Cities of Iran

Zavareh
The ancient desert township


An old alley in Zavareh
The ancient desert township of Zavareh is reminiscent of the cultural and artistic values of the homeland of prominent men. Measuring 5,972.27 square kms, it is a township located at the northeast of Isfahan province next to the central desert area, bordering the towns of Garmsar on the north, Ardestan on the south, Anarak on the east and Mahabad on the west. The township's capital is Zavareh and comprises of two Districts of Rigestan (Talakabad) and Sofla (Shahrab) as well as around 83 villages. The historico-religious town of Zavareh 132 kms to the northeast of Isfahan is located on the route connecting Tabas, Khour and Biyabanak, Anark, Kashan and Isfahan. It is also located along Kashan-Yazd railway. The ancient city is known for noteworthy monuments such as the first four-portico mosque constructed in the post-Islamic Iran -- Zavareh grand mosque -- and the second historical minaret set up in the country -- the high-rise minaret of Pamenar mosque.

At the center of Zavareh, the tilework of the dome of Imamzadeh Yahya -- the son of Imam Mousa ibn-e Jafar -- attracts the attention of viewers visiting the town. Next to the holy shrine of this Imamzadeh, the traditional architecture is manifested in the remains of ancient relics such as bazaar, large and small covered as well as open-air Hosseiniehs (mourning centers), seminary, bath house, water storage, mosque, market place, grand mosque, Hasht-Behesht historical monument, mystic Seyed Baha'eddin Heydar's tomb, four-terrace houses, Bonkuyeh mosque, the Minaret of historical castles, icehouse and the fortifications reminiscent of the past.

Zavareh grand mosque
Out of plenty of Zavareh's ancient monuments, the grand mosque has a special charm. As the country's first four-portico mosque in the post-Islamic era it attracts the attention of tourists, students and instructors of architecture. It is a worthwhile eternal heritage left behind from past ages by our ancestors. It dates back to 12th century CE coinciding with the reign of Saljuqids. It was set up on an area measuring 1,200 square meters at the order of steadfast benefactors. The building materials used in constructing the mosque include bricks, plaster, soil and wood. Its architecture has been based on the Islamic mathematical principles.

Zavareh grand mosque is located downtown between the main bazaar and the market place facing other buildings. Its exterior is covered by bricks. Two entrance doors at the eastern and western flanks of the monument opening into the mosque face each other. Next to the western gate of the mosque there is a cylindrical brick tower leading into the mosque, upon which a wooden cell is set up for Mo'azzen (one who calls people for daily prayers). Tablets covered with Kufi scripts in bas-relief are hung above the porticos with beautiful gateways sitting at the corners of the verandas in secondary directions. The entire mosque floor is covered with bricks and a half-meter high brick platform sits at the center of the mosque.

The minaret of Pamenar mosque
Zavareh's Bonkuyeh (Pamenar) mosque is one of the exclusively valuable monuments dating back to the reign of Saljuqids. Its construction was finalized in late 11th century CE. Initially it comprised seven altars with precious stuccos. But unfortunately, the mosque was partly demolished during the renovation process in 1980 and several charming tablets and altars were replaced by a congregation hall. A number of verandas, a nocturnal praying space and a minaret are the only remnants of the mosque. The mosque's minaret is the second ancient one across the country.

The minaret is cylindrical and more than 20 meters high. It is made of brick, soil and plaster and is located at an octagonal space, into which a small door opens. A brick pole similar to an axis is set up inside the minaret, around which staircases lead up to the minaret in a clockwise direction.

Zavareh old bazaar
The ancient bazaar in Zavareh has a special charm. In old days, it was flanked on both sides by two caravansaries, one of which is totally collapsed and the other one is replaced by a new.

The bazaar has a Roman ceiling through whose holes the rays of sun penetrate into its interior. Its floor is covered by stone. A number of cells are observed in the bazaar whose doors are locked and forgotten in silence. The bazaar unfortunately is no more in use, except few traditional workshops.

Zavareh has many monuments and places to pay a visit, like: The Green Dom, Stone Castle, Qanats (traditional water reservoirs), Hast-Behesht Complex and Sarhangabad palace.