Quite small, but rather special city of Kashan, approx. 250km south from Tehran, is a namesake of the Persian for “tiles” (kashi) and it is not a coincidence. Historically known as an artisanal centre, Kashan gained its reputation for ceramics and fine pottery under the Seljuks (1038-1220) and the numerous factories on approach to Kashan testify to its continuous production. The city is also known for its wonderful textiles and is still home to a small number of remaining weaving workshops specialising in the traditional sha’rbafi technique. Architecturally-speaking, Kashan’s traditional houses with their deep sunken inner courtyards (gowdal in Persian) are a must see and, of course, do not leave the city without buying a bottle of locally produced rose water.
Kashan at a glance
- Enjoy a delicious meal in Manouchehri House and make sure to visit their sha’rbafi weaving workshop and exclusive boutique with some of the most delicate Iranian handicrafts on sale.
Relax by the elaborate water channels in the exquisite Persian garden of Bagh-e Fin, whose numerous pools are fed by the fresh water from the nearby Fin spring.
Stroll around the historic bazaar in the centre of Kashan and enjoy an aromatic cup of tea under the dome of the spectacular Timcheh Amin al-Dowleh, open section inside the bazaar that was once be part of the 19th-century caravanserai.
Visit all, time allowing, but certainly at least the three finest merchant houses – Khaneh Borujerdi, Khaneh Tabatabai and Khaneh Abbasian, to have a glimpse into the flamboyant lifestyle of Kashan’s 19th-century merchant upper class.
Enjoy a moment of tranquillity at the Mosque and Madrasa of Agha Bozorg, which stands not only a testimony to Kashan’s importance as a centre of religious learning, but also as a wonderful example of traditional Persian architecture.