Architecture is one of the oldest arts in Iran

The art of architecture in a country like Iran, which has ancient history and culture, is one of the most important foundations of civilization. Art in Iran is as old as history and architecture is one of the oldest art in this land.

The prosperity and promotion of architecture in ancient Iran is a proof that this land was one of the first centers of urban planning as well as dam construction and engineering.

Hundreds of buildings can now be seen everywhere in Iran and other countries that have either been within the borders of the old Iran or where Iranian architects have performed, each of which is an example of the art of Iranian architects.

The land of Iran, with its history of several thousand years of civilization, has unique architectural masterpieces from thousands of years ago until now. The interest and attention of Iranians to construction and the invention of new methods in architecture, has caused an astonishing variety in Iranian architecture.

Some archaeologists believe that the “pillar” was an essential element in the ancient architecture of Iran, citing the tall stone foundations found around Susa and on the hill “Mosian”.

In the writings of archaeologists, the historical past of Iranian architecture dates back to six thousand years BC. Arthur Pope is one of the Iranian scholars who emphasizes this point and says: “Iranian architecture has been based on three principles of strength, comfort, and expansion throughout its long history, and Iranian architects ، originality of design and simplicity combined. “They observed the decoration in the construction of the building.”

Admiring the “pope” is in fact a voice that has been repeated and confirmed many times by history. Persepolis halls, naves and columns, Madain porch or Kasra arch in Ctesiphon near Baghdad, ancient civilization in Baluchistan of Iran and Pakistan, ancient buildings in Merv, Bostan arch in Kermanshah, Isfahan historical mosques, and thousands of other monuments, valuable works In the case of the architects of this ancient land.

The architecture of these works, although in most cases, is simple, but it has features that can be considered the foundation of Iranian architecture. These features have become very diverse and prolific over thousands of years in combination with different cultures, and now Iranian architecture is one of the most important schools of architecture in the world.

The important point is the connection between the beliefs of the people of Iran and the architectural works, which has led to the creation of sacred and pure works. What has happened in Iranian art and architecture since the arrival of Islam in Iran is a brilliant turning point that has delivered precious gems to the treasures of human art. The construction of mosques and buildings with Iranian forms, in which Islamic writing and decoration arrays can be seen throughout, is one of the effects of Islam on the flourishing of Iranian architecture. Over the centuries, master Muslim architects have tried to demonstrate perfectionism based on Islamic values ​​in the construction of new buildings, which have “fairly” succeeded in this goal.

The history of architecture goes back to a time when man had to build a shelter for himself to live. Architecture from prehistoric times has met the most basic human needs such as the construction of shelters and houses. At the same time, due to its ability to create large-scale and glorious designs, architecture has become possible to serve individuals, groups or the whole society as a medium of self-magnification and drama.

In addition, unlike the construction of tools such as a stone ax or earthenware, architecture is almost always done with the help and collective effort and not individual effort, in fact it is a purposeful and creative activity of a group of people operating in a specific historical environment. For this reason, architecture over time has by no means been a mere category specific to art history. It has always influenced the social history of the human race as an important factor.

Architecture is one of the oldest arts in Iran. The prosperity of architecture in Iran since ancient times is a proof that this land has been one of the first centers of urban planning and dam construction and engineering, such as various buildings and ancient dams and numerous villages in different parts of the country. The works that have emerged from the writings of archaeologists and orientalists shed light on the fact that art and architecture have been rooted in this region since 5,000 years ago.

Iranian architecture has features that are of special value compared to the architecture of other countries in the world; Features such as proper design, accurate calculations, correct form of covering, observance of technical and scientific issues in the building, high porches, tall columns and finally various decorations, each of which at the same time simply represents the glory of Iranian architecture.

In Iranian architecture, despite features such as the fit and beauty of the doors, domes and porches, the feature that is most worthy of study is the essence of Iranian architecture and its mathematical and mystical logic. The introversion and tendency of Iranian architects towards courtyards, paddocks, garden pits, porches and pergolas that surround the naves has long been part of Iranian logic.

Before Persepolis was built, hundreds of porches and naves with wooden and stone columns were built all over the civilized world of that day, but for the first time in Persepolis we see that the columns are as far apart as possible, although in some From ancient temples outside Iran (for example, Egypt) the distance between the two pillars is something like their diameter, but a little less.

The Iranian architect was able to create the widest openings with a cast of scales and create various and fun arrangements; In such a way that the two-story building is so far apart that it is as if the lower floor was added to it later.

