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Iranian Cities

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Chapter Summary

This chapter traces the development and shape of the traditional Iranian city, i.e., the city as it was before the 1920/30s when drastic changes reshaped the appearance of Iranian cities as well as all the cities in the Near East. After an introduction which deals with the geographic and hydrologic preconditions as well as with the development of urbanism in Iran two characteristic cities are presented and analysed. It starts in the west with Isfahan where different stages of development can be isolated, and an original planning concept, that of the round Iranian city, can be detected. Then it goes to east, to Herat in present day Afghanistan. The main emphasis is put on the pre-Safavid period. To conclude: there are three possibilities to explain the typical form and inner organization of the Eastern Iranian city: 1. Independent, autochthon development in the region; 2. Indian influence; 3. Chinese influence.

Keywords: Herat; Iranian city; Isfahan; Near East; pre-Safavid period



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