Persepolis, literally meaning “city of Persians”, was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550–330 BCE). Persepolis is situated 60 km northeast of city of Shiraz in Fars province in Iran. The earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BCE. It exemplifies the Achaemenid Empire of architecture. UNESCO declared the ruins of Persepolis a World Heritage site in 1979.
The Gate of all nations , referring to subjects of the empire, consisted of a grand hall that was a square of approximately 25 metres (82 ft) in length, with four columns and its entrance on the Western Wall. There were two more doors, one to the south which opened to the Apadana yard and the other opened onto a long road to the east. Pivoting devices found on the inner corners of all the doors indicate that they were two-leafed doors, probably made of wood and covered with sheets of ornate metal.
A pair of Lamassus, bulls with the heads of bearded men, stand by the western threshold. Another pair, with wings and a Persian head (Gopät-Shäh), stands by the eastern entrance, to reflect the Empire’s power.
Xerxes’s name was written in three languages and carved on the entrances, informing everyone that he ordered it to be built.
Archaeological evidence shows that the earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BC. Andre Gordard, the French archaeologist who excavated Persepolis in the early 1930s, believed that it was Cyrus the great (Kūrosh) who chose the site of Persepolis, but that it was Darius I (Daryush) who built the terrace and the great palaces.
Darius ordered the construction of the Apadana Palace and the Council Hall (the Tripylon or three-gated hall), the main imperial Treasury and its surroundings. These were completed during the reign of his son, King Xerxes the great (New-Persian Khashayar, more correctly, khašāyāršā < OPers. xšāya-āršān, ‘the greatest/king of the gallant youth/young men’). Further construction of the buildings on the terrace continued until the downfall of the Achaemenid dunasty.
A Persian carpet is a heavy textile, made for a wide variety of utilitarian and symbolic purpose, produced in Iran and surrounding areas which once belonged to the Persian Empire, for home use, local sale, and export. Carpet weaving is an essential part of Persian culture and art. Within the group of Islamic carpets produced by the countries of the so-called “rug belt”, the Persian carpet stands out by the variety and elaborateness of its manifold designs.
Persian carpets and rugs of various types were woven in parallel by nomadic tribes, in village and town workshops, and by royal court manufactories alike. As such, they represent different, simultaneous lines of tradition, and reflect the history of Iran and its various peoples. The carpets woven in the Safavid court manufactories of Isfahan during the sixteenth century are famous for their elaborate colours and artistical design, and are treasured in museums and private collections all over the world today. Their patterns and designs have set an artistic tradition for court manufactories which was kept alive during the entire duration of the Persian Empire up to the last royal dynasty of Iran.
Carpets woven in towns and regional centers like Tabriz, Kerman, Mashhad, Kashan, Isfahan, Nain and Qom are characterized by their specific weaving techniques and use of high-quality materials, colours and patterns. Town manufactories like those of Tabriz have played an important historical role in reviving the tradition of carpet weaving after periods of decline. Rugs woven by the villages and various tribes of Iran are distinguished by their fine wool, bright and elaborate colours, and specific, traditional patterns. Nomadic and small village weavers often produce rugs with bolder and sometimes more coarse designs, which are considered as the most authentic and traditional rugs of Persia, as opposed to the artistic, pre-planned designs of the larger workplaces. Gabbeh rugs are the best-known type of carpet from this line of tradition.
The art and craft of carpet weaving has gone through periods of decline during times of political unrest, or under the influence of commercial demands. It particularly suffered from the introduction of synthetic dyes during the second half of the nineteenth century. Carpet weaving still plays a major part in the economy of modern Iran. Modern production is characterized by the revival of traditional dyeing with natural dyes, the reintroduction of traditional tribal patterns, but also by the invention of modern and innovative designs, woven in the centuries-old technique. Hand-woven Persian carpets and rugs were regarded as objects of high artistic and utilitarian value and prestige from the first time they were mentioned by ancient Greek writers, until today.
Although the term “Persian carpet” most often refers to pile-woven textiles, flat-woven carpets and rugs like Kilim, Soumak, and embroidered tissues like Suzani are part of the rich and manifold tradition of Persian carpet weaving.
In 2010, the “traditional skills of carpet weaving” in FARS and Kashan were inscribed to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.
