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Mansions of the old days

The city consisted of quarters; based on social, tribal, and racial classifications. As mentioned before, originally there were two main quarters, the Jewish and the Zoroastrian, but later on, the number of the quarters reached 157 due to the city's expansion and development. The quarters were divided by alleys with high-rise labyrinthine walls called Ashtikonan and mud and straw-covered passages called Sabat which enclosed the limits of the houses. Houses usually enjoyed a porch-like portal with stucco and brickwork decorations and two brick platforms flanking the entrance.
The eye-catching plain and unadorned wooden doors had two metal door-knockers that made different sounds. One was for males and the other for females, the inhabitants of the house would thereby know whether the newcomer was a man or a woman, an intimate or a passer-by, acquainted or alien. Some people used to leave their house doors open as a symbol of their hospitality. Open doors also were an indication of the security and safety level of the quarter. At the entrance of the house, there was a Hashti and then a corridor to the courtyard usually curved in order to prevent the courtyard from being visible to those outside or even already in the Hashti.

Isfahan Old Houses

All houses enjoyed a courtyard and flowerbeds: four main residential sections were located in four geographical directions so that they could be used in all seasons of the year. A small garden was either in the middle or in the northern part of the central pond. The garden consisted of an orchard, various flower species, and decorative trees. Almost all houses were about one meter lower than the vestibule or the alley level and usually included basements as the sitting room or for storage. The builder would use the soil of that very property as the main material to make mud bricks used in building the house. Using the land's soil would cleverly provide a suitable depth to build the basement, a crypt, or for drainage.

The most beautiful Isfahan Houses

Kianpour House/Hotel
Kianpour House/Hotel

Iranian houses usually consisted of two main spaces. The Andaruni was for the family and household, and the Biruni for the guests and visitors. The Biruni space was made up of different parts, including a Shahneshin. This alcove was the most beautiful and artistic part, being embellished with frescoes, mirror work, and stucco work in a very eye-catching style. It would be designed with a high rise ceiling up to 4 or 7 m tall, and included sash windows adorned with stained glass, facing onto the courtyard. There are 5- or 8-door rooms as well as some labyrinthine chambers with their specific decoration in other parts of the house. Rooms and spaces occupy most of the area but little is taken up by stairways. This is the reason we find stairs with very steep, space-saving, 30 or 40 cm high steps in these buildings.
The summer part of the house is located in the southern part of the courtyard enjoying tall ceilings, void spaces, and sometimes including Badgirs such as what is seen at the Mojtabedzadeh Mansion. The winter part is located in the northern part of the courtyard where rooms have small doors and windows The central room of the household's winter quarters was considered a place for family gatherings sitting around the Korsi. Other winter rooms were equipped with fireplaces on the wall. The ceiling was made of adobe and wood and the roof was covered with mud and straw. Adobe or brick walls were covered with plaster or mud and straw. In some winter rooms, double-layer doors or windows increased thermal insulation. The space between the two layers was 40 to 60 cm. There are some houses left in Esfahan dating back to different eras from 17th century Safavid to 20th century Pahlavi. Most of the Safavid houses are located in Jolfa Quarter such as the Sukias and the Davidos Mansions which are recognized as valuable art treasures and now house the Art Faculty.
The following houses belong to the Qajarid period; Haghighi House at Pardis Alley - Chahar Bagh-e Paein Avenue, Sheikh ol-Eslam House at Sheikh ol-Eslam Alley - Takhti Crossroad, Amin House at Abd ol-Razzagh Street, Angurestan-e Malek at Malek Street, Vasigh-e Ansari House at Golbahar Alley - Hatef Street, Haj Mossaver olMolki at Mirdamad Street, Ezhiyeiha House at Harun ol-Velayat Alley - Imam Ali Square, Mojtahedzadeh House at Nezam ol-Molk Alley - Ahmad Abad Street. Their unique features distinguish them from other buildings. While visiting them one will find exquisite decorative arts such as knot-work, brick-work, pendentives, stucco, fresco, mirror work, inlaid wood, and wood carving.

