Saturday, May 17, 2008
Places of Iran
Note: This article have some pictures that are available in our team area at Mondialogo.org Special places of Iran This part is about historical places and tourist attractions of Iran such as gardens, monument, etc. Most of these places belongs to Esfahan and Fars provinces and the reason is that these two provinces are historical. Chehel Sotoun in Esfahan province This building -now a veritable museum of Persian painting and ceramics -was a pleasure pavilion used for the king`s entertainment`s and receptions. It stands inside a vast royal park, but relatively near the enclosure, and was built by Shah Abbas II round an earlier building erected by Shah Abbas I. An inscription states that the decoration and frescoes were finished in 1647. Only two large historical frescoes date from the later period of the Zand dynasty. Unfortunately, the Chehel Sotun has been badly damaged since then, especially when the Afghans occupied the town and covered the paintings with a thick coat of whitewash. It is now being extensively restored under the aegis of the Institute Italiano Per il Medio Orient. The pavilion opens onto the gardens by means of an elegant terrace, only a few steps high and supported by slender, delicate wooden pillars. In reality, there were never more than twenty columns, but they were reflected in the pool in the park, and so the Persian liked to call the building the (pavilion with forty columns) (besides, the number 40 had a symbolic meaning in Persia and expressed respect and admiration). Two rows of waterspouts and fountains in the shape of stone lions at the four corners carried water to the huge, elegant rectangular basin. The terrace is a marvel of elegance. The slender pillars support a light wooden ceiling with wide fretwork louvers. Here we should note the influence of Eastern Asian architecture. Part of the sumptuous decoration has disappeared. We must picture the back wall covered with mirrors, the doors of rare carved wood, and the pillars, each cut from a single lane-tree trunk, with their fine eneer, their brightly colored paintings, their mirrors and studs of colored glass. We still have the remarkable ceiling its beams, its covering, its painted wood louvers, and its carefully lay-work-rosettes and suns, stars, stylized fruit and foliage. The great wooden ceilings-a rare luxury in a country so acking in trees-are among guarded by four lions which support the central columns. The palace is called Chehel Sotun because of the number of the columns of this monument. Each column is formed of a plain tree on the skin of which a thin layer of colored board has been fitted. This layer was formerly covered with colored pieces of glass and mirror. All the walls used to be decorated with large mirrors and colored peices of glass and beautiful paintings. Inlaid work was a characteristic of all doors and windows. The pool in front of the building is 110 meters long and 16 meters wide. Four stone lions have been placed on the four sides of a pond in the center of the hall from whose open mouths water streams down. And finally the unique ceiling of the 18 column portico and the mirror work on the ceiling of the hall are eyecatching. The paintings demonstrating the parties held by Shah Abbas the great, and reception of Mohammad Vali Khan, the king of Turkistan, the war between Shah Ismail the first and the Ottoman forces in Chaldoran, the reception party in honor of Homayun the king of India and in the eastern section, in front of the painting scene of Shah Abbas` war with the Uzbeks, is seen the war waged by Nader Shah of Afshar dynasty against the Hindus in Kornal. Abyaneh in Esfahan province Abyaneh is a beautiful village 70 km. to the southeast of Kashan. This is a village of living traditions, architectural styles, and probably the most interesting example of human adaptation to nature. The village is compact, with narrow and sloped lanes, and houses located on the slope as if placed on a stairway. Here, the roofs of some houses used to serve as the courtyard for other houses higher up on the slope. There are a good number of Islamic and Zoroastrian buildings in the village, all worth a careful visit. Located on the northwestern slope of Karkas Mount and 28 km distant from Natanz, Abyaneh enjoys a mild climate. The customs and traditions of the people as well as the buildings in Abyaneh afford a good picture of old Iran. The UNESCO has registered Abyaneh as a historical village. Agha Bozorg School in Esfahan province This ancient structure has four porches and a beautiful dome with two tile worked minarets. Its courtyard and chambers that are on a lower level display an attractive aspect. Below these chambers are is the pool and nocturnal area made use of in summer. The dome is built on an octagonal platform and is doubly covered. The lower covering bears the weight of the ceiling, conducting it to the pillars, and the other is the outer covering which aids in making the dome look larger. Skylights have been affixed to the dome, along with religious versus around the dome have provided a harmonious connection between the different sections of the structure. The ceilings of the western and winter nocturnal areas are of plaster, which have been designed on simple lines besides which is the library. The porches display intricate tile work, indicating the traditional art and culture of this land and the tombs of several trustees can be noted in the western porch. This structure was constructed in the year 1268 AH. Alamout in Ghazvin province Those who favor ambitious excursions and unusual historical episodes are recommended to go near the source of the Alamut river on the southern foothills of the Alborz Mountains. There, fortified eagles` nest recall unbelievable but authentic adventures of the (Old Man of the Mountains) - Hasan Sabah, the Grand Master (1040-1124) - and of his sect of (Assassins) or (Hashashins). The historical fortresses are known as the Castle of the Assassins, which were first introduced into European literature by the Returning Crusaders, and made famous this century in Dane Freya Stark`s classical Valleys of the Assassins. These were the heavily fortified lairs of the adherents of a bizarre religious cult, based loosely on the precepts of the Ismaili Sect. Hasan Sabah founded the Cult in the 11th century. This heretical and widely feared Sect sent out killers throughout the region to murder the leading political and religious figures. Its followers, the Hashishiyun, were so called because of their leader`s alleged cunning ruse of taking them into beautiful secret gardens (filled with equally enticing young maidens), getting them stoned on hashish and then sending them out on their homicidal assignments under the illusion of Hasan Sabah had the power to transport them to paradise. The cult at its height extended from Syria to Khorasan. Until 1256, when the Mongols captured its castles, the Assassins spread fear throughout the region, although some scholars claim that their reputation was exaggerated. As one might expect. The outlaw mountain hideaways were designed to be impregnable and inaccessible, and to this day it is still extremely difficult to visit them; a complete tour of the castle in this region would take about a week on horseback with a local guide. Many of them are only accessible to experienced and well-equipped mountaineers. Ali Qapu in Esfahan province The name Ali Qapu, (Magnificent Gate), was given to this place as it was right at the entrance to the Safavid palaces which stretched from the Maidan Naqsh-i-Jahan to the Chahar Bagh Boulevard. The building, another wonderful Safavid edifice, was built by decree of Shah Abbas the Great in the early seventeenth century. It was here that the great monarch used to entertain noble visitors, and foreign ambassadors. Shah Abbas, here for the first time celebrated the Now - ruz (New Year`s Day) of 1006 AH / 1597 A.D. A large and massive rectangular structure, the Ali Qapu is 48 meters high and has six floors, fronted with a wide terrace whose ceiling is inlaid and supported by wooden columns. Ali Qapu is rich in naturalistic wall paintings by Reza Abbassi, the court painter of Shah Abbas I, and his pupils. There are floral, animal, and bird motifs. The highly ornamented doors and windows of the palace have almost all been pillaged at times of social anarchy. Only one window on the third floor has escaped the ravages of time. Ali Qapu was repaired and restored substantially during the reign of Shah Sultan Hussein, the last Safavid ruler, but fell into a dreadful state of dilapidation again during the short reign of invading Afghans. under the Qajar Nasir al-Din shah`s reign (1848-96), the Safavid cornices and floral tiles above the portal were replaced by tiles bearing inscriptions. Shah Abbas II was enthusiastic about the embellishment and perfection of Ali Qapu. His chief contribution was given to the magnificent hall, the constructures on the third floor. The 18 columns of the hall are covered with mirrors and its ceiling is decorated with great paintings. The chancellery was stationed on the first floor. On the sixth, the royal reception and banquets were held. The largest rooms are found on this floor. The stucco decoration of the banquet hall abounds in motif of various vessels and cups. The sixth floor was popularly called (the music room). Here various ensembles performed music and sang songs. From the upper galleries, the Safavid ruler watched polo, maneuvers and the horse-racing opposite the square of Naqsh-i-Jahan. Cause of Denomination The Ali Qapu has multiple connotations, but generally connotes entrance or supreme gate to the complex of palaces and public buildings of the Safavid Government. Construction Stages The Ali Qapu building was founded in several stages, beginning from a building with a single gate, with entrance to the government building complex, and gradually developed, ending in the existing shape. The period of the development, with intervals lasted approximately seventy years. First Stage : The initial building acting as entrance to the complex was in cubical shape and in two stories, with dimensions measuring 20 x 19 meter and 13 meter high. Second