Choga Zanbil means ‘basket mound. It was built about 1250 BC by the king Untash-Napirisha, mainly to honor the great god Inshushinak. Its original name was Dur Untash, which means ‘town of Untash’, but it is unlikely that many people, besides priests and servants, ever lived there. The complex is protected by three concentric walls which define the main areas of the ‘town’. The inner area is wholly taken up with a great ziggurat dedicated to the main god, which was built over an earlier square temple with storage rooms also built by Untash-Napirisha The middle area holds eleven temples for lesser gods. It is believed that twenty-two temples were originally planned, but the king died before they could be finished, and his successors discontinued the building work. In the outer area are royal palaces, a funerary palace containing five subterranean royal tombs.
Although construction in the city abruptly ended after Untash-Napirisha’s death, the site was not abandoned, but continued to be occupied until it was destroyed by the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal in 640 BC. Some scholars speculate, based on the large number of temples and sanctuaries at Chogha Zanbil, that Untash-Napirisha attempted to create a new religious center (possibly intended to replace Susa) which would unite the gods of both highland and lowland Elam at one site.
The main building materials in Chogha Zanbil were mud bricks and occasionally baked bricks. The monuments were decorated with glazed baked bricks, gypsum and ornaments of faïence and glass. Ornamenting the most important buildings were thousands of baked bricks bearing inscriptions with Elamite cuneiform characters were all inscribed by hand. Glazed terracotta statues such as bulls and winged griffins guarded the entrances to the ziggurat. Near the temples of Kiririsha and Hishmitik-Ruhuratir, kilns were found that were probably used for the production of baked bricks and decorative materials. It is believed that the ziggurat was built in two stages. It took its multi-layered form in the second phase.
The ziggurat is considered to be the best preserved example in the world .In 1979, Chogha Zanbil became the first Iranian site to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Turkmen Plains, or the Torkaman Sahra, lie in Iran’s north eastern region, bordering Turkmenistan and the Caspian Sea. The seemingly interminable rolling green hills remain virtually untouched and tricky to access without your own car – but the views are simply spectacular. One focal point to head to is the Khaled Nabi cemetery, notable for its phallic tombstones. Also nearby is the famous 11th century tower structure Gonbad-e Qabus, memorialised in the west in Robert Byron’s travelogue The Road to Oxiana.
Iran has a variable climate. In the northwest, winters are cold with heavy snowfall and subfreezing temperatures during December and January. Spring and fall are relatively mild, while summers are dry and hot. In the south, winters are mild and the summers are very hot, having average daily temperatures in July exceeding 38 °C (100.4 °F). On the Khuzestan Plain, summer heat is accompanied by high humidity.
In general, Iran has an arid climate in which most of the relatively scant annual precipitation falls from October through April. In most of the country, yearly precipitation averages 250 millimetres (9.8 in) or less. The major exceptions are the higher mountain valleys of the Zagros and the Caspian coastal plain, where precipitation averages at least 500 millimetres (19.7 in) annually. In the western part of the Caspian, rainfall exceeds 1,000 millimetres (39.4 in) annually and is distributed relatively evenly throughout the year. This contrasts with some basins of the Central Plateau that receive ten centimeters or less of precipitation annually.
Yasuj is a city in and the capital of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 96,786, in 20,297 families.
Yasuj is an industrial city in the Zagros Mountains of southwestern Iran. The term “Yasuj” is also used to refer to the entire region.
Yasuj has both a sugar processing plant and a coal-burning powerplantthat generates electricity for the area.
The people of Yasuj speak Lurish, one of the western Iranian languages.
The area of Yasuj has been settled since as early as the Bronze Age. Findings include the Martyrs Hills (dating from 3rd millennium BC), the Khosravi Hill from the Achaemenian period, the ancient site of Gerd, the Pataveh bridge, and the Pay-e Chol cemetery. Yasuj is the place where Alexander III of Macedon and his Macedonian forces stormed the Persian Gates (“Darvazeh-ye Fars”), and fought themselves a way into the Persian heartland (331 BC).
The Yasuj Museum, which opened in 2002, displays coins, statues, pottery, and bronze vessels recovered from surrounding archaeological sites. Yasuj was called Tal-e Khosrow (Khosrow Hill) in the last century.
Qeshm is an Iranian island in the Strait of Hormuz, and separated from the mainland by the Clarence Strait/Khuran in the Persian Gulf (26°50′N 56°0′E).
Qeshm Island is located a few kilometers off the southern coast of Iran (Persian Gulf), opposite the port cities of Bandar Abbas and Bandar Khamir. The island, which hosts a 300-square-kilometre (116-square-mile) free zone jurisdiction, is 135 km long, and lies strategically in the Strait of Hormuz, just 60 kilo metres (37 miles) from the Omani port of Khasab, and about 180 kilo metres (112 miles) from the UAE Port Rashid. The island, at its widest point, located near the center of the island, spans 40 kilo metres (25 miles). Similarly, at it narrowest point, the island spans 9.4 kilo metres (5.8 miles). The island has a surface area of 1,491 square kilo metres (576 square miles) and is 2.5 times the size of Bahrain. Qeshm city, located at the easternmost point of the island, is 22 kilo metres (14 miles) from Bandar Abbas while the closest point of the island is but two kilo metres (1 mile) from the mainland.
