Iranian architecture, The bricks of History
Architecture in Greater Iran has a continuous history from at least 500BC to the present, with the characteristic examples distributed over a vast area from Syria to North India and the borders of China, from the Caucasus to Zanzibar. Persian buildings vary from peasant huts to tea houses, and garden pavilions to some of the most majestic structures the world has ever seen». Iranian Architecture shows great variety, both structural and aesthetic, developing gradually and coherently out of prior traditions and experience.
Without sudden innovations and despite the repeated trauma of invasions and cultural shocks, it has achieved an individuality district from that of other Muslim countries. Its paramount virtues are several: «Amarked feeling for form and scale; structural inventiveness, especially in vault and dome construction, a genius for decoration with a freedom and success not rivaled in any other architecture. Traditionally, the guiding, formative, motif of Iranian architecture has been its cosmic symbolism by which man is brought into communication and participation with the power of heaven. This theme, shared by virtually all of Asia and persisting even into modern times, not only has given unity and continuity to the architecture of Persia but has been a primary source of its emotional characters as well. «The supreme Iranian art, in the proper meaning of the word, has always been its architecture.
The supremacy of architecture applies to both pre-and post-Islamic periods Traditional Iranian architecture has maintained a continuity that, although frequently shunned by western culture on temporarily diverted by political internal conflicts or foreign intrusion, nonetheless has achieved a style that could hardly be mistaken for any other. In this architecture, there are no trivial buildings, even garden pavilions have nobility and dignity, and the humblest caravanserais generally have charm. In expressiveness and communicatively, most Persian buildings are lucid-even eloquent. The combination of intensity and simplicity of form provides immediacy, while ornament and, often, subtle proportions reward sustained observation. Underlying characteristics Iranian architecture is based on several fundamental characteristics.
- Homogeneous proportions
-Symmetry and antisymmetry
Categorization of styles Overall, the traditional architecture of the Iranian lands throughout the ages can be categorized into the seven following classes or styles:
- The pre-Parsi style
- The Parsi style
- The Parthian style
- The Khorasani style
- The Razi style
- The Azari style
- The Isfahani style
Available building materials dictate major forms in traditional Iranian Architecture, heavy clays, readily available at various places throughout the plateau, have encouraged the development of the most primitive of all building techniques, molded mud, compressed as solidly as possible, and allowed to dry. This technique used in Iran from ancient times has never been completely abandoned. The abundance of heavy plastic earth, in conjunction with a tenacious lime mortar, also facilitated the development of the brick.
Iranian architecture makes use of abundant symbolic geometry, using pure forms such as the circle and square, and plans are based on often symmetrical layouts featuring rectangular courtyards and halls. Certain design elements of Persian architecture have persisted throughout the history of Iran. The most striking is a marked feeling for scale and discerning use of simple and massive forms. The consistency of decorative preferences, the high-arched portal set within a recess, columns with bracket capitals, and recurrent types of plan and elevation can also be mentioned. Through the ages, these elements have recurred in completely different types of buildings constructed for various programs and under the patronage of a long succession of rulers. The columned porch, a portal, seen in the rock-cut tombs near Persepolis, reappears in Sassanid temples, and in late Islamic times, it was used as the portico of a palace or mosque and adapted ever to the architecture of reading side tea-houses. Similarly, the Gonbad on four arches, so characteristic of Sassanid times, is still to be found in many cemeteries and Imamzadeh across Iran today. The notion of earthly towers reaching up toward the sky to mingle with the divine towers of heaver lasted through the 14th century, while the interior count and pool, the angled and extensive decoration are ancient but still common features of Iranian architecture. Development Pre-Islamic architecture of Persia (Iran) The pre-Islamic style draws on 3-4 thousand years of architectural development from various civilizations of the Iranian plateau. The pre-Islamic architecture of Iran in tum draws ideas from its pre-Islamic predecessor and has geometrical and repetitive forms, as well as surfaces that are richly decorated with glazed tiles, carved stucco, patterned brickwork, floral motifs, and calligraphy.
As such, Iran ranks seventh in the world in terms of possessing historical monuments, museums, and other cultural heritage attractions and is recognized by UNESCO as being one of the cradles of civilization. Each of the periods of Elamites, Achaemenids, Parthians, and Sassanids were creators of great architecture that over the ages has spread wide and far to other cultures being adopted. Although Iran has suffered its share of destruction, including Alexander the great decision to burn Persepolis, that are sufficient remains to form a picture of its classical architecture. The Achaemenids built on a grand scale. The artists and materials they used were brought in from practically all territories of what was then the largest state in the world. Pasargadae set the standard: its city was laid out in an extensive park with bridges, gardens, colonnaded palaces, and open column pavilions. Pasargadae along with Susa and Persepolis forcefully expressed the authority of the king of the kings, the staircases of the latter recording in relief sculpture the vast extent of the imperial frontier. With the emergence of the Parthians and Sassanids, there was an appearance of new forms. Parthian innovations fully flowered during the Sassanid period with massive barrel-vaulted chambers. Solid masonry domes, and tall columns. This influence was to remain for years to come. The roundness of Baghdad in the Abbasid era, for example, points to its Persian precedents such as Firouzabad in Fars. The two designers who were hired by al-Mansour to plan the cities design were Naubakht, a former Persian Zoroastrian who also determined that the date of the foundation of the city would be astrologically auspicious, and Mashalla, a former Jew from Khorasan. The ruins of Persepolis, Ctesiphon, Jiroft, Sialk, Pasargadae, Firouozabad, Arge Bam, and thousands of other rains may give us merely a distant glimpse of what contribution Persian made to the art of building.
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