One of the advantages of Iranian architecture is that a homogeneous geometric place has never been used for covering, and it is clear from the terms and names of arches and domes in Persian that they have paid more attention to the shape of ovals, eggs and baits.

Iranian architectural stylistics

Befor Islam

Persian style: is the name of one of the Iranian architectural styles. The Persian style has been the dominant style of Iranian architecture in the Achaemenid historical period. Pasargad, Silk, Choghaznabil, and Persepolis are examples of this style. The Persian style is the first Iranian architectural style that covers the Achaemenid period until Alexander’s invasion of Iran, ie from the sixth century BC to the fourth century. The name of this method is derived from the Persian dynasty that ruled the vast country of Iran in those days. [4]

The Achaemenid kings used the skills and mastery of the artists of the countries under their command in a wide area of ​​their land, and for this reason, the influence of other nations can be seen in the works of Iranian architecture and industry during the Achaemenid period. The material and the Egyptians served, and the building materials came from afar. The use of the experiences and traditions of the dependent nations, not in the form of imitation and obedience, but in the form of recreation and creative inspiration, is not specific to the Achaemenid period, but the Medes also used the experience of the “Uratuians” before. Achaemenid architecture was a continuation of a national art. The originality of this art was manifested in the palace of “Kiaksar”, the king of the Medes in Hamedan, and Cyrus later built the palace of Pasargadae, eighty kilometers from Persepolis. It is safe to say that Persepolis is one of the largest and most extensive buildings that was built before the advent of iron and had many wooden roofs and columns. The roof of the building is made of Lebanese cedar and oak, and is supported by fringed barns that adorned their ornate capitals.

Parthian style:

The architectural style continued in this period from the fourth century BC to the beginning of Islam; Which includes different periods.

Parthian or Parthian period

The Parthians or Parthians came to power in Iran after the Seleucids around 250 BC.

In the beginning, they followed the Greek style of art. But after a while, they showed interest in the art of architecture, especially in the traditional and national architecture of Iran. During the Parthian period, architecture took its main basis from the customs and principles of the nomadic Parthian tribes in setting up camps.

The central rectangular courtyards with their four-sided porches were taken to Mesopotamia as a manifestation of Parthian architecture. In this period of official Iranian architecture, the construction of domes became common.

In Parthian architecture, after the Parthian government flourished, much attention was paid to the façade of the building, and they tried to focus the works of art on the walls. The mural was developed and the decorations were a mixture of painting and bedding, a beautiful example of which is found in the temple of Mount Khajeh in the middle of Lake Hamoon in Sistan. In their architecture, the Parthians used rocking arches, arches, and arches with rubble and decorative reliefs.

One of the features of architecture and art of this period is the transfer of some elements of architecture and art that has been transferred to the Byzantine and Sassanid periods. Perhaps the history of “arched” architecture, which is very famous in Iran, started from the Parthian period and evolved during the Sassanid period, an example of which is in the arched building located at the foot of Patagh mountain next to Kermanshah road to Sarpol-e Zahab. It is a rocking arch, it can be seen. Also, the construction of Anahita Temple in Kangavar, which is located on the road between Hamedan and Kermanshah and belongs to the Parthian period, is one of the masterpieces of Parthian architecture.

Sassanian era

The Sassanids recognized the religion of Zoroaster and created an art that was equal in greatness to Roman and Byzantine art and sometimes superior to it. The best way to arch arched square buildings in Iranian and even Western architecture belongs to the Sassanids. The art of the architects of that period was to cover large distances with hard materials, some of the principles of Sassanid architecture that paved the way for the development of “Gothic” architecture in Europe.

In the architectural art collection of this period, there is a special unity and connection that is the basis of dome architecture, and porches, arches, rooms and rocking arches, which are often located around one or more courtyards, bedding arts, masonry and murals, building decorations. They include the Sassanids. In the diversity of Sassanid works, the influence of neighbors has been well revealed. Among the mosaic images obtained from Firoozabad Palace, it has been mosaic by the Roman method. In these mosaics, images of many musicians and other human beings are painted in the Iranian style. Other decorations of this period include Sassanid stone carvings. The carvings of this period are unique in their kind, such as the carved motifs of Bostan Arch in Kermanshah and Naqsh-e Rostam.