Stage : Foundation of the upper hall, built on the entrance vestibule, with cubical shape, over the initial cubic shape structure with the same height in two visible stories. Third Stage : Foundation of the fifth story, the music amphitheater or music hall, built on the lower hall, using the central room for sky light, and thus the vertical extension being emphasized. Fourth Stage : Foundation of the eastern verandah or pavilion advancing towards the square, supported by the tower shaped building. By foundation of this verandah, the entrance vestibule was extended along the main gate and passage to the market, perpendicular to the eastern flank of the building. Fifth Stage : Foundation of the wooden ceiling of the verandah, supported by 18 wooden columns, and contemporaneous with erection of the ceiling, an additional stairway of the southern flank was founded and was called the Kingly Stairway. Sixth Stage : During this stage a water tower was built in the northern flank for provision of water for the copper pool of the columned verandah. Plaster decorations in reception story and music hall. The room on the sixth floor is also decorated with plasterwork, representing pots and vessels and one is famous as the music and sound room. It is certainly well worth visiting for the cut out decorations round the room, which represent a considerable artistic feat. These cut out shapes were not placed there to act as cupboards: the stuccowork is most delicate and falls to pieces at the highest touch. So we conclude that it was placed in position in these rooms for ornament and decoration. The rooms were used for private parties and for the King`s musicians, and these hollow places in the walls retained the echoes and produced the sounds of the singing and musical instruments clearly in all parts. Ceiling decorations The decoration of the large room on the third floor which opens out on the large pillared hall, and which was used by Shah Abbas for entertaining his official guests is the most interesting. Fortunately the ceilings, on which birds are depicted in their natural colors, have remained without interference in their original state from Safavid times, and these are the best roofs in the building. Alisadr Cave in Hamedan province The Alisadr cave-lake, 120 km to the north-west of Hamadan near a village by this same name and at the foothill of Su-Bashi, is one of the strangest natural sights in Iran, in fact, the latter is an endless network of caves full of clear water. The Alisadr cave-lake was discovered in the first half of 70s, and is now being visited by waves of local and foreign tourists. In some sections the caves are more than 100 meters wide. In some sections the cave ceiling,is more than 10 meters high. This cave is located 80 kilometers northwest of Hamadan, in the Subashi mountains close to Ali Sadr village and is one of the most beautiful natural features in the world. This cave is composed of large and small spiral channels which are linked to one another. In some sections the cave is 100 meters wide and 10 meters high. Ali Sadr cave was discovered during the fourth and fifth centuries and today lots of tourists visist it in the summer. Arg-e Bam in Kerman province Once a famous citadel and strategic stronghold, this fort has been built on a huge rock and covers an area of six square kilometers in all. It is 300 meters long and 200 meters wide and consists of two parts. The fort is a five-story structure of unbaked brick and must have been constructed before the fifth and sixth centuries A.H. (11th and 12th centuries A.D.). The place has undergone frequent repairs and comprises a rampart, an ancient entrance, adequate fortifications, some Safavid structures, a mosque, and a building known as (Char-Fasl) or (Palace of four seasons). There are two inscriptions in this vast and magnificent construction, which are indicative of recent reparations. Both tablets bear the date 20th Azar 1337 S.H. year (1958 A.D.); one of these has been installed by the society for the Preservation of National Monuments and the other, by the Department of Archaeology. The next of the latter is as follows: (The Citadel of Bam, which was habitable and in a fairly good condition until a hundred and fifty years ago, has, according to (Hundud al-Alam) and other reliable sources that have come down to us from 4th century A.H. (10th century A.D.), been founded some 2000 years back, and has been repeatedly repaired thereafter. This commemorative tablet relates to the completion of the repairs of the watchtower and a part of the Governor`s residence. Azar 1337. Department of Archaeology. (Kerman is the heart of the world ...) so says Shah Nemat-ol-lah-e-vali, the well known sufi-poet of the 8th century A.H. (Heart of the world) is as old as the history itself. R. Frye in the Heritage of Persia ( London,1962) brings up the possibility that the Kermani or Germani tribe has given its name to the area of its residence. Berossus, the Chaldean historian ( 3rd cent. BC ) in his account of the fall of Babylon to Cyrus the Great says that the Persian. Shahanshah sent Nabonidus, the fallen Babylonian king, to exile in Kerman, where he resided till his death (Pirmia -Moshir- ol- Dowleh- Hassan. Iram-e-Bastan, Tehran, 1362). This, regardless of its historical accuracy, establishes Kerman as one of the major province of Iran, housing a population of 1,850,000. 190 Km to the south east of the city of Kerman, in the midst of the vast, endless, gray deserts, lies the ever-green city of Bam, the (Emerald of the Desert). This city with its extensive palm groves and citrus gardens is essentially an agricultural city, benefiting from very rich sub-terranean water reserves, surfacing through a great number of miles long (qanats), or sub-terranean aqueducts and water canals, in an area noted for the scarcity of water in it. The citrus fruits of Bam, its oranges, tangerines, its sweet lemons, are well known, and its dates, especially the (Mozafati) brand, a unique well known for its delicacy are of universal fame. Lately, while the opening of new international markets have revitalized the agricultural activities in the area, pumping new blood in its old veins, some industrial projects are to change the whole economic, and, therefore, social texture of the city, bringing it to the competitive world of the industrial age, with all its hassles turmoil,... and confusions, the new car manufacturing project of the (Kerman Automotive Industries Co.), being the most notable of all these projects. But Bam is known all through the world for a different aspect of it: Arg-e-Bam or the ancient citadel and the ruins of the ancient town surrounding it. This is one of the most splendid historical sites in the whole world: while most of the best known historical sites in the world, like Fars (Persepolis, Athen`s Acropolis, Rome`s forum and Coliseum, Paris` Versailles,... signify a limited period in history, Arg-e-Bam displays the imprints of 2000 continuous years of a dramatic, eventful history from its foundation, presumably during the Parathion period (250 BC - 224 AC), up until about 150 years ago when in the reign of Nasser-a-Din Shah Qajar (1831-1896, king 1548-1896) the ancient town was gradually deserted. This peculiarity has made estimation of the precise age of most parts of this historical complex rather difficult, sometimes even impossible. The legends have it that the city was founded by Bahman, the son of Esfandiar, one of the legendary kings in the Esfahnameh, corresponded to Ardashir the Long Armed (Artaxerexes Longimanus, 429 BC, king 464-424) son of Xerexes I, the Achamenide King-of-Kings. However, most of the historians refer to the story of (Haftvad) in the Shahnameh, or (Haptanbad) in the Karnamak-e-Ardashir-e-Papkan, a historically true story, as the story, and the date, of the foundation of Bam. If so, this date goes back to the late, or mid, Parathion period although a thorough scientific and archeological inspection of the site is still needed. There are some signs and indications like some Parathion coins found here - which make it a safe guess to assume that the nucleus part of the town and the citadel belonged to the Parthian period in its original form. Judging from the story of Haftvad` and also by comparing the ruins of Ghal-e-Do (the Maiden Fortress) to the north of Arg, and the original structure of the citadel, with the Parthian town model (like the ruins of Parthaunisa in Turkmenistan), it is obvious that originally the town and the residential quarters for the common people were located couple of miles to the west of the Arg, in the place of today`s Koozeran-corresponding the Kojaran of the Shahnameh and the adjacent Dehshotor quarters, while the residence of the governing prince was in the Ghal-e-Dokhtar, where, according to the Parthian- and maybe Achamenide-model, it was also the temple for the official court religion. There is an ornamental figure carved on the wall of an altar on the eastern side of Ghal-e-Dokhtarl which resembles very much to a similar figure on the altar of another very important, hut, alas, a very little known site about 2 Km to the east of the Arg, known as (Char Taghi`. As the story goes, after Haftvad rebelled against the governing prince and killed him, he made a citadel and a fortress on a rock-hill to the west of the town, corresponding to the present site of the Arg. After Haftvad was defeated and killed by Ardashir, the victorious king destroyed the main citadel in the fortress and built a fire-temple in it instead, which, it is believed, was turned into the existing main observation tower and the Char-Fasl building in the Islamic period. In any event, 2000 years of history, with all its ups and downs, with all its wars, internal strives, periods of peace, of calm, of blooming, of blood, of destructions, of developments, of massacres,.., have left their imprints on this site of history which cries out the transient nature of (being) and the external essence of the universe. Walking through the ruins of the Arg, one feels as if every broken wall, every pass-way where people of centuries have walked through, where horses of history have run through, every little stone, every molecule of earth, recites along with Khayyam: Think, in this battered Carvanserai Whose Doorways are alternate Night and Day How Sultan after Sultan with his romp Abode his Hour or two, and went his way The ruins of the Arg as a whole are so interesting, remarkable and mind arousing that it takes more than one visit to absorb and to appreciate the historical significance of the details. An attempt to introduce different parts of the Arg would require a huge volume. However, as Mulffna says, (if the whole sea can`t be taken in, one may drink as much as his thirst would allow.