A Journey to Iran's Past: Historical Mansions – Hotels: Kashan

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Compiled By: Firouzeh Mirrazavi
Deputy Editor of Iran Review

When visiting Kashan in 1993, the chairman of UNESCO remarked: “Kashani architects are the greatest alchemists of history. They could make gold out of dust”. Indeed, almost all of Kashan’s masterpieces, as in many other parts in Iran are made of humble, local, earth.

Many travellers opt to bypass Kashan on their journeys between Tehran, Esfahan and Yazd, but they do not know this delightful oasis city on the edge of the Dasht-e Kavir as one of the most alluring destinations in Iran, boasting a highly atmospheric covered bazaar, and a cluster of architecturally significant 19th-century houses.

During the Seljuk period (AD 1051–1220) the town became famous for its textiles, pottery and tiles. Today it is a major centre for the production of textiles, rugs and rose water, and a great place to stock up on quality souvenirs. The most popular time of the year to visit is April, when the fields of rose bushes outside town are in full and fragrant bloom.

Toward the end of 18th century, as a result of a deadly earthquake, a lot of structures collapsed in Kashan. This also included all the buildings of Shah Abbas I, the mighty Safavid king who liked Kashan very much. Then, under Abdol-Razaq Khan, the city governor, a lot of buildings were built and reconstructed. That’s why most of what we know as Kashan historical houses have been built during late 18th as well as 19th centuries.

Also, the prosperous time of foreign trade between Iran and Russia was another reason that some merchants took the opportunity and entered similar deals with this new foreign business partner of Iran. Several of them exported fruits and handicrafts to Russia and imported items not found in Iran , which turned to be popular as there was huge need for them: samovar, clocks, chandeliers, etc.

Prosperous merchants needed bigger and more luxurious houses to quench their wishes and  suit their culture. Therefore, local architects’ knowledge and efficiency helped the accumulated wealth to create masterpieces which we call Kashan historical houses today. They are some of the most liked Iran tourist attractions now.

Persia's distinctive artistic heritage with efficient yet ancient technical know-how thus created houses and spaces in this city whose features were aesthetic talars and roofs capes with intriguing light wells, as well as intricate window and mirror works, paintings, reliefs, and a beautifully crafted iwan amidst comfortable residential spaces in hot desert regions.

Fortunately, in recent years some of these mansions have been revived, restored and converted into hotels and Residential & Cultural Complexes for tourists from Iran and all over the world.

These historic mansions with their beautiful architecture are spectacular monuments of which travelers can enjoy the quiet and unique ambiance and be acquainted with the history of Iran during their stay in the country:

Āmeri House: First Five Stars Hotel in Kashan

After 15 years of revival and restoration Āmeri Mansion in Kashan, Iran, has been converted into a hotel, restaurant and cafeteria for tourists from Iran and all over the world.

The Āmeri House also known as "Khan-e Āmeriha" or house of the Āmeri family is a historic house in Kashan, in Isfahan Province, in Iran.

It was built during the Zand era for Agha 'Āmeri, the governor of Kashan, who was responsible for maintaining the security of the route between Tehran and Kerman.

Covering an area of 9000 square metres, and housing seven courtyards, the Āmeri house is one of several large spectacular old houses in the central district of Kashan.

Like the other houses around it, it was rebuilt in the 19th century, after the city was ravaged by a series of massive earthquakes in the 18th century.

The mansion has got seven courtyards built for seven independent families Covering an area of 9000 square meters.

There are more than 80 rooms in it. The unique and magnificent architecture of the Āmeries structures such as fascinating decorations, porches, ponds, courts and gardens make them spectacular edifice.

The materials used in the buildings include bricks for construction of the main structure, mud and straw for insulation and facade, gypsum for decoration facade and interior, mirrors for making inner spaces (particularly ceilings) more beautiful, thick wooden doors for protection.

Mirrored stars twinkle on the vaulted roof of the four-bed dorm in this simple but atmospheric traditional hotel.

Rooms come in many shapes and forms, but most are arranged around a pretty courtyard with a large decorative pool and plenty of seating – it’s a great place to enjoy dinner.

The hotel uses profits to help fund its NGO, which promotes the arts and is based in the house. Note that air-con is only available in rooms with bathroom and that US$9 discounts are offered in the low season.

Ehsan House – Residential & Cultural Complex

Ehsan House, is the first historical house in Kasahan that has been turned into a cultural guest house (traditional hotel) hoping to satisfy the honorable guests with having a suitable environment.

It has been located in a historic structure opposite to Aghabozorg Mosque, close to grand bazar and other historical houses.

Ehsan historical house has been registered under the number 12325 as a national cultural heritage of Iran.

The landlord, Haj Mirza Agha Ehsan, had been one of the famous gracious and beneficent businessmen and landowners of Kashan.

The interior part of the house was bought by Mohammad Moravej, on the February 2002 and was conferred to Andishe Javan Sepehri club for cultural applications.

Andishe Javan Sepehri club is a non-governmental organization which is active in cultural, artistic and social fields. Repairing, refinement and changing of the Ehsan historical house into guest house are some of the activities of this NGO.

The residential part of the Ehsan historic house has a reception capacity of 50 people.

Some rooms are furnished with modern furniture and others are fully traditional to induce the guests, to have experience of Iranian traditional life.

The rooms are housed in the historical quarters and are very comfortable, with all modern amenities like air-con and wi-fi internet available. Every room in the hotel is different.