The average temperature on the island is approximately 27 °C (81 °F). The warmest months are June through August, and the coldest from October to January. The average rainfall is 183.2 mm (7 3⁄16 in).
The island comprises 59 towns and villages and the population is approximately 100,000. The local population is involved in fishing, dhow construction, trade and services. An additional 30,000 are involved in administrative and industrial workforce and students.
Plans have also been made to build a bridge to connect Qeshm with the rest of Iran.
Historical records concerning the Qeshm island date far back into the pre-Islamic era. Names as Qeshm, Keshm, Kish and Tunb mark the lengthy stay of Ilamids in the area, several centuries BC. It is, apparently, the island called Alexandria or Aracia by Ptolemy (Book 6, Chap. IV), in the 2nd century CE and as Alexandria by Ammianus Marcellinus (xxiii.6.42) in the 4th century. On account of its strategic geopolitical situation, near the mouth of the Persian Gulf, it has been frequently attacked by invaders including Ilamids (Elamites), Umayyads, Abbasids as well as the Portuguese and the English. During Sassanian Empire administration the island was called Abarkawan. According to historical records, Qeshm Island has been famous as a trade and navigation center. Its economy flourished during the Dailamites and Buyid eras, as trade vessels sailed between Qeshm Island and China, India and Africa.
Explorer William Baffin was mortally wounded on Qeshm in 1622 during a battle against Portuguese forces who occupied the fort, known to them as “Forte de Queixome”.
Qeshm is also a supposed site of the Garden of Eden according to Cassells Bible.
Si-o-seh pol that means The bridge of thirty-three spans]is one of the eleven bridges of Isfahan, Iran and the longest bridge on Zayandeh River with the total length of 297.76 metres (976.9 ft). It is highly ranked as being one of the most famous examples of Safavid bridge design.
It was constructed by the finance and the inspection of Allahverdi Khan Undiladze chancellor of Shah Abbas I, an ethnic Georgian, it consists of two rows of 33 arches from either sides, left and right. There is a larger base plank at the start of the bridge where the Zayandeh River flows under it, supporting a tea house which nowadays is abandoned due to the shortage of water and the river drought.
This is probably the most famous of Isfahan’s bridges. It is made up of a series of 33 arches and was commissioned in 1602 by Shah Abbas I from one of his Generals. The name – Si-o-Seh Pol is derived from the Farsi for 33 (Si-o-Seh). The bridge is built on a series of pontoons of great width and there is a famoustea-house amongst them which is accessible from the southern bank.
The bridge was originally known as the Bridge of Allahverdi Khan who was the general responsible for its construction. The lower level of 33 arches is surmounted by a second layer, with one arch above each of the pontoons and two arches above the lower single arch, giving it its name and rhythmic appearance. The road along the top is sandwiched between high walls which give some shelter from the wind as well as protection for travellers who can walk along the footpaths on either side to avoid the crush of the traffic. Originally there were frescoes on the walls which Sir William Ousely, who saw them in 1823, felt to be dangerous for the morals of passers by!
The bridge itself is 295m long and 13.75m wide. The thirty four piers on which it is constructed are 3.49m thick and the arches are 5.57m wide. The southern side of the bridge, where the waters of the Zayandeh run more swiftly has supplementary arches, and it is this that makles them suitable as a tea house. The bridge acted as a springboard for the development of the Khajou Bridge some 50 years later.
Si-o-se Pol Bridge is a stone double-deck arch bridge in Isfahan, Iran. It is also called Siose Bridge (which in Persian means “33 Bridge” or “Bridge of 33 Arches”) or Allah-Verdi Khan Bridge. Si-o-se Pol Bridge is built by the chancellor Allahverdi Khan Undiladze on commission from from Shah Abbas whose chancelor he was.
Construction of the bridge began in 1599 and ended 1602. Bridge is long 298 meters and wide 13.75 meters. It has 33 spans from which it gets its name with the longest span of 5.6 meters, crosses Zayandeh River and is located in the southern end of Chahar Bagh Avenue.