In general, Sassanid architecture was based on traditional architecture and arose for the arid regions of central and eastern Iran. This means that in Sassanid buildings, including palaces and fire temples, dome coverings and the construction of porches with multiplicative arches and four special arches for fire temples were common and the basis of architecture at that time. A number of Sassanid buildings whose remains are left, such as Firoozabad palaces, Sarvestan palaces in Fars and Ivan Madain in Ctesiphon, Karkheh porch in Khuzestan, as well as fire temples with the letters “Mill Hill” between Tehran and Varamin, Niasar fire temple in Kashan, Azargashsab fire temple in Takht-e Soleiman and Chahar Ghapi in Qasr Shirin largely reveal the architectural situation in the Sassanid period. There is such a correlation between the Parthian and Sassanid architectural style in the foundation of buildings that a group of experts still attribute some of the works to The results of these two periods were questionable. For example, the attribution of Median Palace in Ctesiphon to one of these two periods has not yet been definitively commented.

Islamic era

After the extinction of the last Sassanid king (Yazdgerd III), a new era in Iranian culture, art and especially architecture took place.

After Islam spread to Iran, the architecture of our nation adapted to the new religion. Instead of Sassanid fire temples, mosques and minarets were built to invite people to Islam and pray. Common decorations in ancient Iranian architecture with all their features from plaster and decoration with glazed tiles, etc. were transferred to Islamic architecture of Iran. The Islamic role of Iranian mosques is the same as the Sassanid ivy that can be found in the Bostan arch.

From the beginning of Iran’s conversion to Islam, many Iranian traditions, including its architectural tradition, became popular among Islamic rulers along with the “Byzantine” influences. As many palaces of the Umayyad caliphs, including the palace of “Al-Hair” and “Mashateh” is more inspired by the Iranian style and its ornaments have followed Iran.

The architecture of each nation and each period reflects the way of thinking, worldview and traditions of that nation. The stronger the cultural foundations of a nation, the more stable the art and architecture of that nation and the less fluctuations it will have. The art of architecture is undoubtedly one of the most obvious manifestations of the civilization of any nation.

After the arrival of Islam in Iran and the passage of various historical periods, Iranian architecture gradually changed to a more modern form, among which we deal with the Safavid, Qajar and Pahlavi periods.

Safavid era

The Safavid era is one of the most glorious fields of historical architecture in Iran and with its unique architects and engineers has played a significant role in the development of Iranian architecture that elegance and precision in architecture has reached its peak. Among the architects and artists of the Safavid era should be Sheikh Baha’i He mentioned that his immortal works of architecture in Isfahan are world famous and there were hundreds of other unknown architects and engineers in this period, some of whose names are preserved in the inscriptions of buildings. Most of the works of this period are religious architectures that have continued in the Qajar period after that. 11

Iran’s greater connection with the West led Iranian architects to combine specific elements of Iranian architecture with Western enlightenment and special attention, and to create works that were artistically pleasing.

For example, the entrance hall of large houses in that period with stairs that start from the middle of this hall, and continue from the pedestal to the two branches in opposite directions to each other, which is the influence of Russian architecture and became popular from the middle of Nasreddin Shah’s reign.

Exterior architecture was combined with Iranian decorative designs such as tiling, mirror work and plastering, which shows a corner of Qajar architecture.

The creation of basements with beautiful designs and multiplicative brick coverings, the installation of basins, the use of windbreaks to cool the spaces, and the construction of large halls with palaces and pavilions and earrings all became more and more pleasant.

The construction of the wind deflectors was simple at first and consisted of only a vent opening decorated with beautiful tiles, then it gradually went through the stages of perfection. As their evolved form, it has two floors and eight vents from four directions and directs the flow of air and air from these openings into the building. In palace architecture, the construction of windbreaks decorated with tiles and gold domes in the mansion has been a pillar of original Iranian architecture.

Residential buildings of the Qajar period with a design including the central room of the porch (Badoston in front of it) and smaller rooms located around the central room in simple or detailed forms, all in the style of original Iranian architecture in ancient times, which in this period with newer initiatives And are well completed. The painted tiles of the Qajar period are often insignificant and artistically poor, and are only incomplete imitations of the works of the last century.

Although Nasser al-Din Shah sent some painters to study in the museums of Rome and Paris, and some of these painters made progress in their art, the simple tile workers could not make good use of their work. The art of tiling became “modernized.”

In and around Tehran, several important examples of Qajar architecture can be seen: One is the tomb of Hazrat Abdolazim in the city of Rey, whose mausoleum and golden dome are remarkable. The complex of this holy place has a high mirror entrance porch and porch and several golden courtyards and domes and two tiled minarets, a porch and a mosque.