`; so, here`s some very brief descriptions of` some of the more interesting parts: 1- The main (southern) gate: This is the only remaining gate of at least four gates. 2- The Bazaar or the main market place: Right after passing through the gate you enter a pass-way about 60 meters long which used to be the main bazaar of the town. Presumably built in the Safavid period, it had been a roofed bazaar, built, as it was the usual practice in the Safavid period, on a predrawn plan provided by the government. This bazaar, which apparently was active up until early 14th cent. A.H. (early 20Lh cent. A.D.), had replaced some other ancient bazaars of the town, like the (Pol-e-Gargan), which Moghadassi (late 4th cent. AH, 10th cent. AD) has mentioned in Ahsan-al-Taghasim, but its whereabouts are obscure now. It is noteworthy that Bam was a male commercial and trading town on the famous (Spice Road), a major tributary of the (Silk Road), connecting India, the Indian Ocean, the Omman - or the Arabian-sea, and the Persian Gulf to that main road of wealth of wealth and trade in the middle Ages. Bam was also a major center of textile industry in those days, known for its differnt fine fabrics all through the Islamic world. 3- The Grand Mosque, which was originally built in the Saffari period, 3rd. cent. AH (9th cent. AD), according to Prof. Pope, has gone through major changes in different periods. 4- The Stables and the Garrison or the Armory, both presumably built in the Saljouq or the Timurid period (6th or 8th cent. AH, 13th or 15th cent. AD). 5- The governor`s quarters and the Chahar-Fasl (Four Seasons) Building, and also the main observation tower, presumably belonging to the Safavid period (early 10th cent, mid 12th cent. AH, early 16th cent., mid 18th cent. AD) in their present forms. It is thought that the Chahar-Fasl and the main observation tower were originally a fire-temple of the pre-Islamic period. These were some very fragmentary notes on just some of the more important parts of the Arg; as I said a rightful introduction of different parts of the Arg, even a thorough introduction of only the parts mentioned, would require a huge volume, as huge as the history itself, for this, the Arg, is the history itself. Let us just watch, and pass very gently by these ruins, because every spot that you put your foot on, there may lie a king, a swordsman, an old sage, a lover, a mother... Be careful, beware… Atashkadeh in Yazd province The most important Zoroastrian fire temple, Atashkadeh (located on a hill in a small garden on the east side of Ayatollah Kashani St.) is open to the public from 08:00 to 11:00 am and 02:30 to 04:30 Pm Saturday to Thursday, expect holidays. There is no entrance fee, but donations are welcomed. It is surrounded by evergreen trees and a large round pool in the courtyard which gives a clear reflection of the temple for artistic photography. The sacred flame behind a glass visible from the small museum inside has, according to the Zoroastrian elder in attendance here, been burning since about 470 AD and was transferred from its original site in 1940. This attracts Zoroastrians from around the world, and there will probably be someone who speaks English to explain things to you. There are also a couple of paintings here, including one of Zoroastrian, Architecturally, there are certain similarities between this fire-temple and those of Iranian Zoroastrians. There are plenty of other Zoroastrian sites such as Qoleh Asadan (the Fortress of Lions) in the far northeast of Yazd, and the most important one, Chak Chak (see below), 52 km to the north. Azadi Tower in Tehran province This tower which represents the city of Tehran is part of Azadi cultural complex which is located in Tehran`s Azadi square in an area of some 5 hectares. This complex is composed of the following sections; The 50 meter high Azadi tower, which forms the main part of the museum and its architecture, is a combination of Islamic and Sassanid architecture style. The audio - video hall of the complex which has been designed based on Iran`s geographical map displays the regional characteristics of Iran in so far as cultural, life style, religious and historical monuments are concerned. A mechanical conveyer About Eram Garden in Fars province BAGH-E ERAM, a famous and beautiful garden at Shiraz. Its site close to the embankment of the Rudkhana-ye Kushk was formerly on the northwestern fringe of the city but is now well inside the greatly expanded urban area. The present garden and mansion are not very old but, like the other famous gardens of Shiraz, may well have replaced an earlier foundation. D. N. Wilber surmised that its antecedent may have been the Bag-e Shah mentioned in accounts o seed (Fasa`i, II, p. 164). Forsat Shirazi, a contemporary of Fasa`i, praised the Bag-e Eram for its beautiful flowers, refreshing air, tall cypresses (a stately, beautiful cypress tree there known as sarv-e naz has long been a major tourist attraction), fragrant myrtles, flowing wa of the constructional work and praises of the then owner Nasir-al-Molk. After the coup detat of 1332 5./1953 and the exile of the Qashqa`i brothers, who in the meantime had regained ownership of the Bag-e Eram, the government confiscated the garden and later on gave it to Pahlavi University (now the University of Shiraz). Duringthis period the former mud walls were replaced with iron railings, old trees were cut down to make room for lawns, and a broad street named Eram Boulevard was laid out on the northwest side. Early during the revolution of 1357 5./1978-79. The Qashqa`is repossessed the garden; shortly afterward its owner Khosrow Khan dedicated it to the people of Shiraz. The garden has now been made into a botanical garden and the mansion has been assigned to the Faculty of Law of the university. Bibliography: Mohammad-Nasir Forsat Shirazi, Atar-e `Ajam, Bombay, 1313/1895, repr. 1353/1934. D. N. Wilber, Persian Gardens and Garden Pavilions, Tokyo, 1962; tr. Mahindokht Saba, Bagha-ye Iran kuska-ye an, Tehran, 1348 5./1969. R. Pechere, -Etude de jardins historiques, in UNESCO, Iran, March, 1973. Mohammad-Taqi Mostafawi, Eqlim-e Pars, Tehran, 1343 5./1964; tr. R. N. Sharp, The Land of Pars, Chippenham, England, 1978, p. 315. Eram garden is located in the center of Shiraz on the side of Eram Street. A leader of the Qashqai tribe known as Mohammad Ali Khan Ilkhani during the early 18th century made this garden. About 75 years later, Nasirolmolk bought the garden and Haj Mohammad Hassan, the prominent architect built its three storey building. This monument is a masterpiece from the Qajar dynasty in so far as architecture, painting, carvinf, tiling and stuccowork are concerned. The lower sections of the building`s exterior are formed of 2 - meter - high plain and carved stones and on the eight columns there is the exihibt of two Qajar soldiers ans six inscriptions. The inscriptions have been inscribed by Mirza Ali Naghi Khoshnevis in Nastaligh style of writing. In the portal of the building there are three large and two small sessions. The spring, which flows in the waterfronts, right in the middle of the building pours into ponds and grants Eram garden a great appeal. The cypress tree in this garden is quite famous. Bagh-e-Fin (Fin Garden) in Esfahan province The Bagh-i-Shah of Fin is a palace that combines the architectural features of the Safavid, Zandiyeh and Qajar periods. It is famous for its abundant water-supply (Cheshmeh Sulaimani), a garden thick with trees, a pool with numerous spouts, and an old historical bathing-house (where Amir Kabir was murdered.) The original construction of the park and the Suffehs are attributed to the reigns of Shah Safi and Shah Sulaiman, the Safavid monarchs, which later on have been expanded and repaired under other Safavid kings. The present remains consist of two suffehs known as Shah Abbassi and Fath Ali Shahi, a structure called Karim Khani, and its famous bathing-house In a part of the park, a building has been museum is housed. The Shah Abbassi suffeh is actually a two-story building which is situated almost at the centre of the park facing the impressive portal. At the center of the suffeh, there is a beautiful pool. Upon the walls and on the ceiling of the suffeh, traces of Safavid color paintings can be seen. These paintings include views of hunting-grounds, portraits of princes, etc The frieze of the suffeh is of marble, of which only some fragments have survived. The other covered suffeh, known as Fath Ali Shahi has been constructed in A.H. 1226 (A.D. 1811), and in the interior of this structure, these exist some paintings depicting different sceneries as well as a plaster inscription in Nastaliq script. Most of the verses included in it have disappeared. The poet`s name is Khavari and that of the calligrapher, Muhammad Taqi Husseini who has done the work in A.H. 1226 (A.D. 1811). The present portal of the park belongs to the Qajar period, around which remains of a guard-house and some other structures can be seen. On the whole, the Bagh-i-Shah of Fin counts amongst the most beautiful ancient parks of Iran as regards its location, a bountiful fountain called Sultani, numerous old trees, tall cypresses, pools and streams of flowing water and numerous spouts. Chahar Bagh in Esfahan province The American scholar, Arthur Upham Pope, whose monument A Survey of Persian Art in six volumes is indispensable to all students of that subject, describes this Madrasa as (perhaps the last great building in Iran). It was built between 1706 and 1714 during the reign of Shah Sultan Hussein, the last of the Safavids. The Shah`s mother is said to have paid for the building and also