Bridge has a large plane at the beginning of the bridge where Zayandeh River flows faster. There it has more arches making with that a suitable place for a tea house that can be accessed from the southern bank. There are two levels of arches. Lower level has 33 arches while upper has two arches above lower lever arch and one arch above pier. Road that goes on the upper level is bounded by two high walls that protect travelers from winds and pedestrians that can walk there, from falling.
Si-o-se Pol Bridge is considered largest Iranian construction on water.
Khajou bridge, one of the most beautiful bridges of the world. Khaju is a name of small district in the neighborhood of bridge. It is about 132 meters long and 12 meters wide. The Khaju Bridgeis made of two decks (floors). This bridge was built to work for different purposes. As a bridge connected the old Isfahan to villages located on the southern side and also connected Isfahan to Shiraz road. It was built as a wonderful recreational place. Steps in front of bridge and arches in the first deck have been used to relax and listen to the sound of water. It was used as a dam too. Water canals of bridge were closed during spring and summer seasons. Water was reserved on the western side of bridge, then diverted to Maddies and distributed to different districts of city, used for gardening, and agricultural purposes. Houses which were built among Madies, after few meters of digging wells, citizens could use filtered and clear drinking water. A beautiful garden city with houses full of small gardens and great numbers of fruit trees. The Khaju Bridge was built in the 15thcentury, during Tamerlane’s successors. In 1650 the bridge was reformed and constructed during the time of Shah Abbas the second. It has been repaired specially in 1837.
The lower deck has 21 sluices, about three meters wide. At the central part of the upper deck, there is a beautiful pavilion fantastically decorated, used by the rulers and royal family.
For construction of foundation of pavilion central part of the bridge is wider than the two sides. This means that preserved the bridge as a dam, stronger and more solid.
On the two sides of passages of upper deck there are alcoves .Sitting in alcoves one can sees wonderful view of beauty of surrounding greenery and water.
Large alcoves of lower deck located between water canals show other unique beauties. The Khaju Bridge is known all over Iran, visited by millions of visitors every year. Ornamentation of two sides, facing to river is a mixture of brick and tile mosaic work.
The Khaju Bridge is located in the historic city of Isfahan, Iran, spanning across the Zayandeh River. Built on the foundations of an ancient bridge in 1667 it is an archetypical model of a Roman Arch bridge. It has a semicircular structure with abutments on each end that bear the weight and pressure of the arches. The arches shift the weight from the bridge deck to the support structure with the compression forces bring pushed outward along the curve of the arch toward the abutments. The two-storey Khaju Bridge with a length of approximately 132 meters and a width of 14 meters is constructed entirely from stone and brick.
The pedestrianised lower level of the bridge comprises vaulted spaces within the arches, which not only provide public circulation routes but also microclimatic conditions. The vaults and arches work in accordance with evaporative cooling and turbulent air flows to produce a cool climatic condition, producing a more comfortable internal environment within the pedestrian passageway. The upper storey has a 7.5 meter wide road running through its centre with arched spaces and pedestrian passageways either side. In total the bridge has 23 arches that intersect with 21 larger, and 26 smaller inlet and outlet channels.
Khaju not only forms a crossing point across the Zayandeh River, but it also performs as a social focal point, a dam and sluice gates. On the eastern side of the bridge there is a high sill, which collects the water when the sluice gates are closed. This provides a basin from which irrigation water for the surrounding area is drawn off in a series of channels via sluice gates. As a mechanism to control large flood-flows and diffuse hydraulic energy 18 low-flow deep channels each equipped with sluice gates operate along the bridge weir. The channels have stepped cascades to enhance the effect of the flood control, which are situated on the western side of the bridge. The stepped cascades also form social meeting points where people often gathered to do their laundry or meet with one-another, enjoying the coolness of the flowing water.
An octagonal pavilion is set in the centre of the bridge that now houses an art gallery and teahouses. In the 17th century the Shah Abbas and his courtiers would often sit and admire the views from within the pavilion as the bridge provided a haven from the heat of the desert. Original paintings and beautiful tile work are still visible on the bridge today, reflecting its legacy of opulence and importance.
Today, even though there are drought problems, the Khaju Bridge has withstood the tests of time. Structurally sound, the bridge is still in working order even though it is around 350 years old. The bridge has continued to function as a point for recreation, social exchange and culture, while providing transportation and agricultural infrastructure as well as a flood control interface. The longevity and consistent structural stability of the Khaju Bridge illustrates the effectiveness and sophistication of the design and engineering which was involved with its construction. The combination of environmental and climatic conditioning alongside auxiliary social functions epitomizes the overall success of the bridge as an urban heterogeneous piece of architecture and infrastructure.