Top 10 Iran traditional old Hotel/houses

Mola Bashi House
Mola Bashi House

Historical Houses of Esfahan A Quick Survey of the Existing Elements

In Esfahan and nearly all over Iran, house building based on some fundamentals which were in accordance with all functional and cultural aspects typified by using the smallest unit of residential community space in the Islamic cities. The old cities in this region were usually supported by a rampart to secure safety and formed by a number of quarters connected to each other by the labyrinthine narrow ways. The public areas had some elements like ditches of running water called; Madi, having access to a local mosque. A dignitary, sometimes instead of owning one house, preferred to have the property of a whole lane be titled by his name. The surrounding walls of the private houses were designed as high as possible to give enough privacy and security for the family Entering the more private areas of a house was not possible directly: nevertheless, it is best exemplified by a vestibule allowed passing through the portal.
At the portals of the houses, sometimes there was a high balcony where its majesty was, indeed, a reflection of the wealth or the influence of its lord In all the historical houses, there were some basic elements in common like the courtyard, garden, and pool. The plan of the houses mostly followed a four porch style based on the situating of the structures all-around a central yard in different geographical directions. The garden was reminiscent of a paradise a suitable, fertile area for the planting of trees and raising vegetables for sufficiency. Old houses were usually built at an elevation of about one deeper than the public alley because of the considerable shifting of the making its mud bricks at the site, but the vestibules always had the same alley. They were not connected directly to the courtyard, but the sinuous, interconnected corridor. There was also a pool in the Sun ways had the same level as the courtyard, but there was a pool in the yard that gave
direct access to the water and played a positive moderate temperature because of the remarkable thermal capacity of the water.

10 Dreamy traditional hotels that you will not sleep a wink

Mashrootiat(Constitutionalism) House
Mashrootiat(Constitutionalism) House

Old houses were usually divided into two parts: private and public areas. Besides, sometimes another part in old houses that fully enjoyed decorative elements called an alcove (Shah Neshin). The other parts of houses were generally comprised of a number of small rooms, each one carrying its own decorative style and characteristics. The stairways were not generally regarded as important elements, that is, they were designed very steeply to occupy a very limited area. Two thermal centers were in an old house: one on the southern part for cooking and baking, and the other, on the north for heating the inner residential spaces in winter. A special room was often designed for winter at the center of the northern part of the house to receive maximum sunlight (master room). Furthermore, there was a system having a low-rise wooden table covered by a large-size quilt, containing a copper vessel filled with charcoal. This local heating system was called; a Kursi, as a gathering point for the family members during the winter. It was the place where the best memories could be carved in the minds of children of a family for the whole period of life. Until the mid-twentieth century, the majority of Iranian houses had the following basic elements:
1. The ceilings are insulated by a mixture of mud, straw, and a layer of plaster.
2. The decorative elements on the windows doors (as latticework), internal-external walls are mostly employed in the houses of dignitaries. In conclusion, bear in mind it will be a pity if you do not visit, at least a typical historical use during your stay in Esfahan, so ask your tour leader to include it in your tour.

Keryas House - Hotel Isfahan
Keryas House - Hotel

Vasigh Historical House with two Opposite Internal and External Views

On Hatef Ave. after the gas station, turning on the left and passing through Golbahar Street, two hundred meters farther on the right on Moshir Street adjacent to a public bathhouse, the façade of Vasigh house appears, which is in a very poor state (2003). But after entering, one finds an attractive inner area. It covers an area of 1600 square meters with 1200 square meters of built area. In the yard, all around the cornices, the inscribed date is 1705 A.D., and several different spectacular rooms and public areas are arranged. Although the house dates back to the Safavid era, some sections were annexed in Qajar time. For example, on the southwestern corner, there is a mirror-worked chamber, as well as on the northern part, an alcove with fully-rich plasterwork of the Qajar period, and meanwhile, on the western part, many magnificent chambers of the Safavid era located. In one of the reception halls, there is a very large latticed window studded with stained glass, with a total area of 40 square meters. One of the characteristics of the house is that all the ceilings were designed flat, and it may be one of the reasons that the experts counted it as a Qajar house. In some parts, like the vestibule, the height of the ceiling is about 11 meters. It is the only typical old house in Esfahan decorated with European wallpaper from the 19th century made of paper and cotton texture as if they were imported from France. It has been restored and owned by the Office of Esfahan Cultural Heritage. To visit there, one may need to get written permission from the Office.