for the adjoining carvanserai which was to provide the School`s endowment and which Yas converted in 1962-65 into what perhaps the most surprising and luxurious hotel in the Middle East. The great tiled dome over the sanctuary at the north end of the building is covered with large arabesques in yellow, black and white against a brilliant turquoise background. Round the drum runs a band of contrasting lapis lazuli blue decorated with whitecalligraphic inscriptions. The brilliance of coloring of the dome and minarets is emphasized by the Khaki-colored brick work below. Lord Curzon, statesman and traveler, whose Persia and the Persian Question, published in1892, is a mine of individual information, described the Madrasa as (one of the stateliest ruins that I saw in Persia). However, it has been skillfully restored and is still used as a mosque, though no longer as a seminary. Darvazeh Bagh e Melli in Tehran province This imposing brick gateway, decorated with high Haft Rangi tiles, was built in 1922 by command of Reza Khan when he was minister of War. It faces what it used to be the Ministry of War, an old Qajar building a few hundred yards to the north; the space between was for many years a big military parade ground, the Maidan-i-Mashq, but has now been built over. On the right through the gateway are the large police headquarters, built in neo-Achaemenian style during Reza Shah`s reign; on the left a museum completed in 1967, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Apart from numerous faience inscriptions, the tiling on both sides of the gateway illustrates military subjects such as machine guns and soldiers. The main faience inscription over the central arch, which is crowned by a chamber where military music was played, is an Arabic and records well-known words of the Prophet Muhammad as quoted by the Imam Reza. Another inscription states that the gateway`s wrought-iron work was made in the Tehran arsenal. Delgosha Garden in Fars province In southern entrance of Tang-e-Sadi in Shiraz, and beneath Nodar castle, there is a large garden, which is known as Delgosha. The garden is composed of a very large ground area located alongside the Boustan avenue which leads to the tomb of Sa`di. The walls of the garden is made of mud but the entrance portel is made of clay brick. From the entrance of the garden to the building, which is located in the center of the garden, there is a waterfont and a cement street. Four streets have been constructed round the building leding to the walls of the garden. On the sids of some of these streets there are cypress and pine trees. Orange, palm and walnut trees have been planted in other parts of the garden. There is a large pond right in front of the building. This building has been erected on a platform and the lower part of the walls is covered with plain stone. The building inside the garden comes in three stories and the portal is decorated with glaze tiling. The doors of some of the rooms are quite old. There is an octagonal structure on the first floor in the center of which is located a pond covered with blue tiles. The ceiling of the building is a simple dome in the middle of which there is a vent. There are four royal rooms with four angels on the sides of the octagonal structure. Dowlatabad Garden in Yazd province The heat is blistering in the south, on the edge of the Great Desert. High chimneys acting as air-vents bring some comfort to these dwellings. This is a complex built according to the original Iranian architectural style and consists of a large garden and some buildings. Being watered by a qanat, until the very recent past it was used for the residence of the provincial governor, The most impressive part of the Complex are a 33-meter high bad-gir (wind tower) on the roof and a water stream in the interior. The air was conducted into the interior and cooled through the action of the flowing water. Lattice doors and windows with stained glass patterns impart a pleasing sight to the Complex. About Ganjali Khan Complex in Kerman province Ganjali Khan was one of the famous rulers during the reign of Shah Abbas. As the ruler of Kerman province he constructed many monuments and buildings. Ganjali Khan complex is composed of a school, a square, a caravanseray, a public bath, a water reservoir, a mint house, a mosque and a bazaar. A number of inscriptions laid inside the complex indicate the exact date when these places have been built. Out of Ganjali Khan complex, the Khan public bath located in the grand bazaar of Kerman serves as an anthropology museum today and attracts an increasing number of Iranian and foreign tourists. This is a unique work of architecture with beautiful tile works, paintings, stuccos, and arches. The bath rendered service no later than 60 years ago. In the closet section and main yard of the bath there are many statues which are unbelievably interesting. These statues were designed at Tehran University`s faculty of fine arts in 1973 and then transferred to this museum. This complex has been built during the Safavid era (1499 - 1723 AD) enjoying a modern architectural style of the time. This bath is an association of architecture and application of an array of constructional materials in an appropriate space with totally popular approaches. The architect of the bath and the complex is a master from Yazd city named Mohammad Sultani. About Ghara Church in West Azarbaijan province This church, which is the graveyard of Saint Thaddaeus, was built during the 8th centery AD in Chaldoran village (near Maku) at the foot of a hill. Black and white stones were applied in the construction of this church, but it was restored during the 13th century AD after it was destroyed as a result of an earthquake. The martydom anniversary of Saint Thaddaeus, is a day when special rituals are performed in the church and this place is one of the most important places of worship for the Iranian Armenians. The dome of the church resembles a pyramid with 12 buttresses and the eastern exterior has been decorated with black stone and that is one reason why the church is called Ghara Kelisa, meaning black church. In the eastern and ancient side of the church which belongs to the 10th centery, there is a courtyard and preaching hall on the entrance of which an inscription in Armenian presents some details about the main building and other inscriptions indicate that the building of the church was repaired in 1814 AD on the order of crown prince Abbas Mirza Qajar. In various interiors and exteriors of the church there are relief exhibits which demonstrate religious meetings, the picture of the saints and the scenes of the historical tales of the holy book along with numerous decorative and ornamental designs, all with great worth and value from the artistic and archaeological point of view. About Golestan Palaces in Tehran province During the reign of the Safavid Shah Abbas I, a vast garden called Chahar-Bagh (Four Gardens), a governmental residence and a Chenaristan (a grove of plane trees), had been created on the present site of the Golestan Palace and its surroundings. Then, Karim Khan Zand (1163-1193 = 1749-1779 A.D.) ordered the construction of a citadel, a rampart and a number of towers in the same area. In the Qajar period, some royal buildings were gradually erected within the citadel; for instance, in 1268 A.H. (1813 A.D.) which coincided with the fifth year of the Nasir al-Din Shah, the eastern part of the royal garden was extended and some other palaces were built around the garden, called palaces the Golestan Garden. The group of palaces located in the northern part of the Golestan Garden, consists of the Museum Hall (Talar-i-Brilian), the Ivory Hall, the Crystal Hall, and the Talar-i Narinjistan (orangery hall), which have all been built prior to the construction of the other parts of the palace. The Museum Hall has been built in 1296 A.H. (1878 A.D.). In the upper section of the Royal Reception Hall of the Golestan Palace, there is a large bejeweled golden throne, called Takht-i- Tavus (The Peacock Throne), which must be the same as the Solar Throne (Takht-i Khorshidi). The Qajar`s royal residence, the oldest substantial building in the city, and one of a group of royal buildings then enclosed within mud walls known as the Arg, the Golestan Palace (Rose Garden), too, was completed by Fath Ali Shah Qajar. However, its construction is attributed to the Safavid Shah Abbas I. Nasser ad-Din shah, influenced by what he had seen during his first European tour in 1873, added a Museum in the from of a large, first-floor hall decorated with mirror work, where some of the priceless Crown jewels were put on show side by side with many other things of much less value, mainly acquired by the King during his European tour. The coronation ceremonies of the last two kings of the Pahlavi dynasty took place in the first-floor hall, however, after a re-arrangement, complete renovation and redecoration of the interior with the intention of reviving the palace`s ancient splendor. The last King used to hold New Year and Birthday Salams in the Coronation Hall, where Ministers, foreign Ambassadors and other dignitaries in full dress offered their congratulations to the King of Kings. But generally, the Golestan Place is open to strollers and tourists. The Palace garden offered an oasis of coolness and silence in the heart of the city, Shade is provided by what the inhabitants of Tehran call (the finest plane tree in town), rose bushes, blue fountain-bowls and ancient of water recall the charm of ancient Iranian gardens. Altogether, here you will see little more of the palace than the visitor hoping for a tour around Buckingham Palace who is fobbed off with the Royal Gallery. But while the state-rooms of the Palace may appeal to some others will turn to the Palace Library for the discovery of Iranian paintings, which owes its relative lack of popularity to the inaccessibility of originals scattered from Cleveland to Istanbul, from Washington`s Freer Gallery to ST Petersburg, and from the British Museum to Cairo`s National Library. Address: 15th Khordad Square. About Gonbad-e Harounieh in Khorasan province In the vicinity of Mashhad, in the town of Tus, the birth place