Yazd is a city located on a plain with the same name, on the central plateau of Iran. This city, located between the Shirkouh and Kharaneg Mountains, is bordered by the cities of Meybod and Ardakan to the north, the cities of Taft and Abarkuh to the south, the city of Isfahan to the west, and the cities of Ardakan and Bafq to the east.”
The History behind the Name ‘Yazd’
The city of Yazd has been named differently at different times; names like Isatitis, Izad Tis, Shahr-e-Izad, Kase, Yazdan Shahr, Dar Al-Abadeh, Yazdan Gerd and so forth.
The name Kase can be found in books like “Fārsnāma” (the book of Fars) by Ibn al-Balkhi and “The History of Yazd” by Ahmad ibn Hussein ibn Ali Kateb.
Kase means small. The reason for this naming is the small size of the city of Kase, comparing to Isatis that was located near Kase and was bigger than it was. However, there are other opinions that are overlooked for brevity.
A short look at the history of Yazd city
There is no clear information in the historical texts about when exactly the city of Yazd was founded and built. However, in some sources, the foundation of the city of Yazd and the suburbs is attributed to the following:
The foundation of the city of Yazd is attributed to Alexander the Great and Zahak; the city of Meybod to Suleiman the Prophet and the city of Abarkuh to Abraham the Prophet.
Some historians believe that a city has been founded in this area during the Sassanid era, by Yazdgerd.
The city of Yazd, after Venice, is the second-most ancient city in the world and the first historical city of bricks and mud in this land.
Now we are going to have a trip to Yazd, the city in the center of Iran.
Yazd is one of the most prominent cities on this planet due to its traditional, adobe context.
Walking in this historic city is an interesting thing to do and we invite you to enjoy it.
People are living their daily lives in the streets of the traditional and adobe context of this city.
A great starting point to walk in this historic city is Amir Chakhmaq Square.
Amir Chakhmaq Square
This square was built in the fifteenth century during the Timurid period, after the governor of Yazd, Amir Jalal-al din Chakhmaq, came to power. Amir Jalal-o-Din Chakhmaq was the commander of Shahrokh Timurid (one of the kings of the Timurid dynasty). Amir Jalaluddin, with his wife, Fatima Khatun, known as Seti Fatima, completed the construction of this square.
This monument is not just a square, but a collection including baths, mosques, caravansaries, qanats, and so on.
What we can see today is the revived historic monument with some changes over the years.
Some of the changes made in Amir-Chakhmaq square are as follows:
- Reconstruction of the square and some of the monuments in the reign of Shah Abbas Safavi
- Changing the square and the front part of the mosque to Husseinieh in the nineteenth century
- The expansion of the mosque and repairing some parts of it during the time of Fath Ali Shah Qajar
- Destruction of some parts of the mosque in the twentieth century, during the Pahlavi era, due to street construction
After entering Amir Chakhmaq Square and seeing the beauty of the brick structure, we should saunter leisurely to different parts of the square, watching the art of Iranian architects and believing in the art of this land.
New Jameh Mosque, Dahouk Mosque
Having visited Amir Chakhmaq Square, you can go to the spectacular Amir Chakhmaq Mosque, also known as the New Jameh Mosque, and the Dahouk Mosque.
The Iranian architectural masterpiece can be seen in every corner of this mosque. The front door of the mosque, with a piece of Iranian calligraphy art, opens to the square.
In this part, there is a stone on which is written the endowment inscription of the mosque with the beautiful script of the Islamic calligraphy, called Naskh.
The other entrance of the mosque is located in the side lane. This entry is decorated with an inscription of mosaic tiles at the intersection where the walls and the ceiling meet.
In this masterpiece, we just need to turn our head to watch the majesty of Iranian art. In the eastern side of the mosque, the inscriptions in the mosaic tile, written in ‘sols’ script, add to the beauty of the building.
While watching the buildings, we have to keep reminding ourselves that these buildings have been built in the past hundreds of years without any facilities.
No special tools have been used in the construction of these buildings except for the taste and art of the architects of this land.
It is all the art and taste being manifested in these monuments.
Like all Islamic structures, this mosque has a dome decorated with green tiles and an elegant inscription in Kufic script.
One of the places, which show the Islamic art, is the altar of the mosques (mihrab). In this mosque, the altar is decorated with tiled mosaics with Mogharnas design.
Continue to Amir Chakhmaq Square
One of the wonders of walking in the city of Yazd and Amir Chackmaq square is the excessive gastric secretion. While walking and looking around the stunning beauty of this Square, we unconsciously notice the secretion of the secretion of gastric acid in our stomach. Do not worry about it. There is no reason to worry.
The reason is the savory aroma of a variety of sweets being freshly prepared in the traditional market.
Yazd is famous not only for its brick buildings, but also for its delicious souvenirs and sweets.
Next to Amir Chakhmaq Square, there is a traditional hundreds-year-old bazaar, with some stores making and cooking all sorts of sweets.
Having visited Amir Chakhmaq Square and a brief browsing through the unavoidable bakery shops, we go to the Haji Qanbar Bazzar.
Bazaar in the City of Windcatchers
Tourists who are interested in bazaars, especially traditional ones, should not miss visiting the city of Yazd, one of the most prominent cities in Iran with various traditional old bazaars. Bazaars including: Mohammad Ali Khan Bazaar, Mullah Ismail Bazaar, Nokhod Berizi Bazaar, Chitsazi Bazaar, Sadri Bazaar (Shah-zadeh Fazel), Kashigari Bazaar (tile working), Afshar Bazaar, Jafar Khan Bazaar, Mehriz Gate Bazaar and Mesgari Bazaar (copper smith).
