Fars News, Flickr @ashkan-kankash, Flickr @maissam, Flickr @watoo-watoo, Hamgardi, Hidden and little known places, Historical Iran, ISNA, Kish Underground City, Mehr News Agency (MNA) 1, MNA 2, Panoramio @Nasser Emami, Tasnim News Agency (TNA) 1, TNA 2, Tishineh, Untold Iran, Wikipedia, Young Journalists Club

Orsi Khaneh – A’Design Award winner: Modern stained glass meets Iranian tradition (Photos)

Orsi Khaneh Residential Apartment in Tehran, has won a bronze A’Design award in the category of Architecture, Building and Structure Design, 2015-2016.

Brothers Nima and Sina Keivani based the design of the seven-storey block on elements commonly found in traditional Iranian architecture. The architects particularly wanted to reinterpret the orsi window, a type of sash window with latticed woodwork and coloured glass typically used to help reduce sunlight and heat, and repel insects in the hot climate. This inspired the project name Orsi Khaneh.

The street-facing facade is made from a double layer of heat-treated timber, inset with panes of stained glass and planting that not only serve as a decorative element but also help to control temperature. Matching slatted sunshades can be raised over the windows to provide further control of sunlight.

The appearance is in part inspired by a pair of historic residences with intricately moulded and patterned facades – Borujerdi’s House and Tabatabaei’s House, located in the Iranian city of Kashan.

At the back of the building, recessed balconies overlooking a small ramped courtyard are framed in the same pale stonework. The courtyard provides access to underground parking and is decorated with mosaics that form grassy patterns. Wooden flower boxes are mounted on the walls surrounding it as well as sections of the facade, hinting at the vegetated roof terrace, which features manicured flower beds, an outdoor fireplace and a gazebo.

The building was designed in June 2013 and the construction works finished in September 2015 in Tehran.

Project credits:
Architect in charge and supervisor: Nima Keivani / Architect in charge: Sina Keivani
Client: Amir Abbas Taheri / Contractor: Mohammad Mashuf
Design associates: Ladan Mostofi, Akbar Khalaj
Architectural theory consultant: Alireza Kharazmi Nezhad
Ideogram: Maryam Sarshar / Mechanical consultant: Mehdi Bazargahi

Sources: dezeen.com, The Building Centre, iranian-architect.irA’ Design Award (interview), Wikipedia | Orsi window (in Persian), worldarchitecture.org, inhabitat.com

Tehran’s Niavaran Residential Complex – Keeping trees close to people (Photos)

Designed by Iranian architect Mohammad Reza Nikbakht, Niavaran Residential Complex is located in Tehrans, Shemiran area. Shemiran, being spread along Alborz Mountains slope, used to be a summer resort of Tehran until 40 years ago due to its numerous gardens. Unfortunately, many gardens with old trees in the area have been destroyed by urbanization projects over the last century.

The parcel of land allocated to this project accommodates a number of these old trees too, whose conservation has been considered as the first priority in designing this complex. Mohammed Reza Nikbahkt took a different approach by building around existing trees in order to preserve them.

The 6 story building in Niavaran, northern Tehran, has been designed in 5 levels, each accommodating 6 residential appartments, and 3 lower floors for common facilities. The ground floor includes the entrance lobby, building managers office, ceremonies and gatherings hall. The first basement is mainly for a parking lot and store rooms, while the second basement, in addition to a parking lot, includes central heating room, swimming pool, Spa and the gym.

Niavaran Residential Complex by Mohammad Reza Nikbakht won the World Architecture Award (WA Award – Cycle 12).

Sources: Contemporary Architecture of Iran (more photos), greenprophet.com, worldarchitecture.org

Photo series: Winter in Iran – Savadkuh County, Mazandaran

The Veresk Bridge and the Three Golden Lines, a railway spiral passing three times by the same area at different heights are located in Savadkuh County, Mazandaran Province. They are part of the Trans-Iranian Railway, a major railway building project that started in 1927 and completed in 1938. It links the capital Tehran with the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea.

The Danish firm Kampsax began constructing Veresk Bridge in 1934. The structure stands at 110m height and has a 66m long arch. It connects two mountains in the Abbas Abad region.

The construction of this bridge included craftsmen of many nationalities. The name of the bridge is derived from the name of a Czechoslovakian technician whose name was hard to pronounce for Iranians. Near the bridge is a memorial for the workers who lost their life while building the bridge and its nearby tunnels. The Chief Engineer, Austrian Walter Aigner, following his wishes, is buried in the local cemetery of Veresk.

During World War II, it was known as the Pol-e-Piroozi, or the bridge of victory. During the course of the war, Reza Shah was asked by Hitler to blow up all tunnels and bridges, including the Veresk Bridge, on Iran’s railway lines in order to delay the transfer of goods and reinforcement troops to the north for the Russians. He furthermore promised to replace and reconstruct all of such demolished structures following the Germans’ victory in the war. Reza Shah rejected the request. Today trains connecting Tehran to Gorgan or Sari pass over this bridge an average of four times a day.

Sources: Wikipedia | Veresk Bridge, Borna News, highestbridges.com, fouman.com, Wikipedia | Trans-Iranian-Railway

Windcatchers: Ancient and environment friendly Iranian cooling system (Photos)

A  windcatcher or bâdgir (in Persian: bâd “wind” and gir “catcher”) is a traditional Persian architectural element to create natural ventilation in buildings. They have remained present in many countries and can be found in traditional Persian-influenced architecture throughout the Middle East, including in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf (mostly Bahrain and Dubai), Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

Most windcatchers belong to old residential houses, mosques and urban reservoirs, e.g. in Persian architecture they were used as a refrigerating device at traditional water reservoirs (ab anbars) to store water near freezing temperatures in summer. Regardless of its utility, the height and adornments of these windcatchers used to represent the owner’s distinction and social standing.

Recently the windcatcher approach has been adopted in Western architecture, such as in the visitor center at Zion National Park, Utah and at Kensington Oval cricket ground in Barbados.

Below windcatchers in the cities of Yazd and Kashan (Yazd and Isfahan Provinces) by Hamid Najafi for Tasnim News and by Hoda Asghari for Mehr News.

Windcatchers come in various designs: uni-directional, bi-directional, and multi-directional and work pretty much like modern air conditioning system. At the top of the windcatcher are several directional ports – usually four open towards four direction. When the port facing the prevailing wind is opened, air is pushed down the shaft and into the building. At the base of the tower is a pool of water provided by aqueducts called karez (or qanat), over which the air is allowed to pass. As the warm air passes over the surface of the water, the air cools through evaporative cooling. At night, cold air is sucked into the house thereby cooling it naturally.