Kashan's Traditional Houses


Bekhradi(Hotel/House) An Old House of Qajar Era

On the western side of Chahar Bagh-e-Paien Boulevard', in an old quarter of Esfahan about 200 meters distant from Takhti intersection, No.17 in Haj Rasouliha alley, there is an old, typical Esfahani house of about 1200 square meters named Bekhradi. Although it was repaired about 40 years ago and it is being restored at a very slow pace, it gradually relapses into a poor condition again due to lack of care and maintenance.
One of the most striking differences, compared with the other old existing houses in Esfahan, is its fantastic coverage of plasterwork on the walls of the courtyard with a protective layer made of natural oil, which was locally produced called; Mandab to make it resistant against rainfall or humidity, but in recent years a kind of chemical oil Primal Paraloide is used instead.
Another characteristic of the house is the remarkable latticework on its elegant doors and sash windows. In the alcove, there is a full-scale paisley design that forms the layout of a door and can be counted as a unique item. In the basement just below the alcove, another method employed in the structural arrangement of extraordinarily thin ribs (about 5 centimeters thick) with considerable depth to minimize the consumption of building materials (baked bricks), but enough resistance provided, to tolerate the dead load of the Wooden floor of the alcove and its movable loads (persons and furniture)

Haghighi An Old Residential House of the Past Which Functions as a Research Center for Pardis University

Haghighi An Old Residential House of the Past Which Functions as a Research Center for Pardis University

On the eastern side of 'Chahar Baghe- Paien' and in the middle of Pardis alley, there is an old house that undoubtedly can be considered as one of the most attractive, private houses of the Qajar period in Esfahan. Its initial plot covered an area of 1250 Square meters which enjoys 756 square meters built area. Out of the 12 existing rooms, only 5 of them, with more abundance of attraction and richness of decoration, are fascinating. That is, each one is representative of a different decorative style.
For example, on the northwestern side, the existing chamber merely shows the decorative elements of stucco on plaster gypsum. In the next room (toward the east), there is a room with an alcove that has mirrorwork and plasterwork. The room on the northeastern corner displays a very rare and rich style of mural paintings of the Qajar period. The majority of the rooms designed with 5 or 7 doors. On the eastern side, a room with a flat ceiling, which has a fantastic combination of plaster and mirror work. In the courtyard, there are some curtains of cotton on the sash windows to protect them against the strong radiation of sunlight. They can be moved upward by the ropes, which are moving into some porcelain pulleys. These pulleys are inside some, wooden painted birds as if they sing whenever the pulley is rotated to move the curtains up or down. In the western chamber on the top of the entrance, there are some gilded writings show the name of its artist "Mohammadol-Qafour Esfahani' and its inscribed date, 1857 A.D., in this room.

There are also some decorative patterns like Pendentives, miniature paintings, and a number of related imaginary scenes, which narrate graphically some stories about the famous old book of Iranian literature named; "Kelileh-va- Demneh'. In the same chamber, its elegant latticed windows have been designed with two layers of colored glass, which is an efficient technique for thermal insulation. The house was purchased in 191 A.D. by Pardis University, and it has been restored during some successive stages. Getting written permission from the University of Pardis is mandatory to visit the site.