The Cultural part of the house includes a museum of Manoochehr Sheibani's works, including poems, prose, articles, drama, movies and paintings. It also includes an amphitheater, pottery workshop, and a library.

Mahinestan Raheb – Traditional Dinning – Historical House

Mahin Saraye Raheb

Shah Yelani house or Mahin Saraye Raheb stands in center of darb- bagh in Kashan and dates back to Ghajar- Pahlavi Period.

The traditional Home, was registered as a National Monuments of Iran on the registration number 0f 12970. 

It's a charismatic old house in the lovely desert oasis city of Kashan.

This place is one of the most luxurious inns in the center of Kashan. After being reconstructed, the building has become a modern place with modern furniture which can be used by travelers who visit this city.

This house has two floors and three yards separated from each other. Every yard is named differently.

Internal yard, external yard, and the crew’s yard are the names which are given to them. In this building every ancient Iranian method of construction is applied, such as summer cloisters and winter cloisters, louvers, basement, vestibules, and alcoves.

You can see several parts of this house being carved artistically. Pools are inevitable part of Iranian house constructions.

Sitting by these pools while drinking Iranian made drinks, you can enjoy the nice smell of Iranian flowers and stick this memory in your mind for as long as time goes on.

The Manouchehri House - Hotel

Manouchehri House is one of the historic houses located in Kashan. Its primary architecture dates back to Safavid dynasty era. About 240 years ago, an earthquake in Kashan destroyed many parts of this city.

Manouchehri House was ruined in this earthquake and rebuilt in some sections in the Qajar dynasty era.

Manouchehri House has two entrances. It is the only house that has its own private historic cistern in Kashan.

While at the verge of destruction, this house was bought in 2007 and registered as a heritage monument in the same year. Only recently after major restoration this house has been turned into the first boutique hotel in Iran.

This complex includes 9 charming rooms, a beautiful restaurant with traditional Kashani and Iranian food, traditional textile weaving workshops, a contemporary art gallery, a life style shop, a library and a home theater. Manouchehri House has been awarded Lonely planets top choice for 2012.

Manouchehri House is located in one of the traditional parts of Kashan called Sarepole that is an old Jewish area. It is situated near traditional Bazaar.

Sarepole is one of the outstanding areas of Kashan.Noble families such as Sheybani and Zarrabi have been its residents. This area has been silk weaving center, too.

Manouchehri House is among one of the most beautiful national and historic monuments restored in Iran. This house with incomparable residential rooms, restaurant, cinema, brocading and velvet weaving workshop, gallery, handicraft, bookshop and café net is one of the most unique traditional residences.

The Manouchehri House is gold mine of traditional Persian architecture and craftsmanship. Nurtured by a passion for design and a profound respect for history, this private residence has been brought back to life with the highest standards of historic preservation and the latest in modern amenities.

Nine private guest rooms with unique architectural details surround a peaceful courtyard that features a reflecting pool flanked by gardens bearing local fruit. Guests are welcomed with a refreshment in the elegant lobby outfitted with traditional Iranian furnishings and showcasing an art gallery in the atrium above.

A beautiful dining room serves complimentary breakfast as well as local fare for lunch and dinner. A state-of-the-art subterranean movie theatre, converted from the original basement cistern, and wifi Internet service throughout, highlight the harmonious balance of old and new.

A spacious textile workshop featuring looms for velvet and brocade weaving support the revival of traditional arts of the region. These rare and precious textiles are available for purchase in the hotel’s gift shop, which presents a multitude of objects from Iranian artisans and craftsmen.

Through consistent dedication and passionate teamwork, the Manouchehri House has become a beacon of cultural and historical restoration and a rare gem in the landscape of luxury accommodations.

The Manouchehri house can host conventions and business and cultural events with seating capacity of up to 50 persons.

Replete with historic sites of interest, beautiful surrounding villages, and a variety of activities, Kashan offers more than meets the eye at first glance. The Manouchehri House can assist you in arranging a very special experience during your visit to Kashan.

The Iranian House of Kashan

The Iranian House aging more than 250 years, is located in the Kooshk-e-Safi quarter, one of the oldest quarters of Kashan.

The 1000m² house, which is constructed on the “flower bed ditch” model, is in fact the exterior part of an immense house which lost its interior part and other annexes over time.

After seven successive years of strengthening, restoring and remodeling, this house has emerged as one of the rare traditional residences which have been restored according to scientific and technical principles.

In order to preserve the original architecture and flow of life in this edifice, it has been repurposed as a residence complex for tourists in the form of five different residential spaces including the “Upper House”, the “Veiled House”, the “Hidden Chamber”, the “Resting House” and the “Private Chamber” along with other facilities provided in the “Mirror Hall”, the splendid “Parlor”, the “Banquet Hall”, the “Beverage Room” and the “Cistern Cellar” to serve those who have chosen Kashan as a travel destination.

The Iranian House is a remarkable living example of the Iranian culture and art for the young generation.

The edifice embraces an extensive collection of delicate artistic detail which, together with the cellars, the three door chambers, the five door mirror hall, stained-glass windows, and its magnificent stuccos, mirror works, and paintings have turned the building into a museum of the works of Kashan’s great masters of art.

Such a building could serve as a pattern and sample for younger architects as well as students of this field.

No need to say that one should not be looking for a modern hotel facility in the Iranian House. All effort has been made in order for the passion of life to flow in the veins of this House. The main goal of the host is to turn your stay into a memorable experience; that of a banquet at your own home, the “Iranian House”

*Photo Credit: CHN, Mehr News, ISNA, Jamejam Online, Last

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