of Iran`s great epic poet Ferdowsi, there is a quadrangular mausoleum covered with a cupola, whose construction has been attributed to the 8th century A.H. (14th century A.D.). The cupola is of the double- covering type and is made of kin-fired brick. The interior of the monument is simple and undecorated. There is a mihrab with plaster moldings in the northern part of the hall. Above the main wall of the structure, there are a number of chambers, reminiscent of the construction of the mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar and Oljaitu. About Hafez (Hafezieh) in Fars province The celebrated Hafez was born in Shiraz in 1326 A.D. in Shiraz. He is said to have known all the Koran by heart, hence earning the nick-name of Hafez (Memorizer). With Ferdowsi he ranks as the most popular and best known poet in Iran. His collection (divan) consists of 693 poems, of which 573 are odes. There are many who consider this modest work as the greate masterpiece of Persian Literature. His tomb in Shiraz is visited by so many admirers that it may be regarded as a shrine. Hafez spent most of his life in Shiraz and was buried in the Mosalla garden on the banks of the Roknabad stream, which he often celebrated in his poems. His mausoleum becomes a forum for musicians and poets. Have known all the Koran by heart, hence earning the nickname of Hafez (Memorizer). With Ferdowsi he ranks as the most popular and best known poet in Iran. His collection (Divan) consists of 693 poems, of which 573 are odes. There are many who consider this most work as the greatest masterpiece of Persian literature. So many admirers that it may be regarded as a shrine visit his tomb in Shiraz. Ibrahim Khan This Public Bath (Hammam) and bazaar have been created by the zeal and generosity of Ibrahim Khan, Governor of Kerman, and belong to the 13th century A.H. (19th century A.D.), and the Qajar period. About Harun-e-Velayat in Esfahan province The construction of Harun-e-Velayat or Haruniyeh is composed of a cupola, a tomb-box, two courtyards and two portals beautifully ornamented with mosaic tiles. It has been erected in 918 A.H. (1512 A.D.), in the reign of the Safavid monarch, Shah Ismail, and has later been repaired under other sovereigns of the same dynasty. Its tileworks have earned this monument a well-deserved place among Isfahan`s historical remains. Innumerable inscriptions in different calligraphic styles, set on mosaic tile background, are found in this monument, including the inscription of its ancient stone through. Some lines of verse from the Safavid and Qajar times can also be seen in the mausoleum and the porch. The superb tile-decorated cupola of the monument also bears an inscription in Kufic around its base. About Hasht Behesht in Esfahan province The Hasht Behesht (The Eight Paradise Palazzo) is an octagonal structure, typical of many royal palaces in Isfahan. Commissioned by Shah Sulieman, it was built about 1669 (about A.H. 1081). The garden, is visible at all times through the great arches, is an integral part of the structure. The domed ceiling of the main reception room is painted in purple on a glittering gold base, while above the windows, in the lantern dome, fragments of mirror sparkle in the light. Painting on the outer blind arches. Painted tile designs of birds, animals, and hunting scenes, found on the spandrels of the outer blind arches, enliven the facades of the Hasht Behesht in Isfahan. Hunting was a favorite pastime of the Shahs. Seven days before the court`s departure for a hunting trip the tents, rugs, gold services, and other prerequisites for the camp were sent off. From five to seven thousand camels were needed to transport this equipage. The splendor of these hunting camps may be judged from the fact that each nobleman was allotted some five hundred square feet for his tent. Under the silk-lined canopies were rooms for his harem, a bath, and a reception hall. The interiors were carpeted, strewn with soft cushions and draped in shimmering brocades. Pools and waterways adorned the site, and flowers blossomed in these (gardens for a day or two.) The ceiling in a second floor reception room of the Hasht Behesht glistens with mirror decoration. The Hasht Behesht enhanced Chardin, writing in 1676. (When one walks in this place expressly made for the delights of love, and when one passes through all these cabinets and niches, one`s heart is melted to such an extent that, to speak candidly, one always leaves with a very ill grace. The climate without doubt contributes much towards exciting this amorous disposition; but assuredly these places, although in some respects little more than cardboard castles, are nevertheless more smiling and agreeable than our most sumptuous palaces.) About Jebellieh in Kerman province In the eastern section of Kerman city toward the Saheb-ol-Zaman mosque there is a stone - made dome known as Kobra dome. The dome`s plan is octagonal and on each side there are many arch vaults. There is no precise information on the construction date and application of the monument. The architectural style of the monument, however, suggests that the dome can be attributed to late Sassanid era (266 - 651 AD), which has been later repaired during early Islamic period. About Ganj Nameh in Hamedan province On the gigantic rocks of Alvand mountain, the two Achaemenid kings namely Darius the first and Xerxes (522 - 484 B.C.) have described their conquests in an inscription carved in the stone asking for help from Ahuramazda. The later generations who could not read the cuneiform alphabets of the ancient Persian, Elamite and Babilian scripts thought it was the guide to an uncovered treasury. Ganj Nameh is located five kilometers from southwestern Hamadan (the ancient Ecbatana) which served as the capital of he Medes and Achaemenids, in a region called Abbas Abad. There are two plate inscriptions, one on the right side embracing the name of Xerxes and the one on the left embracing the name of Darius the Great. The translation of the text of the right side plate attributed to Xerxes is as follows : (The mighty lord is Ahuramazda, the god of gods, who created this land, the sky and the people, the same god who brought people happiness, who appointed Xerxes as king, the unique king of kings, the unique ruler of the rulers, I am Xerxes, the great king, king of kings, king of multinational countries, king of this large land, the son of Darius the Achaemenid.) This translation corresponds with part of the inscription attributed to Xerxes at the main entrance of Persepolis and the other plate inscription of Ganj Nameh attributed to Darius the first, the father of Xerxes, had the same sentences with the difference that instead of Xerxes it has the name of Darius. These two plates too, similar to the majority of inscriptions by the Achaemenid kings include greetings to Ahuramazda and the fathers and forefathers of these kings. About Khaju Bridge in Esfahan province The Bridge of Khaju or pole-i-Khaju, the most famous of Isfahan bridges, has roused the admiration of travelers since the 17th century. There was an earlier bridge across the river at the same spot, near the district of Khaju on the old Shiraz road; this was probably built in the reign of Timurian sovereign, one of the successors of Tamerlane (15th century). Shah Abbas II built the present structure round about 1650. It has 23 arch and are 436 feet long and 39 feet wide. It is also a dam; sluice gates between the piers closed the canals, raising the water level upstream so that large reserves could be collected for irrigating the surrounding gardens. With its two stories of arcades with intersecting arches, its stone steps downstream with the water cascading over them, and its two large pavilions in the center- (The Prince` Parlors)- this bridge is a masterpiece of balance and harmony. The outer side of the arcades is decorated with richly colored tiles, and the interior of the pavilions with more recent paintings. Shah Abbas the second of the Safavid dynasty on the ruins of Hassan Baik Bridge in 1650 or 1655.The bridge has been known with a variety of titles including Pol-e-Shahi, Pol-e-Khaju, Pol-e-Baba Rokneddin, and Pol-e-Gabrha built this bridge. The bridge is 105 meters long and 14 meters wide. The pass way of the bridge is 7.5 meters wide, made of bricks and stones with 21 larger and 26 smaller inlet and outlet channels. The pieces of stone used in this bridge are over 2 meters long and the distance between every channel and the ceiling base is 20 meters. The existing inscriptions suggest that the bridge was repaired in 1873. Khan School This historical monument is situated in Shiraz city. This building was constructed by Allah Verdi Khan and his son in the Shah Abbas period. This place, which used to be a theological school, has been restored several times. About Khatoon Bridge in West Azarbaijan province This bridge was constructed at 2 km. southeast of Khoy on the river which is 40 km. from Khoy - Salmas Road in the years 1170-1200 AH., under the orders of Ahmad Khan Donbeli. The bridge is made of brick and is 59.40 m. in length, 8.70 m. in width, and 6.48 m. in height. The bridge has undergone repair in recent years. Anahita Temple in Kermanshah province This temple belongs to the Seleucides (313 - 64 BC - ) and has been built in Kangavar city. The architectural structure of this temple is a combination of the Greek and Persian styles and as its name suggests is related to Anahita, the daughter of Din Mehr, who enjoyed a very high status with the ancient Iranians. The temple is as old as 200 B.C. Today houses and streets have been built on the surface of this monument and only part of the temple has remained intact because it neighbors Imamzadeh mosque. About Masouleh in Gilan province Although regions to the south of the Caspian Sea are mainly covered with mountainous and traditionally virgin villages and settlements, but one can not help mentioning Masuleh, 56 km. southwest of Rasht and 1050 meters above sea level, which is actually the most breathtakingly beautiful village here. Approached from Rasht via Fuman by a dramatic pass and completely surrounded by forest, this perfectly preserved village appears to have grown out of