Ghasr e Monshi House/Hotel
Ghasr e Monshi House/Hotel

Mojtahed Zadeh A Gorgeous House of The Qajar Era as a Cultural Center

On Ahmad Abad Ave. across from Golzar Street, there is an old quarter named Dar-ol-Betiekh. About 200 meters farther down Ahmad Abad, a house No. 100, called; “Dar-ol-Qur' an' Branch is located. Repaired many years ago and adapted into a cultural-religious center, it resembles a children's cultural institute. It covers an area of 400 square meters with an alcove on its northern side, which is elaborately decorated with plasterwork, gilt work, and an attractive general decorative genre.
The size of the main chamber in the house is 4 by 6.4 square meters having a flat ceiling of 4.5 meters high. The elegance and arrangement of its pendentives remind one, of a monumental shrine named; Kalbasi, in the neighborhood of Hakim Jame-Mosque. There is also an elegant sash window with colorful glasses. One finds another attractive room on the western side, fully embellished in the central part of its ceiling with a cross-shaped figure. At the end of each arm, the upper body of a Qajar princess, and on the other end, a European princess in symmetry is depicted. Each one is representative of a different painting of their era, an amalgamation of two genres, called; Qahveh Khanehie (Coffee House) style.
The house belongs to the Esfahan Cultural Heritage Office, and one may visit thereafter getting written permission from the office. It is located in the vicinity of the tomb of Malek Shah', and the other Seljuk kings, where both sites can be visited simultaneously.

Ezhei The House with an Entrance to the Paradise being Guarded By Angels

Ezhei The House with an Entrance to the Paradise being Guarded By Angels

From Maidan-e-Kohneh', in the middle of 'Masjed-e-Ali' Street on the left, in an alley at the end of which is a carpet complex named Haronieh. An old wall covered by mud and straw, known as Ezhehie House situated. Ezhehie was one of the theologians of Esfahan in the past who lived in this house, with an area of 460 square meters (17 meters by 27 meters).
The house was purchased by the Esfahan municipality (2003 A.D.) and is being restored by one of its subordinate organizations which are in charge of revitalizing old textures. It has been estimated that the house belongs to the Safavid era (17th century), especially its glorious alcove which has a highrise vault with two smaller chambers on both sides called Gooshvareh (earring). The alcove enjoys extraordinary patterns of gilded-work arabesques designs on a large scale; among them are the naked bodies of some angels depicted anatomically proportional.
Amongst the various delightful ornamental elements, there are some religious verses inscribed in gilded forms. Unfortunately, the original sash windows and doors, except for one window, do not survive at the site. On the north extreme of the alcove, on both spandrels of the fireplace, stuccos on plaster display a dragon and lion confrontation as well as, on the lower part of both sides there are the free-standing bare bodies of two ladies. On the gilded forms of the next floor, the date 1851 A.D. can be seen that refers to the Qajar period.
The house can be regarded as one of the loveliest old houses of Esfahan, that after visiting it, a fanciful state flashes in mind, and subconsciously reminds one of the mural paintings of the Armenian churches in the Julfa quarter in Esfahan.

Moshir ol Molk House
Moshir ol Molk House

The Old Houses of Esfahan The Meeting Points for Visitors

With some Forgotten Handicrafts On 'Chahar Bagh-e-Paien Boulevard' across from Takhti stadium in the middle of 'Sheikh-ol-Eslam' Lane, there is an old wooden door with an inscribed date of 1905 A.D., decorated with a nice circular doorknocker (for ladies) and a bar-shaped one (for men) and a number of large, floral designs and headed-steel nails.
After entering through the door, an octagonal space (vestibule) which is a public, covered area emerges. On the left, we pass through one of the doors of the house as one of the most typical, attractive houses of Esfahan in which for a long time was the residence of the high-ranking theologian 'Sheikh-ol-Eslam Besides, it was a public place on special occasions used for holding religious ceremonies and theater called Ta'zieh. This kind of religious theater (Passion play) was arranged so professionally here that many experts believe the theater of Iran owes a great deal to these passion plays.
In the courtyard on the southern part, there is an attractive scene that is very rich in ornamental elements, such as pendentives mirrorwork! inlaid work and latticed windows. This house, for the present, is owned by the Cultural Heritage Office. After restoration, it was changed into workshops of some traditional handicrafts, which are headed by masters of each craft, such as brocade weaving, plasterwork, inlaid work, marquetry, and lattice-window making. Visitors, after buying tickets, are welcomed during the week, except for formal holidays.

