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Kashan

Kashan

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Kashan Kashan

Kashanis a large city in western Iran with a population of 250,000. With its origins dating back to late Neolithic times (approx. 7,000 BCE), Kashan is one of the oldest human settlements in the world. Archaeological remains of artifacts and buildings dating back 9,000 years can still be found in the city.

 

The city grew to become one of the most important trading centers of Iran between the 12th and 14th centuries. Following a gradual decline in population, the city was turned into a vacation spot for Safavid kings; you planted several gardens all over the city.

 

A devastating earthquake in the late 18th century destroyed much of the city and the remained sparsely populated for the next half-century. However, the population slowly returned, spurred by the city’s popularity as a vacation spot among Iran’s elites.

 

Today, Kashan is the capital of Kashan County and an important manufacturing center. Though barely known outside Iran, it remains an important tourist center within the country.

Location

Kashan is about 150 miles south of Tehran and is easily accessible by road. is the first of the large oases along the Qom-Kerman road which runs along the edge of the central deserts of Iran. A highway connects Kashan to Tehran via Qom. Kashan is just 2.5 hours from Tehran. Also it's accessible through Na’in and Esfahan. Both the first class and the second class train connecting Bandar Abbas and Tehran stop in Kashan.

History

The etymology of the city name comes from the Kasian, the original inhabitants of the city, whose remains are found at Tapeh Sialk dating back 9,000 years; later this was changed to "Kashian", hence the town name. Between the 12th and the 14th centuries Kashan was an important centre for the production of high quality pottery and tiles. In modern Persian, the word for a tile (kashi) comes from the name of the town.

Kashan is cited in the neighbourhood of two of highest peaks of Karkas chain, Mount Gargash to the southwest of Kashan (the home of Iran national observatory, the largest astronomical telescope of Iran) and Mount Ardehaal in the west of Kashan, also known as "Damavand of Kashan" and the highest peak of Ardehaal mountains (end part of Karkas chain in central Iran).

Archeological

discoveries in the Sialk Hillocks which lie 4 km west of Kashan reveal that this region was one of the primary centers of civilization in pre-historicages. Hence Kashan dates back to the Elamite period of Iran. The Sialk ziggurat still stands today in the suburbs of Kashan after 7,000 years.

 

The artifacts uncovered at Sialk reside in the Louvre in Paris and the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Iran's National Museum.

By some accounts although not all Kashan was the origin of the three wise men who followed the star that guided them to Bethlehem to witness the nativity of Jesus, as recounted in the Bible.[3] Whatever the historical validity of this story, the attribution of Kashan as their original home testifies to the city's prestige at the time the story was set down.

Abu-Lu'lu'ah/Pirouz Nahāvandi, the Persian soldier who was enslaved by the Islamic conquerors and eventually assassinated the caliph Umar al-Khattab in AH 23 (643/4 CE), reportedly fled to Kashan after the assassination and lived there some years before being finally caught and executed. His tomb is one of Kashan's conspicuous landmarks (see gallery below).

Sultan Malik Shah I of the Seljuk dynasty ordered the building of a fortress in the middle of Kashan in the 11th century. The fortress walls, called Ghal'eh Jalali still stand today in central Kashan.

Kashan was also a leisure vacation spot for Safavi Kings. Bagh-e Fin (Fin Garden), specifically, is one of the most famous gardens of Iran. This beautiful garden with its pool and orchards was designed for Shah Abbas I as a classical Persian vision of paradise. The original Safavid buildings have been substantially replaced and rebuilt by theQajar dynasty although the layout of trees and marble basins is close to the original. The garden itself however, was first founded 7000 years ago alongside the Cheshmeh-ye-Soleiman. The garden is also notorious as the site of the murder of Mirza Taghi Khan known as Amir Kabir, chancellor of Nasser-al-Din Shah, Iran's king in 1852.

 House of Borujerdis

The earthquake of 1778 leveled the city of Kashan and all the edifices of Shah Abbas Safavi, leaving 8000 casualties. But the city started afresh and has today become a focal tourist attraction via the numerous large houses from the 18th and 19th centuries, illustrating the finest examples of Qajari aesthetics.

Visit the Agha Bozorg Mosque

This beautiful mosque is often called one of the best examples of 19th century Iranian-Qajari architecture.

Discover the 5,000 years old remains of the Tepe Sialk ziggurat

Tepe Sialk is the common name for the remains of a large ziggurat built by the Sialk people some 5,000 years ago. You can easily access it from the heart of the city, though you’ll need special permission to see the unearthed artifacts (locals recommend bribing the officials, though that’s probably not the best idea as a westerner).

 

Explore the gorgeous architecture of Kashan Bazaar

The oldest bazaar in Kashan housed countless shops, inns and restaurants for hundreds of years.

The shops still remain, some of them going back dozens of generations.

The most stunning feature of the bazaar is its absolutely stunning ceiling.

Experience traditional Persian architecture at the Tabatabaei House, Ameri House, and Abbasi House

Kashan was a favorite vacation spot for Iran’s noblemen and wealthy traders in the 18th and 19th century, a number of whom built massive vacation homes in traditional Iranian style.

While many of these houses were destroyed in earthquakes in the late 18th century, some survived, and some were rebuilt over the years. The most prominent among these are the Ameri House, the Abbasi House and the Tabatabaei House, all of which have now been turned into public museums.

 

Tabatabaei House

See the stunning tile-work in Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse

Kashan’s might as a trading hub was built on the expertise of its craftsmen in creating tiles and rugs. The former can still be see in the stunning tilework in the beautiful Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse, located near Sultan Amir shrine.

More:

This is what the bathhouse roof looks like. Notice the domed glass skylights.

 Walk through the vast Bagh-e-Fin Garden

Originally built in the late 16th century, Fin Garden is the oldest extant garden in Iran and is spread over 2.3 hectares. The garden was modified by several different rulers over the years, who used it as a vacation spot. Consequently, the garden boasts architectural elements from different periods of Iranian history.

It was added to the World Heritage Site list in 2012.

A rest house attached to the gardens

A domed resting area in the garden. Notice the intricate tilework inside the dome

Enjoy a bowl of delicious khoresh-e-loobia

 “loobia subz” refers to green beans in Persian; “khoresh” is the generic name given to any stew-like dish.

This local favorite basically combines green beans with lamb, mutton or beef in a lightly spiced stew topped with saffron. You can find it all over the city and it’s best eaten with chewy Persian bread.

Head out to Aran o Bidgol to see the shrine of Imamzadeh Hilal Ibn Ali

Aran o Bidgol is a small town located some 10 miles from Kashan. This town is home to the beautiful shrine of Imamzadeh Hilal Ibn Ali, son of Ali, son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad (“Imamzadeh” means “son of the Imam”).

Maranjab Caravansary

 

Another popular sight in Aran o Bidgol is the Maranjab Caravansary, a 400 year old caravansary (an inn for caravans) that was an important stop along the Silk Road.

Explore the traditional architecture of the village of Abyaneh

Abyaneh (also called the red village) is a tiny village (population: 305) located 60 miles south of Kashan. One of the best preserved villages in Iran, Abyaneh has houses and buildings dating back hundreds of years. Come here to see traditional architecture of the region and breathtaking views of the nearby mountains.

Traditional houses in Abyaneh

Geology

This area is one of the few sandy cities in Iran and cities such as Kashan, Aran

Bidgol, Ravand, many of small and large villages, surrounding farm lands were located in these sandy masses. This sandy collection is located in south of salt lake and has a crescent shaped arc.

 

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