Exploring Kashan's Historic Houses: Showcases of Persian Architecture

Kashan is one of Iran's historic cities and is among the most important cities in the province of Isfahan. The distance from this city to Tehran is 240 kilometers. The city's vegetation is sparse, with a few shrubs and small trees scattered around. Most tourists who travel to this city are eager to visit its historical houses, of which there are many. When you travel to this city, plan your trip to include a visit to these historic houses.

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Why are Kashan's historic houses famous?

The historic houses of Kashan are renowned for their architectural brilliance, showcasing exquisite Persian craftsmanship. These houses typically feature fine stucco work, intricate glass windows, and beautifully designed courtyards with central fountains. They reflect the affluence and aesthetic sensibilities of their former owners, who were mostly wealthy merchants during the 18th and 19th centuries.

While all of Kashan’s historic houses offer something unique, the Tabatabaei House is particularly noteworthy. This house is a masterpiece of design and was built by a famous architect of the Qajar era, Ustad Ali Maryam. The attention to detail in the decorative plasterwork and stained glass windows is exceptional.

Both options are viable, but joining a guided tour can enhance your experience. Guides provide valuable insights into the history and architectural details of the houses that you might otherwise miss. Some nuances in design and function, particularly how these houses were adapted to Kashan’s arid climate, are best appreciated with expert commentary.

Comfortable walking shoes are a must, as you’ll be on your feet for much of the visit. It’s also advisable to carry water, especially in the warmer months, and a camera to capture the intricate details of the houses. Since these are indoor attractions, you generally don’t need any special outdoor gear.

On average, you should allocate about 1 to 2 hours to thoroughly explore each house. This allows you to appreciate the architecture, take photos, and enjoy the peaceful ambiance without rushing.

Yes, there is usually a small entry fee for each house. These fees contribute to the maintenance and preservation of these cultural heritage sites. Discounts may be available if purchasing a multi-house or combined ticket.

The best time to visit is during the spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November), when the weather is mild and pleasant. Summer months can be extremely hot, which might affect your overall comfort and enjoyment of the tour.

Frequently Asked Questions: Visiting Historic Houses in Kashan

Tabatabaei House

The Tabatabaei House is undoubtedly one of Kashan’s most famous historical houses. Its unique architecture attracts many tourists. This mansion is about 186 years old and dates back to around 1837 AD. It consists of an interior, an exterior, and a section for the servants. Each part of the building showcases lavish decorations and a unique appearance.

Borujerdi House

 Another recommended historic house to visit in Kashan is the Borujerdi House. This mansion dates back to the Qajar era, approximately 130 years ago, which translates to around 1893 AD. The architecture of this building is considered one of the masterpieces of Kashan and bears many similarities to the Tabatabaei House. Interestingly, this resemblance is because the son of Mr. Borujerdi, who was in love with Mr. Tabatabaei’s daughter, proposed marriage to her. Mr. Tabatabaei’s condition for the union was to build a mansion similar to his own house for his daughter.

Ameri House

 Among other historic houses in Kashan, the Ameri House, one of Kashan’s most beautiful and largest historical houses, deserves mention. Currently, this mansion operates as a 5-star inn hosting many tourists. The estate dates back to the Ilkhanate era, specifically the Mongol dynasty’s reign in Iran, roughly the 13th century AD. The Ameri House boasts nearly 80 rooms and seven courtyards. An exciting feature is that it has the tallest wind catcher among all the historic houses in Kashan.

Sharifian House

The Sharifian mansion, with a history of over 200 years, is another historic house in Kashan built in 1811 AD (1230 AH) in Kashan. This house comprises three spatial complexes, with the two primary complexes located on two floors at the northern and southern fronts of the courtyard. We recommend visiting this house when you travel to Kashan.

Manuchehri House

The Manuchehri mansion is another historic house in Kashan, which has been transformed into a beautiful traditional residence dating back 400 years. This landmark building can be considered one of the masterpieces of Iranian architecture located in the historic fabric of Kashan. On the upper floor of this mansion, there’s an art gallery that hosts artists from the region.