Windcatchers can also act in reverse. By closing all ports but the one facing away from the incoming wind, air is drawn upwards using a combination of Bernoulli’s Principle and Coanda effect. The negative pressure pulls hot air down into the karez tunnel and is cooled by coming into contact with the cool earth and cold water running through it. At this point, the cooled air is introduced into the building. By facing windcatchers away from the wind, dust and sand blowing in from the desert can also be kept away from buildings.

The evaporative cooling effect is strongest in the driest climates, such as on the Iranian plateau, leading to the ubiquitous use of windcatchers in drier areas such as Yazd, Kerman, Kashan, Sirjan, Nain, and Bam.

Shish-khans (small windcatchers) can still be seen on top of water reservoirs in Qazvin and other northern cities in Iran. These seem to function more as ventilators than as the temperature regulators seen in the central deserts of Iran.

Sources: Tasnim News (Yazd), Mehr News (Kashan), Wikipedia, Historical Iran, Amusing Planet

Iran’s South Khorasan Province: Kolah Farangi, Birjand

The Kolah Farangi Citadel is located in Birjand in South Khorasan Province. It was built during the late Zand and early Qajar era between the years 1848 and 1895. The structure is a unique landmark of Birjand and was constructed by Amir Hassan Khan Sheybani. It consists of the garden, the stable, the bathhouse, the offices, and the reception hall.


The building has a hexagonal base, a white conical top and is six stories high. The main entrance is preceded by a roofed area containing some eye-catching arcs. The interior of the ground floor has a number of different rooms which are connected by hallways. In its center there is a room containing a pool which can be accessed from many different entrances. It is situated approximately a meter lower than the rest of the floor and is octagonal in shape. The pool helps keep optimum ventilation throughout the building.

The Kolah Farangi Citadel is registered as national cultural heritage site number 1880. Today it is used as Southern Khorasan’s governorship offices and storage space.

Sources: Dream of Iran, Historical Iran

Iran’s Isfahan Province: Kashan – Fin Garden Series (2nd photo gallery)

Fin Garden, located in Kashan, Iran, is a historical Persian garden completed in 1590. It is the oldest existing garden in Iran. Unesco declared the garden a World Heritage Site in 2012.

Related post about Bagh-e Fin (Fin Garden) with more information and photos:
The other Iran | Kashan – Fin Garden Series

Sources: Wikipedia | Fin Garden, Mehr News Agency | Photos

Iran’s Kerman Province: Fath-Abad Garden (Photos)

Fath-Abad Garden is located next to the village of Ekhteyarabad, 25km from the city of Kerman. It dates back to the Qajar era. The garden has been recently renovated after having its last restoration in 1972.

Shazdeh Garden, a historical  Persian Garden near Mahan, also in Kerman Province, has been modeled on Fathabad Garden.

Related articles: The other Iran | Shazdeh Garden

Sources: IRNA | Photos, Wikipedia | Fath-Abad Garden (in Persian), Tasnim | Photos , ISNA | Photos

Iran’s Radkan (East) Tower a sophisticated instrument for studying the stars built in AD 1261

Radkan (East) Tower or Mil-i Sharq Radkan lies near Radkan Village, 25km away of Chenaran in Razavi Khorasan Province, Iran. According to Iranian archaeo-astronomer Manoochehr Arian, it was actually a highly sophisticated instrument for studying the stars built in AD 1261 by astronomers led by Nasruddin Tusi (Nasir Al-Tusi; 1201–74).

The round, conical-topped brick tower was designed so that the sun shines directly through its doors and niches on solstice and equinox days. It was possibly with data collected here and at his more famous observatory at Maraqeh that Tusi managed to calculate the earth’s diameter and explain discrepancies between Aristotle’s and Ptolemy’s theories of planetary movement.

Based on epigraphic remnants, German archaeologist and Iranologist Ernst Herzfeld, has argued that the tomb tower belongs to Amir Arghun Khan, a residence of Radkan who died in 1274. The tomb is cylindrical, with an octagonal burial chamber crowned by a conical dome. It is entered from two axial entrances facing southeast and northwest.

The thirty-six engaged columns enveloping its exterior between the base and the dome give the tomb a wavy outline. A spiraling stair encased within the monument’s walls gives access to the inner dome, of which only the base remains. The double dome construction of the roof has a long history in the tomb towers built in Iran during the Seljuk period (roughly 1050-1150) and before. Gunbad-i Qabus in Gorgan is the first example of a monumental tomb structure that employs a double dome construction with an outer conical roof covering an inner hemispherical one.

Sources: Lonely Planet | Radkan, Iran, ArchNet | Mil-i Sharq Radkan, Mehr News Agency, Facebook.com | Ariana Ahangary, citypedia.ir, The best travelled | Witold Repetowicz

Iran’s Isfahan Province: The underground city of Nushabad (Photos)

The underground city of Ouyi (Noushabad) in northern Kashan, Isfahan Province, is considered one of the masterpieces of ancient architecture. The complex spreads across thousands of square meters and consists of many labyrinth-like architectural structures, corridors, rooms and wells. Natural air conditioning and water supply of the city are among its ancient engineering wonders. The ventilation system used in the underground city through devising canals made it possible for the refugees to breathe even at a depth of 20 meters below the ground.

A large number of historic evidence including earthenware vessels and stone instruments ranging in date to Sassanid (224-651 AD), Ilkhanid (1256-1336), and Safavid (1501-1736 AD) dynastic periods have been retrieved from the underground city. After three seasons of performing archeological studies, tourists can once again visit the city from entrances adjacent to two old water reservoirs.

In the past this region was quite insecure and by forming an underground chain of passages beneath the entire city, the inhabitants would shelter there in the time of being attacked. Through these passages they could reach any spot of the city without being seen.

The depth of this underground city varies from 4 to 18 meters. Entrances to the city were from population concentration points such as water reservoirs, markets, fortresses and also some individual houses. People could live in the underground passages and room for several days without the need of going outside.

There are three levels in this underground city and these levels were cleverly planned in a way that going to the different levels required moving from down to up. This made it easier for the people sheltering in the underground city to prevent enemies from getting to the upper levels.

Another interesting feature of their architecture was the curvy passages that made it possible for the inhabitants to ambush enemies. Furthermore there were several other tricks that were used to resist against the enemies, for instance digging deep holes in the middle of the rooms and covering it with rotating stones that would fall down if anyone stepped on them.

