Since the beginning of creation, humanity has always needed a shelter. The land of Iran, as one of the oldest and most ancient lands in history, has not been exempted from this view. The oldest government and ruler that we know is the great Achaemenid government. Many of us are familiar with works such as Persepolis, Naqsh Rostam, etc., which are all related to the Achaemenid period. But Iranian architecture is not limited to after this period. Even before the beginning of the Achaemenid rule and even before that, before the arrival of the Aryans in Iran, Iranian architecture played a prominent role in its era. These points are enough to show the greatness of the history of Iranian architecture. In the continuation of this article, we intend to fully introduce you to the history of Iranian architecture.
History of Iranian architecture
Iranian architecture can be divided into three periods. Before the arrival of Islam in Iran, after the arrival of Islam and the contemporary era. In the pre-Islamic period, the Alamans and the Elamites were the standard bearers of Iranian architecture between 2740 and 1600 BC. After that, with the arrival of the Aryans in Iran and the formation of the Achaemenid government, a revolution occurred in the architectural industry of that period in the Iranian plateau. Magnificence played a huge role in Iranian buildings. Big and huge columns, amazing arches and decorative tools all pushed Iranian architecture to a great progress. This attractive style continued after the Achaemenids and during the Parthian and Sassanian rule. After that and with the arrival of Islam in Iran, new doors were opened on Iranian architecture and we witnessed a huge evolution in the architecture industry in Iran.
Iranian architecture is more than an industry, it is a science. The science of using geometric elements and shapes in the right place and integrating and combining them with other elements in the correct way. Iranian architecture is classic. What are the characteristics of classic style? The greatness of the columns, high walls, the use of a large environment to have wide porticoes and yards, as well as the use of many decorative and aristocratic elements such as statues, color designs and petroglyphs. To better understand these points, you can look at buildings such as Persepolis, Bam Citadel, Naghse Rostam and similar buildings. In each period, there were changes in Iranian architecture. At first, the focus was on the grandeur of the exterior of the buildings. Over time, more attention was paid to interior decoration. Its peak was in the Safavid period, which we see in Naqsh Jahan square.
But the integration of Iranian architecture with Islamic architectural style was able to create a revolution. With the arrival of Islamic architectural style in Iran and its combination with Iranian architecture, additions were added to Iranian buildings. Domes and minarets were among the elements that Islam brought to Iran. It is worth noting that Islamic architecture itself was a combination of the architecture of other lands such as Rome and Byzantium at that time. These combinations happened with the conquest of those lands by the Muslims. After that, the style of Islamic architecture came into being, and with the arrival of Islam in Iran, these two styles were merged together. We can see many examples of it, the most prominent of which is Naqsh Jahan Square in Isfahan.
The most prominent styles of Iranian architecture
The style of Iranian architecture itself includes various styles that are a subset of this original style.
Persian style can be considered as the oldest style of Iranian architecture. You have seen many examples of this style and you are definitely familiar with it. Persepolis, Pasargad, Takht Suleiman and Naqsh Rostam are among the most prominent buildings that were built using the Persian method. Huge columns, thick walls, the use of stone in the construction of the building, large and huge infrastructure to have porticoes and courtyards, etc. are among the most prominent features of this style. This style lasted until 400 BC when a new method took its place.
Party style can be considered as a suitable alternative to Parsi. After the end of the Achaemenid rule over Iran and the rise of the Parthians, the Parthian style played a huge role in Iranian architecture. There is not much difference between Parti and Parsi style, but among their differences, we can mention the main implementation of similarity between the elements. This style existed in Iran from the beginning of Parthian rule until the rise of Islam. Anahita Temple, Kasra Arch and Sarvestan Palace are among the most prominent works left in the Parthian style.
After the arrival of Islam in Iran and the combination of Islamic architectural with Iranian architecture, Khorasani style was born. The best examples of this style are large mosques with huge domes and minarets. In the meantime, let’s mention an interesting point. During the time of Sadr Islam, the height of the houses of that time was determined according to the height of the tallest Arab man while holding his hand up. This issue caused the height of the buildings to be lower than in the past periods. But it was not so short as to look short. Isfahan Grand Mosque and Nain Grand Mosque are the most prominent buildings in Khorasan. The Khorasani style has this name for this reason, because with the beginning of the Saffarian rule in Khorasan, it was also introduced in Iran.
Razi style can be considered as an attractive collection of old styles that we have mentioned. In this style, in addition to having large domes and minarets, which are derived from Islamic architecture, we also see columns and stone walls, which are also derived from authentic Iranian architecture. Razi method was prevalent in Iran from the beginning of the Samanid rule until the time of the Mongols, and its origin was the center of Iran. Qaboos Dome Tower and Ismail Samani Tomb are the flag bearers of the Razi style.