The Haji Qanbar bazzar, as part of Amir Chakhmaq Complex, was established in the fifteenth century by a governor named Nizam al-Din Haji Qanbar Jahanshahi. During the Pahlavi era and due to street construction, some parts of the market have been destroyed, like the Orosi duzha and so on.
There are shops of different guilds and professions in this market, including jewelry, confectionery, Halva Bakery (a place where sesame is converted to ardeh), dyeing (a place where color is transferred to a finished textile or textile material like fibers and yarns), and so on.
In addition to the delicious sweets, copper smith and goldsmith shops catch the eye of any visitors to Yazd.
When we walk through the market and get to the goldsmith and silversmith shops, we stop, mesmerized by the gorgeous shining red color of copper and yellow color of gold.
Water reservoirs (āb anbār) of Yazd
We would better first introduce āb anbār to you dear tourists. Āb anbār is a traditional reservoir or cistern of drinking water that stores the rainwater in the wet seasons and provides people with the cool water in dry seasons.
Āb anbār is one of the structures built in arid and desert regions of Iran and other parts of the world.
Āb anbār is an underground structure, fed from the streams of water, qanāts, etc.
In hot climate cities like Yazd, in wet seasons some water was stored in these cisterns to be used in dry seasons. The interesting thing about āb anbār is the special architecture of these structures, which allows the stored water to remain cool throughout the warm seasons.
One of the oldest āb anbārs discovered is near Chogha Zanbil, which dates back to the second millennium BC.
Āb anbār is also known by different names such as source, ‘masnaa’, reservoir, pool, pond, puddle, ‘hud’ or dock. It is named differently in any part around the world, but the meaning is the same.
Some of the āb anbārs in Yazd include:
Amir Chakhmaq Āb Ānbār
Haji Qanbar bazzar is located next to Amir Chakhmaq Square and Amir Chakhmaq āb anbār. This structure was constructed in the 15th century, after the Amir Chakhmaq square, on the orders of Fatima Khatun, the wife of the governor of Yazd.
Amir Chakhmaq āb anbār has five windcatchers (badgirs) also known as wind towers. The wind is blown into the reservoir through the windcatchers to keep the water cool. The water storage tank is usually located underground.
Most of the āb anbārs are made with two windcatchers. However, the number of windcatchers varies from one to six according to the space and capacity.
Giv Āb Ānbār
The construction of this structure began in 1942, at the same time as the start of the World War II, on the orders of Arbab Rustam Guiv. It is the architectural work of Mohammad Ibrahim Khorramshahi.
Due to its wide space, it consists of four windcatchers. The āb anbār dome is paved with bricks in the form of a cypress.
Many Zoroastrians live in the city of Yazd. An interesting thing about Giv āb anbār is that there are two separate entrances, from which Muslims and Zoroastrians could take water.
Giv āb anbār reservoir is a cylindrical reservoir with 2300 cubic meters of capacity, 14 meters of diameter, and 15 meters of depth.
Six Windcatcher Āb Ānbār (Shish Badgiri)
In 1862, Mohammad Hussein Yazdi built an ab anbār with six windcatchers. It has an ovoid dome and has two entrances to the north and south. This āb anbār has a capacity of 2000 cubic meters.
Three windcatchers were built first, at the time of its construction, and the other three were added later at the time of its restoration.
The windcatchers are 10 meters tall in an octagonal shape.
Yazd Water Museum
After visiting Amir Chakhmaq Square and its historical monuments, we will head to the Museum of Water. This museum displays the several thousand-year history of water in Iran and the tools used.
The museum is located in one of the historic houses in Yazd. In this building, we can enjoy visiting not only the history of water and the tools, but also one of the oldest and most beautiful houses in this city.
Among the other things we could see in this building are qanats digging tools, mirab’s booklet (mirab means caretakers of the qanats), water distribution documents, storage containers and water carriers, and instruments for measuring the volume of water.
This building is made in several floors and has a special purpose. A qanat passes through this house, which gives it a special beauty and is one of the main sources of water for the city in the past.
Yazd Water Museum is located in Kolahdooz historical mantion and is built on an area of 720 square meters. This house, built on the request of Seyyed Ali Akbar Kolahdooz, a merchant in the Qajar era, has 5 floors or levels.
The first level
Two kariz (qanat) branches, named Rahim Abad and Zarch, pass through the lowest floor of this house.
The second level
The next floor was used for keeping and storing food. It is an octagonal area with a depth of 10 meters and the same temperature (about 15 ° C) in all seasons.
The third level
On this floor, we reach the basement, and since it is under the ground and also due to the special architecture, it is cool and is the used by the family in warm seasons.
The forth level
After the third floor, we reach the ground floor. Panjdari rooms, a hall, an Erci room, a kitchen and a living room for the servants of the house are located on this floor.
The fifth level
At the fifth floor that is the highest level, we can see the well wheels by which the water was taken out of the well. Some people were responsible for harvesting water and transferring it to a higher-level tank. Then the water was driven to the ground floor for the family to use. This transferring system was similar to the water plumbing system for that house.
For more information about other places and monuments in Yazd, the “Desert Bride”, read other articles.