Historic Cities of Iran


Due to a long history of settlement in Iran's plateau (-- from c. 5000 B.C. or from about 7000 years ago), there are many historic cities, sites and monuments in Iran. Before starting the foundation of Persepolis Palace complex in c. 520 B.C., the famous historic cities and their hosting culture -- with more than a 1000 years history of settlement, were as follows: 1) Sardis ( Lydians); 2) Babylon ( Babylonia); 3) Ninevaeh ( Assyrians); 4) Ecbatana ( Medes); and 5) Susa ( Sumerians).

By 500 B.C., Susa, Ecbatana, Babylon, and Persepolis were four major capitals of the Persian Empire each being governed by a satrap ( or a king's represent). In 331-330 B.C., when Alexander conquered the Persian Empire, many new cities were founded (--more than seventy new cities according to Wallbank and Schrier, Living World History, p. 82). By the A. D. 1st century, the number of cities in Iran's plateau may well be estimated to had been doubled or tripled from the above figure (70 new cities). Historic cities of Iran, therefore, have a long history of foundation from many centuries before the birth of Jesus.

For the collections of main features of the traditional architecture in Iran, however, six historic cities are selected. The selected historic cities and their main architectural contributions are as follows:

1) Kermaan City:

- Historic Structure consisting of several maj-moo'ahs ( complexes);
- The Grand Jam'a Mosque of Kermaan City;
- Several clay castles ( -- founded before the A.D. 7th century);
- Clay Ice Reservoirs ( yakhdaans );
- Fire Temple ( now the Jabalieh Dome);
- Traditional Baazaars;
- Public Baths (adapted to museums and/or restaurants);
- Baadgeirs ( wind-catching towers/ air-suction turrets ).

2) Shiraaz and Persepolis;

- Persepolis Palace Complex;
- Naq-sheh Roustam;
- The Brick Arg-e (Castle of) Karim Khan;
- Traditional tileworks;
- Vakil's Maj-moo'ah (complex);
- Koochehes (narrow alleyways);
- Tradittional Baazaar;
- Fine Handicrafts.

3) Kaashaan:

- Well-built, traditional Houses in Iran;
- Wind-catching towers ( baadgeirs / air-suction turrets );
- Clay buttresses and koochehes ( narrow alleyways);
- Clay, wall towers of the ancient city;
- Clay ice-reservoirs (yakhdaans ).

4) Naaein:

- The Jam'a Mosque of Naaein ( c. A.D. 11th century);
- The clay Naarin Castle of Naaein ( c. A.D. 3rd to 7th century);
- The clay, stone Castle of Mohammadieh;
- The clay Roustam Castle;
- The clay castles in Imam's Farm village;
- Traditional Textile workshop ( 'abaa baaffee ).

5) Isfahaan City;

- Clay, pigeon towers;
- Best samples of the traditional architecture ( Isfahaan School );
- Traditional Houses;
- Koochehes ( narrow alleyways);
- Traditional structure;
- Maj-moo'ah Naq-sheh Jihaan (--largest in Iran and in the Middle East);
- The 'Atiq Jam'a Mosque ( A. D. 10th or 11th century);
- 'Aali Qapoo Palace ( A.D. 17th century);
- Chehel sutoon Palace (c. A.D. 18th Century);
- Historic Bridges (A.D. 1st to the A.D. 18th centuries);
- Caravansaries;
- Castles;
- Capital of Iran for 200 years ( A.D. 17th and 18th centuries).

6) Yazd City:

- Best samples of the Clay Architecture ( Yazd School) in Iran and in the world;
- Well built traditional houses (--some with more than 20 rooms);
- Many Baadgeirs ( Wind-catchers/ air suction turrets);
- Many maj-moo'ahs (complexs): more than 20 are introduced by the Cultural Heritage Org.
- Many Clay Castles ( from c. A.D. 3rd up top the A.D. 19th centuries);
- The traditional Baazaar in Khan's maj-moo'ah;
- The Khan Public Bath ( -- now adapted to a traditional tea-house).
- Many koochehes ( narrow alleyways) and clay buttresses.