Historical House of Ehsan Kashan

Another historic house in Kashan dates back to the Qajar period and is approximately 100 years old. This landmark building is located on Fazel Naraqi Street and Farhang Alley and was nationally registered in 2005. It should be mentioned that currently, with a change of use, this house has been transformed into a traditional residence for Iranian and foreign tourists.

The Mahinestan Raheb House

Another mansion we want to discuss is the Shah Yilani Mansion, one of Kashan’s most famous historical houses. Its history dates back to the Qajar and Pahlavi eras, and is located in the Darb-e Bagh neighborhood. The central part of this house includes two pools, a royal sitting area, an octagonal entrance, a summer porch, a winter porch, and a windcatcher. It is currently referred to as a traditional guesthouse, offering reasonable accommodations.

Hosseini and Bani Kazemi House

In the Kushk Safi neighborhood, another historical house of Kashan named Hosseini and Bani Kazemi is located. Based on the evidence, its original construction belongs to the Qajar era. It is one of the houses with an exterior and interior courtyard, with beautifully designed spaces around it. This house lacks an external garden, but a small secluded courtyard is noticeable behind its southern royal sitting area. The main architectural rooms of this building include southern and northern basements, a royal sitting area, a penthouse, an octagonal entrance, and a summer porch. The central courtyard of this mansion is approximately 960 square meters, and it was registered as a national monument of Iran in 1998.

Moshki House

In the Darb-e Isfahan neighborhood, another historical house of Kashan named Moshki is located. The age of this house dates back to the Qajar era, and it belongs to that category of Kashan houses that only have one main central courtyard. The house is two-story and constructed in a three-sided style. Central architectural spaces of this building include a basement, a moonlit area, a royal sitting area, an octagonal entrance, a summer porch, a penthouse, and its spring bedroom.

The Attarha House

Another historical house we wish to mention is the Attarha House. Its history traces back to the Qajar period. It’s located in the Panjeh Shah neighborhood and is one of the spacious buildings comprising three courtyards and belongs to the Qajar era. The existing building might only be a part of a larger original structure. A primary feature is that more than half of its spaces are located in the eastern and western parts of the courtyard. Central architectural rooms of this building include three basements, three windcatchers, a royal sitting area, an octagonal entrance, and its main pond. The primary and interior courtyard of the house covers more than 470 square meters. This building was registered as a national monument in 1998.

Balachi Historical House

Opposite the Ehsan house, which we discussed earlier, another historical house of Kashan named Balachi is situated. This house, located on a lane leading to the Aqa Bozorg Mosque neighborhood from the graveyard’s gate, is over 130 years old. It stands as one of the old houses of Kashan with a central courtyard without a garden pit. Its architectural spaces have been built on two sides in three stories, with two stories above the public passageway, the main entrance, and one below. Notable features of this house include two large rooms and a royal seating area. Essential architectural spaces are the Shah’s basement, covered areas, moonlit spaces, an eight-sided entrance vestibule, and the summer and winter porches of this magnificent building. The Balachi historical house covers an area of 600 square meters and was registered as a national heritage site in 2000.

Heshmat Khan House

This building in the Kushk-e Safi neighborhood dates back to the early Qajar era. Like many old houses in Kashan, it only has a spacious central courtyard. Its interior and exterior sections are not separated. The spaces in the home are constructed on two sides with three stories around them. A unique architectural feature of this building is that its two constructed facades are not opposite each other. Instead, one is in the south, and the other is in the courtyard’s east. Significant architectural spaces of the house include the basement, royal seating area, “Seven Doors,” and the eight-sided entrance vestibule. The “Seven Doors” is one of the prominent features of this house. The courtyard of the Heshmat Khan house, with an area close to 820 square meters, is considered one of the most spacious courtyards in Kashan. The large entrance of the “Seven Doors” royal seating area is more than 8 meters, making it more significant than any other royal seating area in Kashan houses. The expansive royal seating area of the house is decorated with stucco work on its ceiling. The Cultural Heritage Organization and the Kashan Municipality fully restored the Heshmat  Khan House, which is currently annexed to the Ameriha House.

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