Kashan, Isfahan Province, Iran (Persia)

Kashan is a historic city in the Isfahan Province with hot and desert like weather and scarce plant life. People of Kashan speak Farsi with Kashani dialect, and follow the Shiite sect of Islam. The main occupation is farming, making plant extracts like Rosewater, and handicrafts like carpet, kilim, fabrics, iron and copper dishes, and silk.

Kashan is a representation of Iran’s history and architecture that dates back to the pre-historic times. There are several theories to where the name came from. Some believe it used to be Kei Ashian meaning the “place of rulers”, others mention that Kashan is a name used to refer to houses made with wood and straw, and there are those who refer to the Kasi tribe that lived here and consider Kashan a changed form of Kasi.

The Sialk mound in Kashan proves that the history of dwelling in this area dates back to at least 5 thousand years ago. There are remnants of objects from Elamite and tablets in Proto-Elamite as the sign of this history. There are also Achaemenid and Medes traces that shows the residence of Sialk were defeated by the Aryan immigrants.

In Islamic Era, Kashan is described as a small city, but it slowly develops and since it is located in the cross section of trade roads, it became more and more important. In the Mongol attack, like the rest of the country, Kashan is severely ruined. The reconstructions soon follow and the city is once again thriving. Kashan becomes a center of art, culture and trade in Safavid and Qajar Era, but in the late Qajar and early Pahlavi Reign, the influence of European Market on the local trade makes the city to slowly lose its place. The Kashan Bazaar that once was a crowded place became deserted.

The traditional architecture of the city was kept all through the Safavid time. Although in Qajar time the Western Culture began entering the country, it wasn’t until Pahlavi that it reached its peak. It is in this time that modern architecture replaces the traditional one.

With all the changes, the city still kept its most beautiful construct in each category; therefore, there are still magnificent mosque, bathhouse, school, traditional house and garden remaining in the city. The Mir Emad and Jameh Mosque, Sultani and Aqa Bozorg School, Tabatabaei and Boroujerdy’s house, Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse, Amin ol Doleh Caravanseran and Fin Garden are among these constructs.

Fin garden is one of the highlight of the city of Kashan and one of the top five most visited sites of the country. Together with eight other gardens, it was registered in the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 2011.