its surrounding like a limpet clinging to a rock. It`s formed of several irregular levels of terraced, pale cream houses with gray state roofs, interspersed with evergreen trees. So steep is the slope that the familiar Iranian network of narrow alleys is entirely absent, andinstead the flat roof of each levelof houses forms a pathway for thelevel above. The village has few facilities to offer the visitors, but its in spiring setting makes it a perfect antidote to travel in the dry and dusty central plateau, and well worth a day trip from Rasht. It`s bitterly cold in winter, with snow sometimes three meters deep, but the climate in summer is extremely pleasant and bracing. About Minar Jonban in Esfahan province The tombstone of Amu Abdollah bears the Hijrah date of 716 A.H. (1316 A.D.) and two minarets, one on either side of the mausoleum ivan, from the main attraction of this place, since any movement produced in one of them is automatically reflected not only in the other minaret, but even in the whole ivan. Hence, the popular name (Minar-i Jonban). The architectural style of the monument is that of the Mogul period. The ivan of the mausoleum has been ornamented with four-pointed and polygonal azure tiles, and an inscription on the tombstone reads as follows: (This is the tomb of the virtuous,god-fearing Sheikh, Amu Abdollah ibn Muhammad ibn Mahmud Saqla, my God less his soul. Dated (17th Zil-Hijja, 716 A.H.). One of the stunning historical buildings in Isfahan is Menarjonban which is located 6 kilometers west of the city of Isfahan, on the way to Najaf Abad in a village called Karlatan. The architectural style here belongs to the 14th century (Mongol style) complemented with dark blue tiles in the form of stars decorating two arches and the sides of the portico. If you climb up the very narrow stairway to the top of one of these two shaking minarets and lean hard against the wall it will start to sway back and forth, and so will its twin. This situation, according to experts has occurred gradually with the passage of time. About Naghsh-e Jahan in Esfahan province On the present site of Maidan-i-Imam before Isfahan became the Safavid capital, there used to be another square called naqsh-i-Jahan (Design of the world), much smaller than the square today. It was Shah Abbas the Great who made Isfahan his capital and then decreed that the square should be extended to its present size, and lovely buildings set around it. The length of this great square, which is actually rectangular, is 500 meters from north to south, and its width about 150 meters from east to west. It was laid out and beautified in the reign of Shah Abbas the Great, at the beginning of the seventeenth century. From that time until sixty years ago the square presented a very different aspect from the square to day. The whole area of the square within the limits of the water channels round it was quite level, while to the north and south stood two goal posts for the game of polo. Those two goals posts are still in position but replanning with large pool in the center, and lower beds round has transformed the square and given it a completely new look. Most of the buildings round are two-storied and the alcoves simply decorated. To the south of Maidan can be seen the great pile of Abbasi Jami (Masjid-i-Shah) - the Royal Mosque a vista of blue, - to the east is Sheikh Lutf Allah Mosque quite unequaled - to the west the royal palace of Shah Abbas the Great, Ali Qapo and to the north the Qaysariyeh gateway leading to the Royal Bazaar. The most noteworthy feature of the square is the way in which in sunshine and shade and the varying lights of the day, the whole wonderful expanse takes on a hundred different aspects each more attractive and lovely. If, as some foreign travelers have said, (Isfahan is the heart of the Orient), then Maidan-i-Imam is certainly the heart of Isfahan. We can still appreciate its wonder on viewing it today, but imagination is needed to recapture the glory of four centuries ago. Let us try to imagine Isfahan four centuries ago. First place a hundred and ten cannons a hundred and ten paces from each side of the entrance to Ali Qapo palace, for a hundred and ten computed in the ancient letters gives the name of the Prophet`s son-in-law, Ali, who was especially venerated by the Safavid King. The palace itself has all the dazzling beauty of the period, lovely doors and all kind of expensive objects and furnishings. Shah Abbas, of the piercing glance, sits there, surrounded by all the important personalities and ambassadors of the day, Persians and foreigners, and from the lofty gallery views the polo and other maneuvers of his Qezelbash guards below. This will give you some idea of Isfahan`s former greatness. The Qaysariyeh and the entrance of the Royal Bazaar, built in 1619, stand at the north end of the Maidan. The frescoes and painted pendentives of this gateway are still worth note. The frescoes, which picture the war of Shah Abbas, the Great with the Uzbecks, have faded badly in the air and sunlight, but the roof pendentives are still in good condition. Above the gateway here is some lovely mosaic tiling: these show the play of the star Sagittarius, the Archer, for in the old day eastern writers considered that Isfahan was under the influence of this star. The symbol of the archer shows a creature, half-man, half-tiger, with a large snake for its tail and this is depicted in the tilework here. The doorway of the Qaysariyeh opens into the Royal Bazaar, where you can find all kinds of hand-woven, hand-printed cloth being sold and you can also go in and see how the patterns are made and applied. This Bazaar has a wonderful painted crossroads, dating from Safavid times, the most beautiful and most important arches crossroads in Isfahan. At that same period, the upper galleries of the gateway used to contain bands of musicians and at sunset each evening the bands would strikes up, with kettle-drums, trumpets, horns and all kinds of military music. About Naghsh-e Rostam in Fars province About four kilometers from Haji Abad mountain on the northeast of Persepolis, there are some historical works belonging to Elamite, Achaemenid and Sassanid kings which are called Naghsh-e Rostam because of their grandeur and height. On the top of the mountain there are four tombs which are believed to be those of, Xerxes, Darius I Artaxerexes and Darius II, the Achaemenid kings. In the first relief which has been carved in the lower side of the mountain, Narssi, the son of Shapur I receives the royal ring from the symbol of Anahita. In this carving the clothing style, the crown, hairstyle, ornaments and the strips which were fastened to the ankles have been demonstrated. The second relief, which has been carved below the tomb of Darius the Great and includes two scenes, which have been separated by a relatively narrow line. Both scenes share similarities and the scene above demonstrates Bahram II (276 - 293 A.D) engaged in a battle with his foes. The third relief constitutes the biggest and the most luxurious carving of the Sassanid era in Naghsh-e Rostam and includes the victory of Shapur I (242 - 271 A.D.) over the Roman emperor Valerian. In this relief Shapur I is riding his horse in full glory and grandeur and the Roman emperor Valerian has bowed before him. Behind Shapur is seen the large inscription in Pahlavi plus the picture of the prominent and mighty Zoroastrian priest of his time. This inscription speaks of Shapur`s biography, background and endeavors for the reinforcement of the principles of the Zoroastrian faith. The fourth relief demonstrates the victory of Hormuz II, the Sassanid king (302 - 310 A.D.) who has crushed his enemy. The fifth relief shows the scene of the victory of Bahram II (276 - 293 A.D.) where the enemy of the king grips a broken lancer in his hand and his horse is down on the ground. The sixth relief demonstrates Bahram II,the Sassanid king in the company of his court people and viziers.The seventh relief which is one of the early reliefs of Naghsh - e -Rostam, displays Artaxerxes (226 - 242 A.D.) who is receiving the royal ring from Ahura Mazda. On the left has been carved Artaxerxes and to the right is Ahura Mazda, both riding horses. Under the hoof of Artaxerxes` horse has been carved a man who is said to be the last king of the Arsacids, and some others believe this man is a rival to Artaxerxes` throne. Nasir ol Molk This mosque is situated at the end of the Lotfali Khan-e-Zand Street. Nasirol Molk who was one of the elite of Shiraz, is the founder of this mosque. This mosque is unique for its tile work and architecture. The construction work of mosque began in 1293 AH. and was finally terminated in 1305 AH., by Mohammad Hassan Me`mar and Mohammad Reza Kashi Paz Shirazi . About Niasar fire temple in Esfahan province Niasar fire temple has been made of stone and lime and is a complete example of the architectural styles applied in the construction of the fire temples of the Sassanid era (841-1253). About Pasargade in Fars province This palace is 600 meters to the northeast of the Koorush shrine. The area of this palace is 2,620 square meters and includes a large hall (with eight columns) in the middle and four terraces in four directions and two rooms in the corners. To the east of the palace is Pasargadae, composed of a large hall with eight columns. There is a doorway on the north, east and western side of this hall. In the northern doorway, there is an impression of a winged human with two wings directed towards the sky and two wings to the bottom. Where as the hands are raised towards the sky in a gesture of prayer. This edifice with 3,427 square meters area, is located 15 km. northwest of the palace. The main hall has 30 columns made of white stone. A mass of black and white stones have been used as construction material. One of the characteristics of Pasargadae is the canals made of white stone, which were used, for irrigation. There are equally other remains distributed in the province, some registered as national heritage monuments. These include the ruins of the Achaemenian Dynasty (Saravan Village), the Dokhtar Palace (Rastaq Village) dating back to the 3rd century AD, the restored Sassanian