From the Qajar period, Timcheh and large markets with good coverings are available in Tehran and other big cities, which are admirable both in terms of the art of bricklaying and tiling and in terms of the width of the arches.

Another Qajar art is large paintings on the walls; Although the influence of European art is often seen in these paintings, it is remarkable overall.

During the Qajar period, wall painting replaced miniatures. During this period, the Persian painting style was introduced to Iran by Iranians who had gone to Italy.



The first widespread acquaintance of Iranians with “European architecture” took place during the Qajar period, and the tendency to imitate and create similar buildings arose among the Qajar aristocracy and then the medieval people. The Qajarids became acquainted with European architecture through photographs and postcards, and so the buildings of this period were created without a thorough knowledge of the rules of European style. Under the influence of European architecture, spatial creations in Qajar architecture increased compared to previous styles of Iranian architecture, and the spaces became more open and light compared to the old patterns. In 1243 A.D. (1864), Motahaneh Doleh returned to Iran as the first educated Iranian architect in Europe, and the construction of important buildings, including the Sepahsalar Mosque and School and the National Assembly, was referred to him. However, it could not make a significant change in the architecture of its time.

In the early days of Reza Shah, following modernist programs, different tendencies emerged against traditional architecture, led by Iranian-educated European architects and European architects invited to Iran by the government. Their architecture was a direct reflection of modern European architectural developments. They replaced the old methods with new materials, especially concrete, steel and glass, and innovative methods of construction. The most important of these changes was the use of concrete, which provided Iranian architects with unprecedented structural and aesthetic facilities. The greatest goal of the architects of this era was to change the traditional methods of construction to the modern methods of the world and to promote modern architecture in Reza Shahi Iran.

In 1319, the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Tehran was established in three disciplines, including architecture. In the following years, the first architecture graduates of the University of Tehran inherited the first generation of Iranian architects, all of whom were educated in Europe. They were the most influential group in establishing the principles and concepts of modern architecture in Iran. Other factors in the development of modern architecture were the beginning of town construction and mass housing in the 1920s and 1930s. Until the mid-1320s, residential units in cities and villages were built more in the traditional way and using local materials such as clay, wood and thatch. But with the end of World War II, a movement began to build new housing units using materials such as brick, beam, and concrete. Until 1335, new residential units constituted forty-four percent of the city of Rey, and by 1345 this ratio increased to fifty-six percent. In the 1340s and 1350s, the trend towards modern architecture through the construction of houses and residential complexes was at its peak.

Islamic Revolution

The work of architects after the Islamic Revolution of Iran covers a wide range of artistic tendencies and movements and tries to lead Iranian architecture towards a free identity. The main tendency of Iranian architects has been architecture in the direction of cultural heritage and traditional Iranian architecture.

Young Iranian architects work in other fields. Among their architectural features is the tendency to computers and media. These architects, in line with Western architectural currents, have no worries other than escaping the domination of modern architecture. Avoiding this generation of modern architecture, unlike their predecessors, does not mean that they are interested in reconciling this form of architecture with traditional Iranian architecture, and therefore they can be considered neo-modern.

Prominent examples of Iranian architecture from the past to the present

Mosian Hill

The most important and oldest columned building is HASANLU fort in northwestern Iran (located south of Lake Urmia). The caves d

ug in the heart of the mountains also have stone pillars. These columns were either erected to support the roof or had ritual uses. These columns, along with the stone carvings inside the tombs, show the belief of the people of that time in the world after death.

Hassanloo castel

Medieval architecture was the era of massive construction with strong stone columns. The Medes, who defeated the powerful Assyrian government in Mesopotamia in the 7th century BC, formed an independent government whose capital (Hegmataneh) was present-day Hamedan. The Medes formed the first government of Iran, which lasted about two hundred years. Their architecture is very simple, but it has features that can be considered the foundation of Iranian architecture. As the architecture of the Medes has influenced the art of Iran’s neighbors for centuries.

The construction of huge forts with barns, congresses, gates and hiding places (underground and secret roads) became popular in Iran from the time of the Medes. These forts were located within the fortifications of the city and were the main place of rulers and courtiers during the war or foreign invasion.

Of course, at that time, luxurious temples and halls were also built for official ceremonies. The exterior of these places was simple but rough, and from the inside arrangements for resistance to attack, hurricanes and even earthquakes were predicted. It is interesting to know examples of this type of castle building until the twelfth century. AH was made in Iran and still exists.