Other great photo series and stories on Iran: The other Iran | Photos

About Nushabad
Nushabad (Persian: نوش آباد‎, also Romanized Noshabad) is a city in the Central District of Aran va Bidgol County, Isfahan Province, Iran about 5 kilometers north of Kashan. At the 2006 census, its population was 10,476, in 2,859 families. As Nushabad city is located in the region of central desert of Iran, its weather is quite harsh. During the day Nushabad has a very hot temperature and during the nights it gets pretty cold.

Sources: Wikipedia | Nushabad, Hamshahri Online (Photos), Fars News | Photos, Historical Iran

Iran’s South Khorasan Province: Akbarieh Garden and Mansion, Birjand (Photos)

Akbariyeh Garden is Located in Birjand, North-east of Iran and is one of the most beautiful Persian gardens. This historical garden lying in the mountainous bed, consists of two mansions.

Construction of the older building in the easternmost of the garden dates back to the late Zandiyeh and early Qajar era. But the central building, on the western front, is almost as the core counts of the garden. It is beautifully decorated and was used for ceremonies.


The mansions display inlaid decorations, netted and sash windows with colored glasses, and geometrical plaster designs. The Russian-Iranian design displays tall trees, pavilion, and extremely beautiful sash decorating with mirrors and tile.

The Akbariyeh Garden’s mulberry trees, pomegranates and flowers are making beautiful sights.
Although the garden is situated in remote parts of the country, it is one of the Persian gardens that worth visiting in a trip to Iran.

Today, the mansion is used as a library, museums of archaeology, anthropology and wildlife and a traditional Persian tea house.

Akbariyeh Garden is among the 9 Iranian Gardens which are collectively registered as one of the Iran’s 17 registered World Heritage Sites under the name of the Persian Garden.

Akbariyeh Garden is also known as the Akbarieh Garden and Edifice, or Akbarieh Garden and Complex. In Persian it reads as “باغ اکبریه” (from right to left) and pronounced as “baqe akbariyeh”.

Related posts: The other Iran | Birjand

Sources: Otraq.com, Dream of Iran

Iran’s South Khorasan Province: Birjand Citadel 2 (Photos)

The citadel protected people from the aggression of enemies during the Safavid and Qajar eras. Made of brick and clay walls, it is the oldest structure in the city and dates back to Safavids. The castle offers a beautiful view of the city, specially the old town.

Birjand, located on the eastern side of Iran’s central desert, is the capital of Southern Khorasan province in Eastern Iran. The weather is harsh and dry, however, Birjand had the first water system in Iran, even before that of Tehran and other big cities.

Due the climate and being protected by mountain range and desert, Birjand’s culture and language have remained almost unaffected by time. The Birjandi dialect of Persian is considered one of the oldest spoken accent of the language in Iran.

It is said that the Shokatiyeh School in Birjand together with Darolfonoon in Tehran were the first modern public schools of higher education in Iran in the mid-19th century. Nicknamed as City of Pines and City of Culture, Birjand has amassed an abundance of institutions of higher education and become an important location for research and development.

Related article: The other Iran | Iran’s South Khorasan Province: Birjand Citadel (Photos)

Sources: IRNA | Photos, Dream of Iran | All About Birjand: The Capital of Saffron Province

Iran’s Khuzestan Province: Ahvaz – About bridges and a rainbow colored waterfall (Photos)

Ahvaz is a city in the south of Iran with a population of 1,400,000 (2006). Ahvaz is built on the banks of the Karun River and is situated in the middle of Khuzestan Province. The city has an average elevation of 20 meters above sea level.

The Karun is Iran’s most effluent and only navigable river. It is 720 km long. It rises in the Zard Kuh mountains of the Bakhtiari district in the Zagros Range, receiving many tributaries, such as the Dez and the Kuhrang, before passing through the capital of the Khuzestan Province of Iran, the city of Ahvaz.

The river divides the city in two; east and west and with its many bridges connecting both sides of the city over the Karun, Ahvaz is called “The city of Bridges”:
1st) Black Bridge or Railway Bridge (Pol-e Siah): Built in 1919. It is 1050m long and 6.00m wide.
2nd) White Bridge (Pol-e Sefid): Built in 1936, it was the first suspended bridge of Iran.
3rd) Third Bridge: Finished in 1970, it is 496m long and 14.50m wide.
4th) Fourth Bridge or Salman Farsi Bridge: Built in 1975. It is 576m long and 16,70m wide.
5th) Fifth Bridge: It was inaugurated in 1996. It is 480m long and 30,70m wide.
6th) Sixth Bridge or Steel Bridge (Sana-ye Foolad): The bridge was completed in 2007. Its lenght is 740m and its width 30.40.
7th) Seventh Bridge: Finished in 1998. There is an artificial waterfall on this bridge to enjoy on weekends and special days.
8th) Eighth Bridge or Cable Bridge: Inaugurated in 2012 as the biggest cable bridge in the Middle East, it is 1,014m long and 22m wide.

Alongside the seventh bridge, on weekends and special days, there is a beautiful artificial waterfall. It combines water eruption and light games on both sides of the bridge. The waterfall is from one side 150m long, from the other side 200m and has a a height of 35 meters.

Sources: ISNA | Khuzestan | Photos, ISNA | Photos, Mehr News Agency | Photos 1, Mehr News Agency | Photos 2seeiran.ir, asriran.com | News, ISNA | Khuzestan | News, Wikipedia | Ahvaz, Ahvaz Municipality | Tourismus | Bridges, Wikipedia | Karun, untoldiran.com | Karun Rainbow Waterfall, Payvand News of Iran, ISNA | Khouzestan | Ahvaz in black and white bridges

Iran’s Kerman Province: Mahan – Shazdeh Garden (Photos) – Part 2

Shazdeh Garden is a historical Persian garden located 6km away from the city of Mahan in Kerman province, Iran. It is a rectangular green oasis surrounded by brown desert and a good example of Persians gardens that take advantage of suitable natural climate.

Related article with more information and photos:
The other Iran | Iran’s Kerman Province: Mahan – Shazdeh Garden

Sources: Jamejam Online | Photos, Tishineh | Shazdeh Garden, NEX1 TV | Photos

Photos: Masoudieh Palace in Tehran, Iran

Masoudieh Palace (Emarat-e Masoudieh) is a beautiful historical house from Qajar dynasty in old Tehran near Baharestan Square, comprised of a palace and surrounding houses.

It was built in 1879 for the prince Mass’oud Mirza (Zell-e Soltan) – the son of Nasseredin Shah and the governor of Isfahan – as his residence in the Capital. Spanning over an area of 5 hectares, the mansion was constructed in the middle of a garden.

The Masoudieh Mansion has been home to many events that changed the history of the country. It was fusilladed after an unsuccessful assassination of the Mohammadali Shah and was also one of the main gathering centers during the Persian Constitutional Revolution.

