Kashan, a small city located in Isfahan province, mostly known for It’s rose-water, silk and carpet. As it is on the main highway from Tehran to Isfahan and has got interesting sights to see, people usually stop here for a few hours if not for a night to learn more about it.
Evidence show Kashan was one of the first places where Aryans chose as residence, and since 7500 years ago it has been a place of residence for various tribes.
The city was destroyed after Mongols attack in 1256 and rebuilt during the Safavid dynasty and became an important business center. The city was also the favor of the kings and It is believed that for this reason the city was named “Key Ashian” (means: The residence of kings) and it changed to Kashan during time.
There is also another belief that the word Kashan comes from “Kasian” because it was Kassites ‘s residence for many years and maybe they have given their name to the city.
Kashan is famous for it’s rose-water festival and every year many people gather to enjoy the festival. The festival is held in Qamsar, Niasar and Barzok from 16 – 26 of May.
The ceremony starts at dawn when people go to cut Damask rose from gardens, after that they go back to workshops to start the process of distillation of flowers.
In the past, people sang and danced with delhi’s voice all the way long from gardens to the workshops but nowadays just some small villages respect this 140 year tradition as it was held.
Another well-known ceremony in Kashan is called “Qali Shuyan“. It is a religious ceremony, held in the memory of Ali ibn Muhammad Baqer (Sultan Ali) on the third week of September.
The ceremony takes place in Mashhad Ardehal a city 42 kilometers west out of Kashan.
The ceremony has a lot in common with a ceremony in Zoroastrianism and many people believe that it has changed after Islam like many other festivals and formalities.
Iranian writer and director, Bahram Beyzai says:” Due to the fact that the ceremony was rooted in the Mehr ritual, this ceremony probably is related to Siavash’s story.”
People gather in Imamzadeh Sultanali’s yard and the younger one’s will carry a carpet as the symbol of Sultan Ali’s dead body and take it all the way to a river, others will hold a stick and move in in the air, like they are having a battle with Sultan Ali’s enemies and murderers.
As they arrive to the river, they dip the carpet in the water and go all the way back to the mosque, They’re arrival to the mosque is a ceremony itself, with men running in circles and rant and women mourning and crying.
Kashan is mostly known for it’s ancient houses and Fin garden. Boroujerdi House, Ameri House and Tabatabaei house are well-known houses that everyone have heard of them at least once.
Well this small city is much more than the 5 names we all have heard about, beautiful mosques and at least 19 intact ancient houses, nooshabad underground city, sialk hills and many other attractions that make us think about the history and rich culture of Kashan.
We are going to talk about some of them here.
Fin garden, mostly known for it’s bath, the place where Naser al-Din Shah Qajar killed his chancellor Amirkabir.
Fin garden and some buildings in it wee built in the Safavid era but some buildings like Karimkhani nook, royal bath, king’s room and national museum were added after the Safavid dynasty.
In the initial design of fin garden, it was important to maintain the symmetry but during time and after adding some other buildings it was disturbed .
The most important trees are cypress and plane – tree. Water is the main element in the garden’s design and we can see it in many different ways, such as stagnant (Safavid pond), running (stream), gushy (spouts) and boiling (pond holes). Ghias al-Din Jamshid Kashani was the designer of the water system in this garden.
You can see the Safavid Koshk and Qajar koshk, with it’s beautiful paintings on the wall and ceiling in the center of the garden, most of the buildings where built during Fath Ali Sah Qajar’s monarchy.
Borujerdi (Natanzi) house was built at the second half of 13th century by Ustad Ali Maryam Kashani. The plaster – moulding and paintings were all done by Sani ol Molk.
The house with it’s beautiful crescent shaped windshields on the roof of the hall and pergolas on it shows one of the most beautiful Iranian architecture effects.
Ameri house originally built as a family residence during Zand dynasty and developed furing Qajar dynasty. The Āmeri House was damaged through earthquakes in the 18th century, and was then rebuilt in the 19th century. It contains dozens of rooms, two bathhouses, and seven courtyards with gardens and fountains. The main structure is made of brick and the inner spaces are decorated with gypsum and mirror works by Amir Noushfar. Nowadyas Ameri house is repaired by permission of the cultural heritage department of Kashan and used as a traditional-style hotel.
It was built during Qajar dynasty for a wealthy glass merchant called Ibrahim Kashi.
There is no evidence about who was the architect of this building and the only thing we know about this beautiful place is that the process took 20 years.
Exhibits of authentic Iranian-Islamic architecture showcased their exquisite designs and imaginative casting patterns and decorations, and the beauty is so remarkable that it is considered by the experts to be the nominee for the prestigious Iranian-Islamic residential building have taken.
The house is decorated with plaster reliefs, mirror work and stained glass. One of the champers has a ceiling designed with mirror pieces in order to give the impression of starry sky under the nocturnal glitter a candlelight.
Agha Bozorg historical mosque, also used as a school built in 13th century by Muhammad Taghi Khanban and his son.
The mosque is consist of portal, shabistan, porch, central yard and maqsureh. There is no intemperance in using the embellishments.
Agha Bozorg mosque is built in style of Chaarbagh schools of Isfahan with 3 shabistans in 5 floors and 2 yards. It is a combination of mosque and school built with two different patterns. The four principles of Islamic architecture (Mogharnas, Yazdi bandi, Gereh sazi and Rasmi bandi) are used in the mosque and it is relatively symmetrical.
The dome is a little taller than usual, to prevent it from failing it is built duplex with a circle parietal. The vault is built on eight enormous stands and that is the cause of flowing cool air in the space under the dome in warm seasons like summer.
The significant part of the mosque is the pit garden in the middle of the central yard. Pit garden is used in dry regions like Kashan, Yazd, etc. It increases the building’s earthquake resistance and provides access to the aqueduct.
The embellishments are: paintings, plaster – moulding, carving and wooden decorations.
The main entrance of Agha Bozorg mosque is very famous for it’s exquisite doors, decorated with girih, carvings and stud.
There are 6666 studs on the door which is equal with the number of signs in Qur’an and there is two bits of Saadi, Iranian poet, engraved on the handles.
Using studs in the door had a stronger purpose than embellishments and that was increasing the door’s resistance during wars and preventing it to be destroyed by termites.
Sialk, located on the way of “Kashan – Fin”, consist of two northern (older) and southern hills.
Roman Ghirshman was the discoverer of the hills and then in about a decade ago Dr. Sadegh Malek Shahmirzadi did some diggings, the result was a structure that is guessed as a ziggurat.
The most important discoveries of Sialk are epigraphs with Proto Elamite writings on and some stamps that the relationship between Sialk and Susa can be found out from the patterns on them.
Sialk is mostly known for it’s patterned potteries, made with a pottery wheel. Pots are designed with stylized plant/animal/human patterns in black color. Among all the pots discovered from this hill, the ones called “rosary tube” are well-known. Rosary tube pots belong to the flourishing period of Sialk civilization, it’s guessed they were used in funerals and they were buried with the body.
Nooshabad, located in Aran & Bidgol village, 9 kilometers out of Kashan.
It’s the biggest underground city in the world, built as a parapet in the Sassanid dynasty in 3 floors. The passageway of the city is very narrow and in some parts you have to bend or even crawl.
The city was dug by human, It’s all nested corridors expanded vertical and horizontal.