In Iranian architecture, seven important methods have been defined, two of which belong to before the arrival of Islam in Iran. Persian style and party style.

In the sixth century BC, a vast empire emerged in Iran, Cyrus II, one of the Achaemenid princes, first gathered Persia, Media and other Iranian tribes and then took steps to open the country and also to settle Iran. Cyrus called on architects and artists from all over the vast country of Iran to build unique buildings to honor him and his government. The artists, selected from many countries, together created art that had a Persian color and smell, but also included all the manifestations of the art of its predecessors.

In this style of architecture, the best and most quality materials were always used. For covering the palaces of gamers in Persepolis, kunar (cedar) wood was provided from Lebanon or teak and sandalwood from Kandahar. Most of the buildings of this period were erected on a hand-made platform, which was specific to Iranian architecture.


Before the construction of Persepolis, many halls and columned buildings were built in the world, but in none of them is the distance between two columns like this building. The distance between the columns of Persepolis is sometimes about 6.5 meters, which has not been seen before.

Also, the use of hard stones with metal fasteners allowed Iranian architects to increase the height of the column to 22 meters. In the buildings of this period, an effort was made not to use any symmetry and not to disturb the uniformity of the viewer’s eye.

During the Achaemenid period, there was a fort around the buildings that made it more beautiful. The use of wooden capitals on stone columns is another architectural delicacy of the Persian period. Also, the lighting of the building at night was provided by lights on the roof of the building. Porches with several rows of columns were located in front of the building, which sometimes existed on two or three sides of the building.


The oldest surviving building from the Achaemenid period is Pazargad, located 48 km from Persepolis in central Iran. The site consists of a temple with stone pillars, a stone tower known as Suleiman’s Prison, several small buildings, and a mausoleum with a sloping roof.

A close look at these buildings shows that although they are completely “separated”, they are designed according to a calculated plan. The architecture and masonry of these buildings are similar to Greek architecture and all of them have paved floors and the upper part of the walls is made of clay. Attached to the ceiling.


The decoration of these buildings with glazed tiles and stone is a combination of Mesopotamian, Elamite, Greek and Iranian architectural style. But at the end of Darius’ reign, he simplified these buildings and ordered the construction of a palace nearby. In cuneiform inscriptions, the name of the place was written as “Parsa” or “Parseh” which was the name of the state, but later it was called “Persiolis”. The palace withstood various events, one of the main reasons being the construction of stone.


The area where Persepolis was built has an area of ​​13 hectares and is divided into three parts: the main area, a building at a higher location and buildings on the lower plain.


But today, if you visit this place, you will see its stone ossification, because everything has collapsed. Most of the surviving reliefs are carved to a relatively smaller scale at the bottom of the walls, depicting the atmosphere of the Achaemenid court and the way of life of its kings. 72 columns about 20 meters high with capitals painted on the heads of animals. The winged or horned lions with painted wings are the most important motifs on the walls of the palaces of Persepolis. Some of its walls reach five and a half meters and stones weighing 45 tons have been used in its construction, Persepolis has a heating and ventilation system, underground water supply pipes, and winding sewage.


Of course, this place was not an administrative or political place, and apparently it was built “to express glory and possibly boasting and causing panic among foreigners. In the Achaemenid era, the beginning of the New Year (Nowruz) and formal and detailed parties were held in Persepolis. In this ceremony, gifts were presented to obey and express allegiance to the government, images of which were engraved on the walls of the palaces, and two huge stairs that stretched from the plain to the Apadana Palace were decorated with these motifs. These include weapons, lions, metal vases, horses, and delicate clothing and fabrics.


Another hall with 99 columns, known as the “One Hundred Columns” hall, was the location of the treasury of the Achaemenid rule, many valuable works of which have been obtained. Sculptures and tools that illuminate part of the culture of that time for us. Archaeologists believe that the realism of Achaemenid architecture can be found in fewer periods of world architecture, as the attempt to represent nature in a relative way, especially in the stone carvings of buildings, is evident in all buildings.


One hundred columns

Before Alexander the Great set fire to Persepolis in 331 BC, he ordered its valuable treasures to be transported to Greece. The bulk of the shipment was gold bars, and the rest was works of art, jewelry, furniture, carpets and weapons. But in this great plain, there are still stone columns and delicate and beautiful carvings, and it has withstood fire, wind and the passage of time to be a testament to Iranian art throughout history.