Sad al Saltaneh Caravanserai a Great Safavid Masterpiece
The caravanserai of Sa'd alSaltaneh is one of the largest and best-preserved urban caravansaries in Iran. Covering an area of 6.2 hectares, the caravanserai was constructed in the Qajar era during the reign of Nasereddin Shah (1896-1831) under the supervision of Governor Bagher Khan Sa'd al-Saltaneh for whom the caravanserai is named after.
Located in Qazvin Province, it is built on a square plan with four porticos facing a huge courtyard. There is also a large dome accompanied by four half-domes on its sides decorated with striking tiles. At the southern end of the yard, the caravanserai intersects with its traditional commercial chambers presenting the unique traditional architecture of Qazvin where once was the capital of the Persian Empire and contains over 2000 architectural and archeological sites. It is a provincial capital today that has been a cultural center of mass throughout history. Archeological findings in the Qazvin plain reveal the existence of urban agricultural settlements as far back as 7000 BC, On the other hand, the caravanserai of Sa'd al-Saltaneh is considered a main commercial center and reminiscent of Iranian private sector commercial development that featured trade with Europe and Russia during the Qajar era.
The caravanserai's main entrance opens to the Imam Street in Qazvin. A beautiful vestibule connects the entrance to the main yard of the structure that is surrounded with chambers decorated with little verandas. Behind the eastern chambers, there lies the large warehouse as well as the Sadieh Bathhouse. Moreover, some Hujrehs or the residing rooms for the travelers are situated one meter above the courtyard ground level. The hallway behind the southern balcony has the largest dome as well as four semi-domes adjacent to it. The eastern-western axis of the hallway is called Dalan'e Qeisariyeh or "Caesar's Hall", and the north-south axis of the caravanserai's hallway is named Dalan'e Ghahremanior "Ghahremani Hall". The later is connected to the "Bazaar of Vizir" of the city. There are also two smaller courtyards in the east and west of the caravanserai. The historical structure lost its brisk market due to several political and economic changes over time with businessmen gradually abandoning their stores. The caravansary was purchased by the Cultural Heritage Organization in 1999 and subsequently renovated by the Cultural Heritage Department of the province.
Built during the Qajar era, the caravanserai is one of Iran's best-preserved urban caravanserais. The caravanserai was built by Baqer Sa'd al-Saltaneh with the aim of boosting trade in the city of Qazvin. This complex enjoys three architectural typologies including passages with small rooms to accommodate caravans, spaces for the entrance of livestock as well as water reservoirs, and baths for guests. The caravanserai is built on a square plan, has 4 iwans facing a courtyard. The interiors are
decorated with Muqarnas and Rasmi bandi. The Hujrehs, or the rooms for the travelers, are situated one meter above the courtyard ground level. The Hashti behind the southern iwan has the largest dome, with 4 semi-domes adjacent to it. The eastern-western axis of the Hashti is called Dalan-e Qeisariyeh or "Caesar's Hall", and the north-south axis of the Caravanserai's Hashti is named Dalan-e Ghahremani or "Ghahremani Hall". The former is connected to the "Bazaar of Vizir" of the city. There are also two smaller courtyards in the east and west of the Caravanserai.
Named after the then ruler of Qazvin, Mohammad Bagherkhan Sa'd-ol-Saltaneh, the caravanserai was put into use as the main trading hub. Being the biggest occulted caravanserai in the world, Sa'd-ol-Saltaneh Caravanserai is amongst few caravanserais in Iran with chambers, bathhouses, bazaars, camel barn, teahouse, and mosques. Covering a total area of 27000 square meters, the complex had 400 booths for various lines of businesses like carpentry, carpet weaving, shoemaking, warehousing, and stalls.
The salient feature of the caravanserai is its labyrinth-like structure. It manifests the perfection and beauty of Persian art. Different entrances, vast yards, huge barns with more than hundreds of brick pillars, long corridors with Iranianstyle decorations and tiles add to the beauty of this complex. It was registered as a national heritage in 1998.
How to Get There
Sa'd-ol-Saltaneh Caravanserai is located downtown, so it is easy to get a cab from everywhere in Qazvin. It is also to be noted that Qazvin is 150 kilometers from Tehran, Iran's capital city.
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