Tag Archives: Isfahan Province

Photo Series: Autumn in Iran – Isfahan

Isfahan was once one of the largest cities in the world. It flourished from 1050 to 1722, particularly in the 16th century under the Safavid dynasty. Even today, the city retains much of its past glory. It is famous for its Persian–Islamic architecture, with many beautiful boulevards, covered bridges, palaces, mosques, and minarets. This led to the Persian proverb “Esfahān nesf-e- jahān ast” (Isfahan is half of the world).

The Naghsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan is one of the largest city squares in the world and an outstanding example of Iranian and Islamic architecture. It has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The city also has a wide variety of historic monuments and is known for the paintings, history and architecture.

Photo gallery: Beautiful pictures of Isfahan in autumn

Today Isfahan is the capital of Isfahan Province and with a population of 1,755,382 inhabitants is also Iran’s third largest city after Tehran and Mashhad. The city is located 340 kilometres south of Tehran, in the lush plain of the Zayanderud River, at the foothills of the Zagros mountain range.

The nearest mountain is Mount Soffeh (Kuh-e Soffeh) which is situated just south of Isfahan, at 1,590 metres (5,217 ft) above sea level on the eastern side of the Zagros Mountains. Isfahan has an arid climate but despite its altitude, the city remains hot during the summer. However, with low humidity and moderate temperatures at night, the climate can be very pleasant.

Source: Wikipedia | Isfahan, ISNA I, ISNA II, ISNA III, Borna News I, Borna News II

Isfahan Music Museum (Photos)

The Music Museum in Isfahan is a private museum opened thanks to the efforts of two masters in traditional Iranian music. The museum is divided in different sectors: national and local instruments, photgraphs, a teaching music hall and a rehearsal hall.

Listen to traditional Iranian music here: The other Iran | Music

Sources: Mehr News Agency, isfahanmusicmuseum.com (in Persian)

Photos: Iranian Christians celebrate New Year in Isfahan

Some Iranian Christians celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25 and New Years’ on Jan. 1, while Iranian Armenians celebrate Christmas at the same time as the Epiphany on Jan. 6.

More content on Iranian Christians on this blog: The other Iran | Christians

Source: http://www.irna.ir/fa/Photo/3022149/

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

Photo gallery: Zereshk (barberry) farms in Iran

Berberis vulgaris, also known as European barberry or simply Barberry, is a deciduous shrub, native to central and southern Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia. It grows up to 4m high with yellow flowers that bloom in late spring. The fruit is an oblong red berry, rich in Vitamin C, that ripens in late summer or autumn. Although it has a sharp flavor, people in many countries eat it as a tart and refreshing fruit. The thorny shrubs make harvesting them difficult, so in most places, they are not widely consumed. They are an important food for many small birds, which disperse the seeds in their droppings.

Iran is the largest producer of zereshk and saffron in the world. Zereshk (or sereshk) is the Persian name for the dried fruit of Berberis, specially that of Berberis integerrima ‘Bidaneh’, which is widely cultivated in Iran. Zereshk and saffron are produced on the same land and the harvest is at the same time. In Iran their main production area lies in South Khorasan, especially around Qaen and Birjand. There is evidence of cultivation of seedless barberry in South Khorasan two hundred years ago.

Zereshk is widely used in cooking, imparting a tart flavor to chicken dishes. It is usually cooked with rice, called zereshk polo, and provides a nice meal with chicken. Zereshk jam, zereshk juice, and zereshk fruit rolls are also produced in Iran.

Photos of zereshk farms in Semirom (Isfahan), Birjand and Zohan (South Khorasan)

Sources: Wikipedia | Berberis vulgaris, Mehr News 1, Mehr News 2, ISNA, IRNA

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 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