After the Mongols invaded Iran, there were many changes in the culture of Iran. One of these changes was the change in the architectural style of the day. Among all the styles that we have mentioned, this style is the most similar to the style of Islamic architecture. Its example is Goharshad Mosque, Minarjanban Mosque and Jame Mosque in Yazd. This style was popular in Iran during Ilkhani and Timurid rule.
Now it’s time to examine another style that was able to maintain its place in Iranian culture for many years. Many people from all over the world come to Iran to see works that are all made using Isfahani style. Maybe you don’t see much difference between Isfahani architecture style and Iranian Islamic architecture style. But the specialty of Isfahani style is in the technology that entered the architectural industry in Iran at that time. In the Isfahani architecture, for the first time we saw the foundation of the building. This is the reason why the buildings of that time are still standing and we can watch them. Naqsh Jahan Square, Forty Seton, Aali Qapu Palace, Vakil Mosque, etc. are all just a part of Isfahan buildings.
The contemporary or modern style has maintained its constant position in Iranian architecture from the middle of the Qajar rule until today. As a result of the arrival of modern style in Iran, many other changes occurred in other sectors such as roads, streets, markets, etc., and until today, all of them are progressing. In the contemporary style, various elements have been introduced to improve the decoration. Lighting, exterior, painting, landscaping, etc. are part of these components. In recent years, in the contemporary style, there is no news of huge columns, domes, and minarets, and we mostly see modernized short and tall towers. It is not necessary to give an example for this style. Because if you leave the house right now, you are surrounded by tall buildings. all of which show the prevalence of modern style in the contemporary world.
The most prominent Iranian architecture in the world
Persepolis can actually be introduced as a brand of Iranian architecture. The construction of Persepolis was inspired by the authentic Iranian architectural style. According to the historical books, the Achaemenids intended to show the greatness and glory of their empire to the world by building Persepolis. It took about 150 years to build this huge building. Takht Jamshid has Mount Rahmat on one side and Marvdasht Ashraf on the other side. In its time, Persepolis was located in the vicinity of the historical city of Parse or Persepolis, which was the center of the Achaemenid Empire. Persepolis was burned down by Alexander the Great, but its remains are still standing.
Many believe that Naqsh Jahan Square was built during the Safavid period. In fact, Naqsh Jahan collection of Isfahan was built in smaller dimensions during the Timurid period, which was finally expanded during the Safavieh era by the order of Shah Abbas and reached its present size. This historical complex was destroyed in the Qajar period, but it was completely restored in the Pahlavi period. But perhaps the main secret of the longevity of this work is its strong infrastructure, which has helped this building to remain stable after hundreds of years.
Azadi Tower, located in Azadi Square in Tehran, is one of the most beautiful Iranian works in the contemporary period. Hossein Amanat, a prominent Iranian architect, was in charge of the design of this work and it was built in 1349 to commemorate the 2500-year celebrations of the Iranian Empire, under the name of Shahyad, which was changed to Azadi after the revolution. Azadi Tower can be considered the symbol of Iran in the whole world.
The most prominent features of Iranian architecture
Strength of buildings
As we discussed at the beginning, one of the main characteristics of Iranian architecture is having thick and huge columns and walls. These two features are enough to know that the strength of buildings and structures was given special importance from the very beginning.
As you read, we said that large and spacious environments were used to build Iranian buildings. However, all spaces have been optimally used. It means that the empty spaces were not ignored and these spaces were used to the maximum.
Undoubtedly, privacy is one of the most important factors that we want our homes to have. In the past, the people of the era were not exempted from this belief. This is why high walls play an important role. Also, the separation of inner halls from private rooms is another sign of attention to privacy in the buildings of that period.
Prominent Iranian architects in Iranian architecture
He is one of the most prominent Iranian architects who has earned the title of the man of lasting buildings. He was born in 1299 and after a few years he went to France to study. Among the most lasting buildings designed by Sihun, we can mention the tomb of Nadershah Afshar in Mashhad, the tomb of Khayyam Neishaburi and Abu Ali Sina in Hamadan.
Kamran Diba is another prominent Iranian architect who has left behind beautiful and lasting architecture both inside Iran and abroad. The Museum of Contemporary Arts of Iran and several huge hotels in Spain are among the honors of his career.
Hossein Amanat is perhaps the most familiar name of an Iranian architect. The designer of Tehran’s Azadi Tower was only 24 years old when he managed to do this. By using the works and signs of architecture in the architectural styles of the Achaemenid and Sasanian periods, he was able to prepare a design that has become one of the symbols of Iran all over the world today.
As you have seen, in this article, we have completely reviewed the history of Iranian architecture. Iranian architecture is undoubtedly one of the richest architectural styles in the world, which was able to have a great impact on the rise of classical style in interior and exterior designs. By examining the things mentioned in this article, you will realize the importance of this issue more than ever. Definitely, after knowing the above, your view of many buildings you visit will change. It also makes you examine them more closely when visiting historical monuments. We hope this article is useful. You can contact the consultants of Ohaddeco collection to receive free advice regarding interior and exterior decoration for your home.