Ameri House Kashan
Ameri House Kashan

Amini, an Old House and An Amalgamation of Tradition

And Modernity On the northern side of 'Abd-ol-Razagh Ave.. 300 meters distant from Takhti crossroad, there is a house with the classical style of plasterwork similar to the European extrovert styles, as a typical residential house of the Qajar era. It was a large house until half a century ago, but a part of it was annexed to the new avenue. Fortunately, the main residential part still remains. It was renovated under the supervision of the Esfahan Cultural Heritage Office. It is representative of one of the richest, old, and remaining houses of Esfahan, with a very glorious alcove covering 56 (net) square meters and a flat ceiling of 6 meters high. There are many decorative elements on its walls. One of its unique characteristics is at the lower part of the alcove on the northern side. That wall, from the level of the floor to 1.2 meters high, is covered with pink velvet and some brass handles. If one pulls a handle outside, an armchair appears. The combination of the two different styles donates a delightful sense to the visitor. Furthermore, a latticed window made of two layers was devised for better control of the temperature between the inside and outside. Below, in a well-conducted basement, a pottery workshop runs by a famous old potter named; "Esmail Shiran, who spent 56 years doing this job. He welcomes visitors on Saturdays and Thursdays, and reproduced the formula of an old glaze forgotten for centuries, but has existed in Iran since the 6th century B.C. He renamed it Zarrin Fam which means golden color. At the present time, after buying a ticket from the 'Sheikol-Eslam' house (300 meters away) one can visit both sites.

One day free tour in Isfahan

Moshir House Isfahan
Moshir House
Arastoie An Old Typical House for the Esfahan Calligraphers' Association

This house is another old Esfahani residential building from the Qajar era, which covers 400 square meters of area, and a built area of 350 square meters. It has been owned by the Cultural Heritage Office of Esfahan, since the time of restoration. The façade forms a proportional mixture of red clay and straw. In general, it is evaluated as a middle-class, typical house in Esfahan. The alcove, the most fantastic chamber, located on the western side has decorative elements such as stuccos on plaster, mural paintings, gilt works, etc.
In the courtyard on the plasterwork over the piers, one can find some lines of poetry which are a part of Mohtasham Kashani's (composer of religious tragic poems in the 17th century) poetry book in vertical and horizontal rectangles, counted as a different style of decoration for the outer space of the yard. This house was not only a unique residential area but also used as a gathering place for the people to attend religious ceremonies called; Roseh Khani, meeting for the commemoration of the martyrdom of Emam Hussein (a.s.) and his followers in Karbala. Thus, the existence of the inscribed poems on the walls, bear evidence that there was no need to fix painted-cotton banners of tragic poetry for holding the religious ceremony (procession).
The house is situated on the eastern side of Neshat street. on the north side of Hasht Behesht Ave., welcoming visitors every day from 8: 30-11 a.m. and 15-19 p.m., except formal holidays.

'Angourestan-e-Malek' A Large House with Decorative Wood Carvings
'Angourestan-e-Malek' A Large House with Decorative Wood Carvings

The house is not a public site to visit, but if a person could obtain permission from the caretaker, it would afford a great opportunity. After passing the crossroads of eastern Hasht Behesht Ave, and northern Malek street, about 200 meters farther down on the east side, there is a long brick wall with some decorative tile-work at the portals, and this is where the house is located. It was the residential house of a famous merchant named; "Malek-ol-Tojar' (Lord of the Merchants) with an area of 2500 square meters. It was changed into a religious center as an endowment to his will and testament, and he was also buried there. According to two inscribed oval-shaped plaster panels, the date of construction was 1906 A.D. and the date of the late merchant's death was 1922 A.D. inscribed on the marble tombstone along with a photo of him.
The building is located on the northern part of the plot with two large halls. The former is fully decorated with sash windows and plasterwork, while the latter (towards the north) is larger decorated with columns, huge latticed doors in colorful glasses, and balconies all around for ladies to attend meetings. High-quality wooden panels on the ceiling are also visible. The courtyard is covered by steel trusses with a tarp canopy to allow for religious gatherings outside.