Besides its political importance, the mansion has served the country culturally. The first steps to form the National Library of Iran and also the National Museum of Iran were taken there. The first independent ministry of education of the country was also formed at the Masoudieh Mansion.

Sources: Iran Review | Enjoyable Moments in Tehran with a Cup of History, Dourbin.net (DIPA) | Masoudieh Palace, DIPA | Masoudieh Palace

Photos: A glance at Qazvin, Iran

Qazvin is the capital of the Province of Qazvin in Iran. Qazvin was an ancient capital in the Persian Empire and nowadays is known as the calligraphy capital of Iran. It is famous for its Baghlava, carpet patterns, poets, political newspaper and pahlavi (Middle Persian) influence on its accent. At the 2011 census, its population was 381,598.

Located in 150km (93mi) northwest of Tehran and south of the Alborz, it is at an altitude of about 1,800m (5,900ft) above sea level.

Notable personalities
The most famous Qazvini calligrapher was Mir Emad (Qazvini) Hassani. Ubayd Zakani was a famous 8th-century poet noted for his satire and obscene verses. Dehkhoda was a prominent Iranian linguist and author of the most extensive dictionary of the Persian language ever published.

 

History
Archeological findings in the Qazvin plain reveal the existence of urban agricultural settlements as far back as 7000BCE. The name “Qazvin” or “Kasbin” is derived from Cas, an ancient tribe that lived south of the Caspian Sea millennia ago.

Qazvin has been a hotbed of historical developments in Iranian history. In the early years of the Islamic era Qazvin served as a base for the Arab invaders. Destroyed by Genghis Khan (13th century), the Safavids monarchs made Qazvin the capital of the Safavid Empire in 1548 only to have it moved to Isfahan in 1598.

Bombed and occupied by Russian forces in both World Wars, Qazvin is also where the famous coup d’etat was launched from that led to the rise of Reza Shah of Pahlavi dynasty in 1921. Qazvin is also situated near Alamut, where the famous Hasan-e Sabbah, founder of the Ismaili order of the Assassins, operated from.

Main sights
In the middle of the city lie the ruins of Meimoon Ghal’eh, one of several Sassanid buildings in the area. The most famous of the surviving edifices of the Safavid era is the Chehelsotoon mansion. The Caravanserai of Sa’d al-Saltaneh is one of Iran’s best preserved urban caravanserais.

About 100 km (62 mi) south-west of Qazvin are the tombs of two Saljuki era princes — Abu Saeed Bijar, son of Sa’d, and Abu Mansur Iltai, son of Takin.  — located in two separate towers known as the Kharraqan twin towers. Constructed in 1067 CE, these were the first monuments in Islamic architecture to include a non-conic two-layered dome. Both towers were severely damaged by a devastating earthquake in March 2003.

Qazvin has three buildings built by Russians in the late 19th/early 20th century. Among these is the current Mayor’s office (former Ballet Hall) and a water reservoir. St. Nicholas church was built in 1904 by the Russian Company for Roads in Persia which had its headquarter here.

Sources: Iran Chamber Society | Provinces | Qazvin, Wikipedia | Qazvin, Mehr News Agency (MNA) | Photos 1, MNA | Photos 2, MNA | Photos 3

Mehdi Fakhimi: Awarded Iranian architect

Iranian architect Mahdi FakhimiBorn on September 13, 1980, in Iran, Mohammad Mahdi Fakhimi got a Master’s degree in Architectural Engineering from Azad University in 2006.

He founded his first company named “Ideh-Pardazan Akad Group” in 2008 and continued his professional activity in three focused on three domains of architecture: urban planning, graphic interior design.

At that time his first book “Interior Design─From Architecture to Interior Decoration” was published.

He started teaching at Tehran Soore University as well as at Kish International Campus; the international branch of Tehran University located in Kish Island. His second book “Architecture & Urban Tele-democratic”, derived from his master thesis, was published in 2011.

Fakhimi resigned from teaching in 2013, working only as a supervisor and adviser for students who were looking forward to benefit from his knowledge for their theses.

Awards
Silver A Design Award in A’Design Award & Competition 2014-2015
Honorable Mention in 8th annual International Design Awards (IDA)
Jury Award of the Architecture and Urban Design Contest /2007
Winner of the 5th overall Architectural Photography Contest /2007

Sources: www.mahdifakhimi.com, A’ Design Award & Competition | Face Top Clinic

Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province: Saint Stepanos Monastery near Jolfa

The St. Stepanos Monastery (Armenian: Maghardavank) is an Armenian monastery about 15 km northwest of Jolfa, East Azarbaijan Province, northwestern Iran. It is situated in a deep canyon along the Arax river on the Iranian side of the border between Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and Iran. Since 2008 it is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List together with the St. Thaddeus Monastery and the Chapel of Dzordzor.

The general structure mostly resembles Armenian and Georgian architecture and the inside of the building is adorned with beautiful paintings by Honatanian, a renowned Armenian artist. Hayk Ajimian, an Armenian scholar and historian, recorded that the church was originally built in the ninth century AD, but repeated earthquakes in Azarbaijan completely eroded the previous structure. The church was rebuilt during the rule of Shah Abbas the Second.

History
The first monastery was built in the seventh century (AD 649) and completed in the tenth century. However, St Bartholomew first founded a church on the site around AD 62 but it was partly destroyed during the wars between the Seljuks and the Byzantine Empire in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

Following the conquest of the region by the Mongols of Hulagu, grandson of Genghis Khan, in the middle of the thirteenth century, Christians benefited from the favorable Ilkhanid dynasty, and a peace agreement is signed between the Armenian Church and the Ilkhans. The monastery was restored in the second half of the thirteenth century.

The monastery was completely rebuilt in 1330 under the leadership of Zachariah. St. Stepanos Monastery found the height of its cultural and intellectual influence in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The monastery produced paintings and illuminated manuscripts, in areas as diverse as religion, history and philosophy.

In the early fifteenth century, the new Safavid dynasty protected the Armenians but the region is at the center of the rivalry between the Safavids and the Ottomans, who invaded Western Armenia in 1513. St. Stepanos in the sixteenth century observed a gradual decline until Shah Abbas I decided to evacuate the region from its inhabitants in 1604. The monastery then was abandoned. From 1650, the Safavids, however, decided to occupy the region again, and the damaged and abandoned St. Stepanos monastery was restored in the middle of the century.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the area became a challenge for the conquest of the Russian Empire. Yerevan was conquered by the Russians in 1827. The border between Persia and Russia was established on the Araxes by the Treaty of Turkmenchay. Consequently part of the population was displaced by force to Russian Armenia. The Qajar rulers continued to protect the Armenians. They encouraged the rebuilding of St. Stepanos Monastery between 1819 and 1825.