Palace (Sarvestan) dating originally back to the time of Bahram Gour (year 420 AD), Ardeshir Babakan Palace (Marvdasht). About Persepolis (Takht-e-Jamshid) in Fars province On top of the rocky mountain of Rahmat in the plain of Marvdasht, the ruins of Takht-e-Jamshid palace are pre-eminent. Construction of these palaces started at the time of Darius I (521 BC) and was not completed in less than a period of 150 years. Takht-e-Jamshid is registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The entrance of the complex is formed by a two-ramp stairway composed of 110 rather wide and short steps. On top of the stairways is the main entrance or `The Great Gate`, marked by two statues of a bull with a human head and a pair of wings. There are two exits, one to the south and the other to the east. The south exit or gate connects to the Apadana Palace. Takht-e-Jamshid is 125 thousand sq.m. in area, and is composed of the main sections: - Official reception halls and palaces - Smaller and more private palaces - Royal treasury - Private fort and special fortification Various edifices or palaces that have been built are as follows: - The Small Palace or the Gate of All Nations - The Apadana Palace - The Palace of Darius,(one of the primary palaces constructed on the Takht-e-Jamshid rock, which was also called the `Tachar` Palace.) - Hall or palace of a Hundred Columns - The Semifinished Gate or palace - Treasury of Takht-e-Jamshid - The Three Doorway or Consultation Palace or Hall - The stone well - Tombs of Ardeshir II and III - The Palace of Khashayar Shah (called `Hadish`) Takht-e-Jamshid was set ablaze by Alexander the Greek (330 BC) after which only ruins have remained. From these ruins, the Apadana Palace, at the main entrance, with 36 columns and three balconies (12 columns in each) in the north, south and eastern sections of the palace have been remained. The northern and eastern terraces are connected to the gardens opposite. The height of the platform in the Apadana Palace is 16 m. and the height of its columns is 18 m. About Pir-e-Bakran Tomb in Esfahan province The tomb of Pir-e-Bakran, together with a gallery and courtyard date back to 8th. century A.H. (14th.century A.D.) and have been constructed in the reign of the Mogul Ilkhan Uljaitu. This complex of structures bears two dates, namely 703 and 712 A.H. (1303 and 1312 A.D.), and possesses excellent stucco decorations and tilework inscriptions in Thulth and Kufic calligraphy and a series of inscription plaster works add considerably to the grandeur and charm of this monument. The mausoleum is that of an eighth century pious man, Muhammad ibn Bakran and consists of a gallery, a courtyard, a portal and the actual tomb. The name of the constructor and decorator of this superb building, given in the inscription, is Mohammed Naghaash (the painter), and his work ranks among the masterpieces of the decorative arts in Iran. About Sad Abaad Palaces in Tehran province Known as the Saad Abad Cultural Complex, and bounded by Velenjak to the north and Kolak-Chal to the east, it occupies an area of 410 hectares. Actually, it is the greatest cultural complex in modern Tehran consisting of seven palace-museums (out of 18, turned into public museums after the revolution), not all open at the same time. However, they are clearly marked and signposted in English. With an area of some 410 hectares Saad Abad reaches Velenjak in the north, Tajrish square in the south, Darband region in the east, and the skirts of Kolak Chal heights in the west. During the Qajar era, Saad Abad was composed of seven districts. During the Pahlavi era some regions were annexed to it and in this manner the Saad Abad palace was extended. Saad Abad consists of 18 palaces, which were resided by the former Shah of Iran and his relatives. Following the revolution however seven palaces in Saad Abad were turned into museums and palace - museums open to public. These palaces included the White Palace (Nation Museum), Mother`s Palace (Museum of Reminiscence and Warning), Shahram (Museum of Military Implements), Shahnaz (Saad Abad Natural History Museum), Ministry of Court (Museum of Fine Arts), Shahvand Palace (Green Museum) and Shams Palace (Museum of Anthropological Research) About Serkis Church in Tehran province Construction of this splendid church, began in 1964 and finished in 1970. Serkis Church is located at Karim Khan Zand Boulevard. About Shamsolemareh Palace in Tehran province The Shams ol-Emareh which is one of the first high-rise buildings of old Tehran, Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar ordered Doostali Khan Nezam ol-Dowleh (Moayer al-Mamalek) to build it. He choose a site to the east of the Arg and finished the building in 1867 A.D. The building which was well planned and adorned with various decorations such as stucco, Ayaneh Karie, tile and murals is one of the most beautiful of Tehran`s historical buildings. Moayer al-Mamalek not only built with his own money, but bought also the carpets and furnishings and presented a complete building to Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar. This palace is located in the eastern section of Golestan palace and belongs to the era of Nassereddin Shah. The king was inspired in one of his visits abroad, by the multi - storey buildings he observed there. The building was constructed by Doost Ali Khan Moayerrol Mamalek in 1865 - 1867 . The structure of the building is strong and the symmetries have been formed beautifully. The building is brick made with thick walls. In some cases the thickness of the basement walls exceeds 600 centimeters and the thickness of the ground floor walls stands in the range of 510, 150 and 120 centimeters. Shamsol Emareh has been the tallest royal building with three stories and two towers on the top. This building used to serve as a place for official receptions and also the private harem of Nassereddin Shah. In his book entitled Meraat - ol - Boldan, Etemad - ol - Saltaneh describes its halls and chambers all equipped with high quality and premium curtains, chandeliers and posters. Address : Golestan palace complex, 15th Khordad Square About Mosque of Shaykh Lutf Allah in Esfahan province The Mosque of Shaykh Lutf Allah on the east side of Maydan-i-Imam (Naqsh-i-Jahan) is a pleasantly proportioned small sanctuary preceded by a shady square and a large pool It was built by Shah Abbas I between 1602 and 1619. It is named after scholar of Islam who was greatly venerated at the time. A native of Lebanon, this Shaykh was invited by the king, first to Mashhad, near the sanctuary of the Imam Reza, then to the capital where he has put in charge of the king`s mosque and the school of theology. The great originality of the cupola is due to the cream or ink according to the time of day-ground color to which the artist has added a very delicate decoration of serried arabesques and black and blue flowers. The turquoise and sapphire shades of classic Safavid art appear only on the drum and right at the top. The decoration of the entrance portal consists of vault with stalactite and blue and yellow mosaics, and anticipates that of the great ivans of the Imam`s Mosque. Here, however, the subjects are amazingly varied, as for instance on the panel showing two peacocks framing a flower vase filled with luxuriant branches. This small mosque has no central inner courtyard; there is only a small prayer hall which is approached by a corridor. But it is a real gem in which the art of mural mosaics in Isfahan reached its peak. There is not a flaw in the quality of the materials. The balance and harmony of the colors. The walls are entirely faced with sumptuous ornamental (carpets) of gilt geometrical designs on a splendid bluish-green background. All round the large panels are stringcourses on which the Persian calligraphers have drawn elegant white lettering. The inscription in the mihrab gives the name of the architect: a poor and humble man, seeking God`s mercy, called Ustad Mohammed Reza, the son of Ustad Hussein, architect in Isfahan in 1028 (of the hegira). The mihrab itself is a model of its kind with its high niche and ceramic facings. The entrance vestibule The decoration of the entrance portal consists of vaults with stalactites and blue and yellow mosaics, and anticipates that of the great ivans of the Imam`s Mosque. Here, however, the subjects are amazingly varied, as for instance on the panel showing two peacocks framing a flower vase filled with luxuriant branches. Polychrome tileworks The Safavid period marks a high point of the polychromatic decoration of buildings, techniques being developed that enable the builders of Isfahan to cover almost every surface that could be seen with brightly colored glazeness. Entrance to the Sanctuary To enter the Mosque, one passes hrough a narrow, bending passageway whose darkness confers an aura of mystery that contrast perfectly with the sudden impact of the softly lit spaciousness of the chamber. The Safavid period marks a high point of the polychromatic decoration of buildings, techniques being developed that enable the builders of Isfahan to cover almost every surface that could be seen with brightly colored glazeness. The Main Prayer Hall This small mosque has no central inner courtyard; there is only a small prayer hall which is approached by a corridor. But it is a real gem in which the art of mural mosaics in Isfahan reached its peak. There is not a flaw in the quality of the materials. The balance and harmony of the colors. The walls are entirely faced with sumptuous ornamental (carpets) of gilt geometrical designs on a splendid bluish-green background. All round the large panels are stringcourses on which the Persian calligraphers have drawn elegant white lettering. The inscription in the mihrab gives the name of the architect: a poor and humble man, seeking God`s mercy, called Ustad Mohammed Reza, the son of UstadHussein, architect in Isfahan in 1028 (of the hegira). The mihrab itself is a model of its kind with its high niche and ceramic facings. Dome of the Shaykh Lutf Allah Mosque This exquisite building, more private oratory than public mosque, was erected by Shah Abbas I between 1603 and 1618 on the Royal Maydan (Maydan-i-Imam) facing the