One of the most beautiful cities to see in Iran is Kashan, in the province of Isfahan, with its beautiful Persian gardens and architectural and artistic gems (its name comes from kashi, meaning "tile").
Kashan is an oasis on the edge of the Iranian desert, founded probably eight thousand years ago as some archaeological findings in the nearby hills of Tepe Siyalk seem to testify.
An earthquake in the second half of the 18th century destroyed the Safavid buildings, but Kashan was able to stand up again, becoming an important tourist destination especially thanks to its historical houses.
Are you planning to include Kashan in your Iran travel itinerary? Good choice: here are some of the major attractions.
Kashan was once a holiday destination for the Safavid rulers. Fin Gardens were in fact a sort of holiday resort for the royals: included among the 9 Iranian gardens officialy recognized by Unesco, the Bagh-e Fin were designed by Shah Abbas I to represent paradise. The Safavid palaces were replaced by buildings from the Qajar era, but the distribution of trees and fountains is very similar to what the garden must have been like once. These gardens were also the place where minister Amir Qabir was murdered during the reign of the Qajar dynasty.
Kashan Bazaar is ancient bazaar in the heart of the city, built in the Seljukian era and then renovated in the Safavid period. It includes an important caravanserai. The bazaar is still used today and hosts mosques, baths, water tanks and more caravanserais from different ages.
Important attractions in Kashan are its historical houses, once belonging to influential merchants of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There is for example Borujerdi House, built in 1857 for the wife of a rich carpet trader. The house features a rectangular courtyard with three wind towers, three entrances in the traditional Persian style, an outdoor garden with pool and fountain, a meeting hall and elaborate decorations on all walls.
Abbasi House was built in the late eighteenth century for a rich glass merchant and is made up of six structures on different levels. The house is enriched by six courtyards becoming larger and larger from one level to another, until reaching a courtyard on the summit. The interiors are magnificent: the ceiling in a room is decorated with mirror fragments to resemble a starry sky. Today Abbasi House is a museum.
Nearby is also Tabatabaei House dating back to 1880 and once belonging to a rich carpet trader and his family. The interiors are decorated with precious basreliefs, stuccoes, glass windows and mirrors. The house has four courtyards and the largest features a pool with fountain.
Agha Bozorg Mosque is a spectacular mosque in Kashan, dating back to the eighteenth century, with a religious school annexed, right in the center of the city. Its name comes from Agha Bozorgh and it was built for his prayer and preaching sessions. The building has four storeys and a large interior courtyard with a pool, two minarets and some wind towers.
Sultan Amir Ahmad Baths, or Qasemi Baths, are traditional public baths dating back to the sixteenth century, damaged in 1778 by an earthquake and then renovated in the Qajar era. Their name comes from Sultan Amir Ahmad, who is buried not far from here. The baths are divided into two sections: the medication hall or Sarbineh and the hot bath hall or Garmkhaneh. The interiors are richly decorated with golden or blue tiles and paintings.
Kashan makes you want to pack up and leave, doesn't it? Create your own tailormade tour in Iran with the help of our local travel experts!