The monastery has undergone several restorations recently twentieth and twenty-first centuries, especially since 1974.

On UNESCO World Heritage List
The Armenian monasteries in Northwestern Iran have borne continuous testimony, since the origins of Christianity and certainly since the 7th century, to Armenian culture in its relations and contact with the Persian and later the Iranian civilizations. They bear testimony to a very large and refined panorama of architectural and decorative content associated with Armenian culture, in interaction with other regional cultures: Byzantine, Orthodox, Assyrian, Persian and Muslim. The monasteries have survived some 2,000 years of destruction, both of human origin and as a result of natural disasters. They have been rebuilt several times in a spirit in keeping with Armenian cultural traditions.

Further information: Iran Chamber Society | Church of Saint Stephanos

Sources: Wikipedia | Saint Stepanos MonasteryIran Chamber Society | Historical Churches in Iran, Tishineh | St. Stepanos Monastery, Wikimedia Commons | Saint Stepanos Monastery, UNESCO World Heritage List | Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran, IRNA | Photos 1, IRNA | Photos 2

Iranian architect Mahdi Fakhimi from AKAD Design winner of a Silver A’ Design Award in Italy

The design of Face Top by Mahdi Fakhimi from AKAD Design won the notable Silver A’ Design Award at Interior Space and Exhibition Design Competition in 2014-2015

The design, construction and execution contract of this project entitled Face Top Clinic, was concluded in summer 2011 for a cosmetic surgery consultation clinic in Tehran, Iran. Farzaneh Moghadasi, Sara Savar, Masoumeh Chakeri, Elham Sabetghadam, Mohammad Razaghdoust and Tahmineh Vesal are, alongside Mahdi Fakhimi, the team that was involved in this project.

Fakhimi, Mahdi - AKAD Design Group 1

The team from AKAD Design (Mahdi Fakhimi, 4th from right)

“The key point in the design of this project was the utilization of continuous surface style which is different from most of the works which have been done up to now, the continuous surface style requires soft surfaces and avoidance of sharp and angular lines, to create a flow” said Mahdi Fakhimi about the design.

It is not the first time that this team receives a design award for Face Top. It had already won bronze at the 7th Annual International Design Awards in 2014 in the category “Interior Design – Renovation”.

Hormoz Luxury Restaurant in Tehran, a runner-up in the Luxury Design Category in the same competition, is also a project by Mahdi Fakhimi along with Farzaneh Moghadasi, Sara Savar, Masoumeh Chakeri, Elham Sabetghadam and Hamid Ghorbani. It started in spring 2013 and finished by end of 2013.

About A’ Design Award and Competitions
The designs are judged by a panel of three different jury which is composed of Academic, Professional and Focus Group Members. A’ Design Award & Competitions, aims to highlight the excellent qualifications of best designs, design concepts and design oriented products. A’ Design Award & Competitions are organized and awarded annually and internationally in multiple categories to reach a wide, design-oriented audience. The Platinum A’ Design Award is given to the top 1% runner-up candidates (N° 1: 1st place, N° 2: 2nd and N° 3: 3rd place), the Golden A’ Design Award is given to top 3% candidates, the Silver A’ Design Award to top 5%, the Bronze A’ Design Award to top 10% and the A’ Design Award to top 20% runner-up candidates.

About AKAD Design Group
In 2002 a group of students beginning their careers started to work in teams using their knowledge from different fields. By 2008 AKAD Design Group was founded focusing on architecture, interior and graphic design.

Sources: A’ Design Award & Competition | Press release 36434, A’ Design Award & Competition | Mohammad Mahdi Fakhimi, AKAD Design | About, Mahdi Fakhimi | Projects, International Design Awards (iDA) 2014 | Renovation

Tabiat (Nature) pedestrian bridge in Tehran, Iran by Leila Araghian from Diba Tensile Architecture

Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge is located in the northern part of Tehran in a zone called Abbas Abad Lands; this is a 559Ha area which is mainly dedicated to cultural spaces such as libraries and museums, as well as public parks. ‘Tabiat’ means ‘Nature’ in Persian language.

The bridge crosses Modarres Highway and connects Abo Atash Park on the west to Taleghani Park on the east. The intention was to design a pedestrian route that was completely separate from the highway. The 270 meters long bridge is the largest pedestrian bridge built so far in Iran.Design of this bridge was the result of a two-phase competition which started in May 2008. The winning design was selected in August of the following year. It was inaugurated in October 2014.

The architect’s idea was to create multiple paths on each park that would lead people on to the bridge. On the east side there are multiple paths branching from both levels of the bridge and connecting to other paths within Taleghani Park. On the west where it connects to Abo Atash Park, the bridge becomes 55 meters wide forming a plaza; here it is not clear and not easy to recognize where the park ends and where the bridge starts.

This bridge is a space intended to be a place to linger rather than just one to pass through, and to act as an extension of the parks, so seating areas and green spaces are on all parts of the bridge. There are a coffee shop and a restaurant on both sides of the lower level. The second level is mainly designed for those who are crossing from a park to the other and the third level areas act as viewing platforms, providing a wide open space which can also be used for public performances.

All the levels are connected to each other by stairs and ramps, providing multiple paths throughout the bridge to get from each level to another.

Leila Araghian - Architect - Diba Tensile Architecture, Iran

Leila Araghian – Architect and Design Manager from Diba Tensile Architecture

Architects: Leila Araghian from Diba Tensile Architecture
Project: Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge
Location: Tehran, Iran
Architectural Team: Alireza Behzadi, Sahar Yasaei
Collaborators: Homa Soleimani, Mina Nikoukalam, Masoud Momeni, Adel Mohammadi, Nader Naghipour, Payam Golfeshan, Farhad Elahi
Structural Engineer: Maffeis Engineering spa
Design: September 2009-December 2010
Construction: September 2010-October 2014
Length: 270 meters
Area: 7680 m2
Weight: 2000 tons

Sources: DIBA | Projects | Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge, Mehr News Agency | Photos, www.archdaily.com, www10.aeccafe.com

Iran’s South Khorasan Province: Birjand Citadel (Photos)

Birjand Citadel (also Birjand Castle or Citadel of Paeenshahr) is a citadel in Birjand, South Khorasan province, Iran. The citadel has an area of 3000 m² and dates back to Safavid era. It originally had 7 towers of which, six stand today.

