Heading just 250km south from Tehran already starts to take you to the feeling of the desert which is the main feature of central Iran. On the way to Isfahan or Yazd, Kashan is a site worth to visit. Kashan has mountains in the west and in the east it opens up to the central desert. The desert feeling becomes visible in the textures of the town.
Kashan has many architectural wonders. It hosts some majestic houses of wealthy families of their time. Tabatabaei House (below) is an outstanding historical building belonging to Tabatabaei family – one of the most affluent families of Kashan in the 19th century. Its stucco and plaster works on inside and outside facades are amazing. It has impressive stained glass doors that create an elegant look.
Abbasi House (below) is a large historical house museum which belonged to a wealthy glass merchant. It is a great example of Iranian architecture of 18th century. The designs on the brownish coloured plasters are so delicate and breathtaking.
Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse (below) is a traditional Iranian public bathhouse which was constructed in 16th century. It is decorated with amazing ornamental tiles mainly in turquoise and gold colours.
Agha Bozorg Mosque (below) was built in the late 18th century. It is famous for its precise, symmetric architecture which is a mixture of both the simplicity of earth colours and the fine details of tile works which Kashan is famous for for many centuries.
Aminoddoleh Caravansary (below) is an old caravansary in the Bazaar of Kashan. It is an important place along the old silk road. Its magnificent dome is a geometric masterpiece and it is astonishingly beautiful.
Some of the best classical Iranian rugs have been attributed to Kashan. The foundation of rugs are mainly cotton however some of the finest examples may be pure silk. The colours of Kashan carpets come from a variety of natural dyes including madder root, walnut skin, pomegranate skin and vine leaves. You come across with many wool sellers in the alleys of the bazaar which still preserves its authentic quality.
Kashan is one of the oldest central cities of Iran. Desert conditions naturally effect the structure of the settlements. Labyrinth like forms of the alleys (below) is one of the characteristics of this condition. I really like the soft colours of adobes which I would be seeing many times in next weeks in central plateau of Iran.
If you come to Kashan, you shouldn’t miss to visit the little village Abyaneh (below) that is just couple of hours drive from Kashan. It is surrounded by beautiful mountains. It is also known as red village because of the colour of its soil. Due to an unusual high level of iron oxide, the soil has a reddish, beautiful color which makes the village even more distinguished.
Abyaneh is a wonderfully authentic ancient village which takes you back in time as it has kept its originality over hundreds of years. This ancient village has largely preserved its culture, language, architecture, costume and traditional rituals over the years. The way people dress here is also very notable. As we see below most women wear large white scarfs with printed or embroidered red flowers.
Then my next destination was Isfahan.