Kashan – Land of the Rose

The oasis of Kashan, situated on the border between the Zagros Mountains and the Dasht-e Kavir desert, was once known as one of the most prosperous oases of ancient Persia and is still an almost obligatory stop for lovers of the original charm of the Silk Road. Located 250 km south of Tehran, Kashan is now nothing more than a small, sleepy town on the edge of the great Dasht-e Kavir desert, the last route of march before the uninhabited expanses of the desert.

The town awakens every year for the great Rose Festival, known in Persian as “golab ghiri”. However, the city’s importance lies not only in the rose, but also in the many sights, traditional houses, hammams, mosques and the fascinating bazaar that make Kashan a must-see for any traveller to Iran.

Besides its precious carpets, it is home to the characteristic glazed tiles called Kashi, after which the city is named. The large bazaar, which displays carpets, ceramic works, various embroideries and silk fabrics, is fragrant with the scent of rose water, which is produced in large quantities in the city thanks to its magnificent rose gardens.

In the cities, there are many houses with the characteristic wind towers, Bad Ghir, a traditional system of ventilation in the hot desert areas.

ATTRACTION

The historic houses of Kashan,

the traditional houses of Kashan date back to the 17th century and are based on Persian architecture, with elaborate stucco decorations, colored glass, mirrors and perfect symmetries. These palaces, conveniently hidden from prying eyes, housed rich families of entrepreneurs and traders, and are in excellent condition. The most visited historical houses in Kashan are Casa Abbasi, Casa Tabatabaei and Casa Borujerdi.

The baths of Sultan Amir Ahmad,

finding water in the desert and having it hot even during the winter was not an easy task, the inhabitants of Kashan could therefore wash themselves mainly in public bathrooms with the walls finely decorated with stucco bas-reliefs and colored ceramic tiles.

The historic mosque of Agha Bozorg,

it is a large mosque with a particularly impressive appearance during the evening hours due to the particular lighting. It also houses a theology school, while a short distance away, the shrine of Khajeh Taj ad-Din displays a finely decorated dome.

The historic center of Kashan,

a dense network of alleys between clay houses and ancient doors still equipped with old separate knockers for men and women. You can take the opportunity to try some restaurants where traditional Iranian dishes are served, and maybe you can sleep in some historic house renovated and converted into a hotel.

Abbasi House,

a large traditional residence built towards the end of the 18th century and belonging to a wealthy glass merchant. The entire property is made up of 6 multi-storey buildings that overlook as many courtyards where there are pools and small gardens.

The wind towers,

The traditional home air conditioning system works through wind capture towers (or wind towers), tall structures capable of expelling hot air during the day and introducing cold air during the night, by simple pressure difference. The air moves inside pipes and passes through large vents installed at strategic points, sometimes near tanks full of water, to amplify the cooling effect.

Borujerdi House,

The tour in Kashan continues by visiting Casa Borujerdi, another traditional house built in the mid-17th century by the architect Ustad Ali Maryam and owned by a wealthy carpet merchant. The building complex overlooks a beautiful courtyard with a large swimming pool that reflects the high wind-catching tower used for the air conditioning system.

 

Garden Fin

Another very interesting tourist attraction in Kashan is the Persian garden of Bagh-e Fin, completed towards the end of the 16th century and considered to be the oldest garden in Iran. The Bagh-e Fin garden has a network of canals where water flows continuously, two historic buildings and many ultra-centuries-old cypress trees.

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Sandra Haarmann

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