Sources: ISNA | Photos, Wikimapia | Birjand-Citadel

Photo gallery: Zayanderud River in Iran’s Isfahan Province

Iran Isfahan Esfahan MapThe Zayanderud River, as largest river in the central plateau of Iran, starts in the Zagros Mountains and flows 400 kilometres eastward before ending in the Gavkhouni swamp, a seasonal salt lake, southeast of Isfahan city.

Sources: Tasnim News Agency, Wikipedia | Isfahan

Iran’s Isfahan Province: Kashan – Fin Garden Series (Photo gallery)

The tradition and style in the design of Persian Gardens has influenced the design of gardens from Andalusia to India and beyond. Unesco declared the Fin Garden in Kashan a World Heritage Site on July 18, 2012.

Related post about Bagh-e Fin (Fin Garden) with background information and more photos:
Kashan – Fin Garden Series

Source: Wikipedia | Persian Gardens

Iran’s Kerman Province: Mahan – Shazdeh Garden (Photos)

The tradition and style in the design of Persian Gardens has influenced the design of gardens from Andalusia to India and beyond.

Shazdeh Garden meaning Prince’s Garden (in Persian: Bagh-e Shazdeh) is a historical Persian garden located 6km away from the city of Mahan in Kerman province, Iran. It is a rectangular green oasis surrounded by brown desert and a good example of Persians gardens that take advantage of suitable natural climate.

It was built originally for Mohammad Hasan Khan Qajar Sardari Iravani ca. 1850 and was extended ca. 1870 by the governor of Kerman, Abdolhamid Mirza Naserodoleh, during the eleven years of his governorship in the Qajar dynasty. Its location was selected strategically as it was placed on the way between the Bam Citadel and Kerman.

The construction was left unfinished, due to the death of Abdolhamid Mirza in the early 1890s. It is rumored that upon hearing the news of the Governor’s death, the masons immediately abandoned their work and as a result the main entrance still shows some unfinished areas.

Shazdeh Garden is a rectangular shaped, 5.5 hectares areal surrounded by a wall. It consists of an entrance structure and gate at the lower end and a residential structure (once the summer palace of a now unknown prince) at the upper end. The distance between these two buildings has a collection of pools ornamented with water fountains. There are pavilions and a central canal. The residence is now mostly derelict but partly converted to a nice restaurant. The design looks best in an aerial photograph.

The garden itself consists of a variety of pine, cedar, elm, buttonwood and fruit trees which benefit from the appropriate soil, light breezes and qanat[1] water which enables such an environment in contrast to the dry surroundings.

The water enters the Garden at the upper end and while irrigating the trees and plants along its way, flows down through a series of steps and falls. On the two ends of the water path – meaning at the main entrance and the residential structure – there’s a pool that collects and subsequently redistributes the water. All together from top to bottom there are eight levels/falls along the water path.

In 1991, the premises were completely renovated due to the commemoration ceremony of Khaju Kermani. A traditional guesthouse has been constructed in the city center for tourists and visitors.

Some damage to the Garden was caused as a result of Kerman’s 2004 earthquake. In 2005 experts of the Research Center for Historical Sites and Structures were preparing documents to register Shazdeh Garden, amongst other gardens under the denomination “The Persian Garden”, on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It was finally inscribed in June of 2011.

Remark
[1] Qanat (also known as kariz or karez): The development of qanats probably began about 2.500 or 3.000 years ago in Iran and the technology spread eastward to Afghanistan and westward to Egypt. It is an ancient type of water-supply system, developed and still used in arid regions of the world. A qanat taps underground mountain water sources trapped in and beneath the upper reaches of alluvial fans and channels the water downhill through a series of gently sloping tunnels, often several kilometres long, to the places where it is needed for irrigation and domestic use. Although new qanats are seldom built today, many old qanats are still used in Iran and Afghanistan, chiefly for irrigation. (Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Sources: Wikipedia | Shazdeh Garden, Iran Tour Online, Historical Iranian sites and people | Shazdeh Garden, Wikimedia | Shazdeh Garden, IRNA | Photos, Wikipedia | Persian Gardens

Iran’s Gilan Province: Masuleh Village

Masuleh is a village in Gilan Province, Iran, founded in the 10th century AD. Historical names for the city include Masalar and Khortab. It has 554 inhabitants (as of 2006). The native people of Masuleh speak Talysh.

Masuleh is near the southern coast of the Caspian Sea, approximately 60km southwest of Rasht and 32km west of Fuman. It is 1.050m above sea level in the Alborz (or Elburz), surrounded by forest from valley to mount. The village itself has a difference in elevation of 100 meters. Fog is the predominant weather feature.

Masouheh-Rood-Khan is the river passing through the city, with a waterfall located just 200 meters away from the village. Many other springs are found nearby.

The  architecture in Masuleh is unique. The buildings have been built into the mountain and are interconnected. Courtyards and roofs both serve as pedestrian areas similar to streets. Masuleh does not allow any motor vehicles to enter, due to its unique layout popularly known as “the yard of the building above is the roof of the building below”.

Yellow clay coats the exterior of most buildings in Masuleh. This allows for better visibility in the fog. Buildings are mostly two stories (1st floor and ‘ground’ floor) made of adobe, rods and bole. A small living room, big guest room, winter room, hall, WC and balcony are usually found in 1st floor. A cold closet, barn and stable are located on the floor below, which are connected to the upper floor by several narrow steps inside the building.

Although it has been written that the community was established around 10 AD, the first village of Masuleh was established around 1006 AD, 6 km northwest of the current city, and it is called Old-Masuleh (Kohneh Masuleh in Persian). People moved from Old-Masuleh to the current city because of pestilence and attacks from neighbouring communities.

There are four main local communities at the city named: “Maza-var” (meaning beside the Mosque) at the south, “Khana-var” (beside homes) at the East, “Kasha-sar” (stretched on top) at the North, and, “Assa-mahala” (Assad community) at the West. Apparently, down town is the Market (Bazaar) area and also the main mosque of the city built in 969 AD.

Sources: Wikipedia | Masuleh, Wikicommons | Masouleh, Mehr News | Photos, IRNA | Photos

Nellie’s Journey to Iran: from Persian architecture to outstanding hospitality

Posing with friendly Iranians

Photo Highlights of Iran: from Persian Architecture to Outstanding Hospitality
By Nellie Huang

I’ve just completed my Silk Road journey through Central Asia with Oasis Overland. Our trip started in Kyrgyzstan and we traveled through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and ended in Turkey. During this overland trip, we spent just under three weeks traversing through Iran, from the eastern corner to the western edge. It was the highlight of our trip and I hope these photos will show you what an amazing country it is.