Ali Qapo Palace. It is named after the Shah`s father-in-law who was a respected divine. There are a number of unusual features about the building: its squat and partly unglazed dome; the absence of a central court and ivans; the single sunken sanctuary chamber covered from top to bottom in mosaic faience of the highest quality. The 42 ft. wide dome rests on a drum pierced by 16 small windows, through whose double grilles the light plays. The tilework of the ceiling is perhaps the most intricate in Isfahan and has the quality of a finely woven carpet. The building was extensively and skillfully restored between 1954 and 1956. About Shazdeh Garden in Kerman province Some 42 kilometers south-east of Kerman, the road passes through Mahan, a town well known in the 10th century A.D., here is located the Shazdeh Garden (The Prince Garden). The edifice in the Garden was the summer residence of Qajar princes which is now restored and converted into a sumptuous restaurant. About Sho`ara Cemetery in East Azarbaijan province Known as the Shoara Cemetery, the Mausoleum is the resting place of many famous Iranian poets, mystic, scientists, and theologians. Bodies of ssadi Tousi, Khaqani Shervani, Zahir-e Faryabi, QatranTabrizi, Muhammad Shirin, Maqrebi, Homam Tabrizi, Salman Savoji, Falaki Shervani, Qazi Beizavi, and the celebrated contemporary poet of Tabriz, the late Muhammad Hussein Shahriyar are buried here. About Sialk Hills in Esfahan province Approximately 4,500 years BC., a community with an interesting civilization was settled in this area and their tools were of stone and bone. There is a possibility that the former residents of this region had succumbed to their successors. Here, Elamite slabs of clay have been found, and due to the links of this community with that of the civilization of Shoosh (Susa), about 5,500 years ago, they learned to write. Thereby, several clay slabs with the most ancient Elamite script are vestiges of this area. Evidences found in the cemetery between the two hillocks are related to the fresh immigrants to the Sialk Hill, which bears a strong resemblance to the discoveries in the Giyan Hillock of Nahavand and Khordin of Savoj Bollaq. About Si-o-Se pol in Esfahan province The Bridge of Allahverdi Khan across the Zayandeh Rud is a continuation of Chahar Bagh, the principal street in Isfahan. Built at the beginning of the 17th century at the order of Shah Abbas, it is named after the general-a famous war- chief- who was put in charge of the work. It is also called the Bridge of 33 Arches, or Si-o-Se Pol. It is 45 feet wide and 175 yards long but- although it is impressive looking- it does not have the same archaeological or aesthetic interest as the two other bridges farther downstream. This bridge is located in the southern end of Chahar Bagh Avenue in Isfahan and was named after its founder. It is also known as Jolfa bridge. The bridge is made of bricks and stones. It is 295 meters long and 13.75 meters wide. It is said that the bridge originally comprised 40 arches however this number gradually reduced to 33. According to numerous historical references concerning the buildings constructed during Shah Abbas the Safavid in Isfahan, it is so conceived that the construction work of this bridge was completed concurrent with the construction of Chahar Bagh in 1596. This bridge is called Si-o-Se Pol (in Farsi meaning 33 bridges) because it embraces 33 arches. About Tagh-e Bostan in Kermanshah province Only nine kilometers from Kermanshah city, there is Tagh-e-Bostan village with signs left in it from the Sassanid period (266 - 651 AD). One such sign is the coronation of the Sassanid kings which has been demonstrated on the rocks. On the left side of the reception of Artaxerxes the second`s coronation, there exist two vaults, a smaller one and a bigger one which belong to the Sassanids. The first vault which is the small one has been carved in the mountain during the reign of Shapur and includes two relief sculptures and two inscriptions in the Sassanid Pahlavi. According to the inscriptions the two pictures belong to Shapur the second. The smaller vault is of greater significance since the two inspcriptions have remained intact from events and act as introductions to the demonstrations of the vault.The bigger vault which contains more demonstrations and delicate carvings, has attracted the attention of historians. The mouth of the bigger vault is 7.4 meters; it is 7.17 meters deep and 9 meters high. This bigger vault belongs to the era of Khosrow the second known as Parviz. About Toghrol Tower in Tehran province The most ancient monument the town, Gonabad-e Sorkh or the Red Tower of 1147-8 AD, situated in the south west of the town, was built by the order of Sad Badim, the then ruler of Azarbaijan, according to a northern front Kuffic inscription. In the lower part of the structure, there is a crypt where a tomb can be seen. The monument is square; with its exceptionally beautiful blue tile and kiln-fired brick works and fine plaster moldings in a geometrical design. The entrance portal is on of the northern side of the structure, where seven steps lead to the tomb chamber and the crypt. Godard remarks on its historical importance for the first known appearance of glazed ornament on the exterior of a monument in northern Iran. The Red Tower also provides the most exciting solution in Iran to the problem of the squinch. It is not, of course, proven (too many monuments have been destroyed for us to tell) but it seems likely that the squinch- a corner arch connecting two walls at right angels – may be a Sassanian invention. If so, the dome of London`s Cathedral of St Paul`s (and all other domes before or since) is a development of this principle. The concept of squinch grew from the aesthetic urge to set a circular dome on square walls, squinches supporting the dome in each of the four corners. Roman engineers never solved this problem at all. Another outstanding decorative feature of the monument is the combination of turquoise colored and blue enameled tiles on a brick background. About Tower of Silence in Yazd province Dakhmeh or Qol-ye Khamushan (towers of Silence): These are three impressive buildings remaining from several other structures on hilltops outside and in the immediate vicinity of Yazd (about 15 km to the south-west) where the bodies of the dead Zoroastrians would be brought to the foot of the tower so that a ritual ceremony could be held in presence of the relatives and friends of the deceased. The body was then carried by the priests into the tower where it was laid on the flat stones on the ground –thus avoiding that earth, water, and fire, the divine elements be contaminated, the soul of the defunct person having already been by Ahura Mazda. In a short time the body would be torn apart by the passing vultures and crows. The bones were then thrown into a circular pit in the center of the tower. At the foot of the towers stand the remains of the buildings, which once served for the funerary ceremonies. When the towers were still used for Zoroastrian burials, only the priests were allowed into them. Nowadays, however, some of them have been opened to the public. Beneath the hill there are several other disused Zoroastrian buildings including a defunct well, two small bad-girs, a kitchen and a lavatory. The custom of exposing corpses in a tower of silence largely disappeared throughout the Zoroastrian world around 50 years ago, at about the same time that the eternal flame was transferred to the newly constructed Atashkadeh in the center of Yazd. As a matter of fact, the towers were used until 1987, after which all Zoroastrian dead were buried in the cemetery at the foot of the towers. The site can be reached only by taxi or private car. Vakil Bath It is located near the Vakil Mosque. Due to change in the conditions of public baths, it has lost its original shape. The Vakil Bath is a monument of the Zand period. About Vakil Bazaar in Fars province This bazaar is located in Darb-e-Shahzadeh (Gate of Prince), near the Vakil Mosque. It has five entrances with two rows of shops (Hojreh), situated north-south and east-west direction and perpendicular to each other. It displays a beautiful architecture with wide corridors and high ceilings along with openings which allow air circulation and penetration of light. About Vank Church in Esfahan province There are three churches in Julfa, of which the most important is the Vank church or (The Church of the Saintly Sisters). This church has been built in the reign of Shah Abbas II, in 1074 (1663 A.D.). It is most interesting as regards its architectural merits and tileworks. The Julfa Museum is also housed in this edifice. The portal inscription of the Church is an Armenian and contains the name of Shah Abbas II and other informative matter giving the Armenian calendar years of 1104 and 1113 (1692 and 1701 A.D.) as those of the start and completion of the construction. Other historical churches of Julfa include the church of Hakop, the church of George and the church of Mary. All savior`s cathedral (known as the Vank). Its design is very much similar to that of the domed sanctuary chamber of a Persian mosque, with the addition of a raised chancel and altar within a semi, octagonal apse. By contrast to its modest exterior, the cathedral`s interior is lavishly decorated. This cathedral is very famous among other of Isfahan in so far as the architecture and artistic decorations are concerned. Vank church was built on another church constructed in 1605 A.D. There are many inscriptions inside and outside the church whose contents invite the readers to pray for the constructor of the church and his descendants. The inscriptions also suggest that the church has been built in 1692. during the reign of Shah Abbas the second. About Veresk Bridge in Mazandaran province This bridge was constructed during the reign of Reza Shah, on the Veresk River in the vicinity of Savad Kooh. During world war II, it was reputedly known as the Pol-e-Piroozi, or the bridge of victory. The bridge is at an elevation of 110 m. and its arch measures 66 m. in length. The same is one of the master pieces of engineering to do with the railway track in northern Iran.