Mention Iran and many think of burkha-clad women, burning flags and war. But these stereotypes can’t be further from the truth.

For those who are curious and open to new discoveries, Iran is packed full of surprises. It is a relatively safe country to visit and there’s so much to see and do in terms of historical and cultural sights: wander through the thousand-year-old ancient city of Persepolis, get lost in the mud-brick alleys of Yazd, contemplate in the beautiful turquoise-domed mosques that dot Esfahan, meet locals in the gardens surrounding Shiraz and pray with thousands of pilgrims at the country’s holiest city Mashad. The Islamic Republic has an extremely rich cultural heritage and its attractions can definitely rival those of world-famous tourist destinations. Best of all, you won’t find hordes of tourists here. It won’t take you long to question how such a charming country can be portrayed in such a negative light by the media.

Beyond the stereotypes is a country desperate to been seen for what it is, rather than what it is depicted to be. The Iranians are undoubtedly the friendliest people I’ve ever met in the world. Travelers will often find themselves getting invited to stranger’s homes, being treated to endless flow of tea from a shop vendor and getting a free ride from helpful drivers along the way. Locals tend to come up to you, ask where you’re from and genuinely want to get to know you. I’ve always agreed with the saying “it’s the people that makes a place”. It can’t be more true here in Iran where experiences with locals truly live the longest in your memory.

While traveling in Iran, the two topics that most find impossible to escape are religion and politics. These are complex issues that aren’t black or white, but as I discovered, if you’re respectful of their opinions, the Iranians will be more than happy to discuss them with you. It’s also important to note that the government’s views may not be in line with what average Iranians think. Regardless, if you do choose to travel here, a journey to Iran will certainly change your perspective of the country, and perhaps, the world.

Natural Landscapes and Ancient Cities

The abandoned mud brick city of Kharanaq: In the abandoned mud-brick city of Kharanaq, we got lost amidst the alleys and crumbling paths that overlooked this beautiful valley.

The abandoned mud brick city of Kharanaq


The rock cut temples of Naqsh-e-Rostam
: Right at the outskirts of Shiraz, we stumbled upon the spectacular rock tomb of Naqsh-e-Rostam. The ragged cliffs that the tombs are carved into remind me of those in Wadi Rum, Jordan.

The rock cut temples of Naqsh-e-Rostam


Persian Architecture

Amir Chakhmagh: Amir Chakhmagh in is an iconic landmark in Yazd and while it’s now nothing more than a gate (the rest of the building is gone), the unique architecture still makes it quite an impressive sight.

A gate in Yazd


Royal Palace in Shiraz
: The interior of Persian buildings is often just as impressive. This photo shows the interior of the Royal Palace in Shiraz, characterized by arches, spiraled columns and carvings.

Inside a palace in Shiraz


Iranian Way of Life

Colorful spices in the bazaar of Shiraz: Bazaars are an important part of Iranian life. They trace their roots back to the Silk Road days and even until today, Iranians are still known to be excellent traders and businessmen. Spices are of course a common sight in the bazaars.

Colorful spices in the bazaar of Shiraz
Friendly students in Tehran: The Iranians are exceptionally warm and friendly, with many people stopping to strike up a conversation with us seeing that we’re foreigners. I met this bunch of students at the Golestan Palace in Tehran and they were all excited to practice their English with me.

Friendly students in Tehran

More pictures of Nelly’s Journey:
http://www.wildjunket.com/2014/10/22/photo-highlights-iran/

About Nellie Huang: Nellie is a professional travel writer and editor with an eye for adventure and a love for the unknown. Originally from Singapore, she pursued an Engineering degree and spent her days dreaming of travel – the day after graduation, she packed her bags and headed off to experience the world.

She then spent the next few years working as a teacher, translator and project analyst. With sheer will and hard work, she eventually found her way into travel writing and fulfilled her lifetime dream.

Her work has since been published in numerous publications including National Geographic Intelligent Travel, CNN, BBC Travel, Travel+Leisure Asia, Wend, Women Adventure Magazine, Food&Travel, International Lifestyle, TNT Magazine, and Explorer, amongst others. Click to see her portfolio.

She is also a contributing guidebook author of VIVA Travel Guide Guatemala (1st Edition) and writer for World Travel Guides.

Iran’s Gilan Province: Roudkhan Castle

The medieval Rudkhan Castle (Ghale Roodkhan) is located 25km southwest of the city of Fooman in Iran’s Gilan Province in the heart of the forest. Made from brick and stone, the castle covers 50,000 square meters and is 900 meters above sea level. Its architects have benefited from natural mountainous features in the construction of the fort. It is built on two tips of a mount with a total of 65 towers surrounding it, while the walls run 1,500 meters in length. 42 towers still stand intact. It is a military complex which had been constructed during the Seljuk Dynasty by followers of the Ismaili sect. The castle sits at the two peaks of a mountain at elevations of 715meters and 670meters, with an area of 2.6 hectares (6.4 acres). The Rudkhan Castle River originates in the surrounding heights and flows from south to north. It takes around two hours to cross a mountainous winding route with dense forests. To reach this castle people walk a three kilometer distance on foot, then climb around 2,000 steps. The first thing that one notices about the castle is its big entrance gate.

Sources: Wikipedia | Rudkhan Castle, Wikimedia Commons’ media related to Rudkhan Castle, wiseitinerary.blogspot.de, Mehr News Agency | Photos, Press TV

Iran’s Isfahan Province: Kashan – Boroujerdi House Series

Boroujerdi's House in Kashan, Iran

Boroujerdi’s House in Kashan, Iran

The Boroujerdi House (in Persian: Khaneh-ye Boroujerdi-ha) is a historic house in Kashan, Esfahan Province, Iran that is nowadays open to the public as a museum.

It was built in 1857 for the bride of Haji Mehdi Boroujerdi, a welthy merchant, by architect Ustad Ali Maryam. The bride came from the affluent Tabatabaei family, for whom Ali Maryam had built the Tabatabaei House some years earlier and the condition set for the marriage was the construction of a house as beautiful as the Tabatabaei House.

Considered a true masterpiece of Persian traditional residential architecture, it took eighteen years to build using 25 workers, painters and architects.

Kashan

Wind towers of the Boroujerdi’s House in Kashan, Iran

The House, famous for its atypical shaped wind towers made of stone, brick, sun baked bricks and a composition of clay, straw and mortar, has three entrances and consists of a rectangular beautiful courtyard, delightful plaster and stucco works of fruits and flowers and wall paintings by the royal painter Kamal-ol-Molk and three 40 meter tall wind towers which help to cool the house to unusually cool temperatures.

The entrance to the building is in the form of an octagonal vestibule with multilateral skylights in the ceiling. Near the entrance is a five-door chamber with intricate plasterwork. Following a narrow corridor, a vast rectangular courtyard opens up. The courtyard has a pool and is flanked by trees and flowerbeds. Also in the vicinity of the corridor is a reception area sandwiched in between two rooms. Due to the high amount of sunlight these two rooms receive, they were mostly utilized during the winter months.

In the east and northeast area of the property lie the kitchen, rooms and stairways to the basement. The wind towers allowed for the basements to consistently benefit from a flow of cool air. On the southern side is a large covered hall adorned with many reliefs, artistic carvings and meshed windows which was the main area for various celebrations. It consists of a raised platform on its far side and would normally be reserved for the more important guests.

Source: Historical Iranian sites and people | Boroujerdi House

Iran’s Isfahan Province: Kashan – Fin Garden Series

Fin Garden in Kashan, Esfahan Province, Iran

Fin Garden in Kashan, Esfahan Province

The tradition and style in the design of Persian Gardens has influenced the design of gardens from Andalusia to India and beyond.

Fin Garden, or Bagh-e Fin, located in Kashan, Iran, is a historical Persian garden. It contains Kashan’s Fin Bath, where the reformist Qajarid chancellor, Amir Kabir, was murdered by an assassin sent by King Nasereddin Shah in 1852. Completed in 1590, the Fin Garden is the oldest extant garden in Iran. Unesco declared the garden a World Heritage Site.

The origins of the garden may be anterior to the Safavid period but the settlements of the garden in its present form were built under the reign of Abbas I of Persia (1571-1629), as a traditional bagh near the village of Fin, located a few miles southwest of Kashan.

The garden covers 2.3 hectares with a main yard surrounded by ramparts with four circular towers. In keeping with many of the Persian gardens of this era, the Fin Garden employs many water features.

These were fed from a spring on a hillside behind the garden, and the water pressure was such that a large number of circulating pools and fountains could be constructed without the need for mechanical pumps.

The garden contains numerous cypress trees and combines architectural features of the Safavid, Zandiyeh and Qajar periods.

Source: Wikipedia | Fin Garden, Wikipedia | Persian Gardens

Fin Garden (or Bagh-e Fin) in Kashan, Esfahan Province, Iran

Fin Garden (or Bagh-e Fin) in Kashan, Esfahan Province

Fin Garden in Kashan, Esfahan Province

Fin Garden in Kashan, Esfahan Province

Rayen Castle – more than 1000 year old adobe castle in Kerman, Iran

Rayen Castle (in Persian Arg-e Rayen) is an adobe castle in Kerman Province, Iran. The medieval mudbrick city of Rayen is similar to the Arg-e Bam city which was destroyed in an earthquake in December 2003. Rayen displays all the architectural elements of a deserted citadel. It is extremely well preserved, despite numerous natural disasters that have destroyed similar structures nearby, and it is one of the most interesting sites in Iran.

Rayen Castle was inhabited until 150 years ago and, although believed to be at least 1,000 years old, may in fact have foundations from the pre-Islamic Sassanid era.

Adobe castle of Rayen Rayen Kerman Iran - arg-e-rayensh

Adobe castle of Rayen Rayen Kerman Iran – Arg-e-Rayensh

Adobe castle of Rayen Rayen Kerman Iran

Adobe castle of Rayen, Kerman, Iran

Source: Wikipedia | Rayen Castle

Also check this related post: The other Iran | Arg-é Bam

Alireza Taghaboni: Iranian award-winning architect builds rotating home in Tehran

Sharifi-ha House, a seven-story building designed by contemporary Iranian architect Alireza Taghaboni, is located in upscale north Tehran and includes rotating levels. The three revolving bedrooms of the house allow its residents to always enjoy the sun and the best views over the city.

In order to change the view from the windows and enjoy the mid-afternoon sun, all you need to do is to push a button. Alternatively, the windows can tuck into the structure to provide a closed, more private environment.

“Our design scenario was based on seasons. In winter, when balconies are not usually used, and the outside view is not very important, the structure gets closed, and all attention is shifted towards the void inside the house. In summer, the cubes are extended outwards, and balconies are activated. Now all attention is towards the outside,” Taghaboni said.

Privacy has always been a top priority for the Iranians and this was taken seriously in the design of the rotating home. Instead of providing large windows, a void or empty space has been used in the middle of the building to allow sunlight into the house.

The void also resembles ancient Iranian architecture. “Our main reference for this project is ancient Iranian buildings, but with a complete revision based on a reading of our own, which obviously uses a modern design language,” Taghaboni said.

Around three million euros (USD 4 million) was spent on designing and building the house. Taghaboni says only one seventh of the money was used for building the rotating boxes.

The revolving home has been nominated for an international prize at an event called the World Architecture Festival which is to be held in Singapore in October, 2014.

Sources: Iran Review, archdaily.com (for more photos and detailed information)

Sar Yazd Castle in Yazd, Iran wins the grand prize for the 2014 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Cultural Heritage

The grand prize for the 2014 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Cultural Heritage went to Sar Yazd Castle in Yazd, Iran.

In June 2014, a panel of judges composed of international experts in conservation and restoration evaluated 46 projects from countries in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Among the projects, Sar Yazd Citadel restoration project from Iran managed to receive the grand prize. The grand prize was awarded to Iran due to the role of private institutions in preserving this historical location which has consequently influenced the socio-economic status of the locals in regard to creating job opportunities.

Sar Yazd is situated 30km south of Yazd province. Some speculate that the castle belongs to the Sassanid era.

Conserved and restored sites with more than 50 years of age which have been finished within last 10 years and have been open to visitors for at least a year have been considered eligible for this contest.

Yazd, Iran - Saryazd citadel - inside

Yazd, Iran – Saryazd citadel – inside

The 2014 and 2015 contests are held with the financial support from Beijing Sino-Ocean Charity Foundation.

Call for participation in the 2015 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation contest will be announced in October 2014 via the contest’s website.

Source: Iran Review | Iranians’ Achievements (scroll down)

Chehel Sotoun in Isfahan, Iran

The name, meaning “Forty Columns” in Persian, was inspired by the twenty slender wooden columns supporting the entrance pavilion, which, when reflected in the waters of the fountain, are said to appear to be forty.

As with Ali Qapu, the palace contains many frescoes and paintings on ceramic. Many of the ceramic panels have been dispersed and are now in the possession of major museums in the west. They depict specific historical scenes. […] There are also less historical, but even more aesthetic compositions in the traditional miniature style which celebrate the joy of life and love.ImageSource: Wikipedia | Chehel Shotoun