Kashan is part of the Isfahan province, which is located in central Iran. It is known as the cultural gem of Isfahan, as the city still retains many of its traditional architecture. Plus, it boasts an ancient Persian culture. Entering Kashan is like a walk through a time capsule — you get to see a glimpse of the city as it would have been in its past. Once under the rule of the Safavid dynasty, the buildings and architecture built between the 16th to 18th centuries were largely replaced by the subsequent ruling family, the Qajar dynasty. Unfortunately, a massive earthquake in 1778 destroyed many of the city’s structures. Although the city had to rebuild itself, it still retained the splendor of the bygone era. Here’s a rundown of the top things to do in Kashan, Iran.
1. Marvel at the magnificent Agha Bozorg Mosque
The symmetrical architecture, intricate details and cultural significance of the Agha Bozorg Mosque make it the top destination of choice on this list. Built in the late 18th-century, the mosque is not only the site for religious worship, but also houses a theological school within its compounds. The mosque is decorated with beautiful teal, burnt red and cobalt blue coloured tiles, which will certainly leave you in awe of the detailed workmanship that has gone into the mosque.
Agha Bozorg Mosque
Address: Isfahan Province, Kashan, Al-Masjid Aqa Buzurg Alley, Iran
Opening hours: 9:30am - 7pm (daily)
2. Take a tour of the historical Kashan Bazaar
The Kashan Bazaar has been the main trading and shopping destination for over 800 years. It has seen changes in the ruling dynasties, as well as changes in the architectural styles. Within the complex, you’ll find buildings that have been built in different time periods. As you admire the traditional structures, there’s also no shortage of trendy items to look at.
The main attraction in the Kashan Bazaar, however, is the Amin al-Dowleh Timche, a spectacular light dome that adds a whimsical quality to the bazaar. The beautiful geometric tiling design and hallway structures surround the dome as light pours in to illuminate the bazaar. This is one structure you must capture on camera!
Address: Isfahan Province, Kashan, Bazaar of Kashan, Iran
Opening hours: Sat - Thu: 9:30am - 12pm, 5pm - 8:30pm (closed on Fri)
3. Explore the beautiful Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse
The Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse was one of the structures damaged by the earthquake that occured in the 18th century. Originally built in the 16th century during the Safavid dynasty, the bathhouse had to undergo major reconstruction during the Qajar dynasty in the 18th century.
The bathhouse was also a place for social gatherings. The Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse features two sections, the sarbineh (dressing hall) and the garmkhaneh (hot bathing hall). While the bathhouse no longer serves its original purpose, it is a popular tourist destination for one to get a feel of how people interacted and lived in the past.
Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse
Address: Alavi Street, Kashan 87134, Iran
Opening hours: 8am - 6:30pm (daily)
4. Reconnect with nature at the UNESCO-listed Fin Garden
The Fin Garden holds a mixture of both natural and man-made elements, and was built in the early 16th century. It is the oldest garden to date in Iran. What’s interesting is that it is a Persian garden, which means it has very specific features that are unique to the Persian architectural design that sets it apart from gardens around the world.
The garden features a central yard and is divided by four waterways, a design principle that was popular during the time. It also contains bathhouses, and one bathhouse, in particular, has a darker history to it.
The Fin bathhouse was said to be the place where Amin Kabir, then chancellor of Qajarid, was killed by an assassin sent by King Nasereddin Shah in the mid 19th-century. The backdrop of politics, architecture and greenery makes the Fin Garden a unique historical site.
Address: Amir Kabir Street, Kashan 87134, Iran
Opening hours: Sat - Thu: 9am - 4pm (closed on Fri)
5. Participate in the Rosewater Festival
Iran is the world’s top producer of rosewater, which is used in cosmetic products, food products as well as for religious purposes across Europe and Asia. Every May, Kashan holds a Rosewater Festival, in conjunction with the harvesting and production season for rose and rosewater. People from all over the world come to the city to witness the production process of rosewater or simply to admire the beauty of rose farms in Kashan.
Book a local tour to visit a village in Kashan, where you’ll get to see a different side of Kashan. The trips to one of these villages are usually highly immersive, as the locals walk you through their production process. Besides, it will be a fantastic opportunity to interact with local villagers and farmers.
6. Learn about Iran's ancient civilization at Tepe Sialk
Tepe Sialk is a prehistoric archaeological excavation site that was first discovered in 1933. Scholars have verified that the oldest settlements in the Sialk date to around 6000 to 5000 BC, with a total of 6 phases of inhabitants making Tepe Sialk their home throughout history.
The Tepe Sialk settlement was thought to be an ideal home ground due to the presence of a large water source that still runs to the region today. Tepe Sialk is a popular tourist destination where you can view the excavation sites and learn more about the history of Iran’s ancient civilization through a museum at the Sialk.
Address: Pres d'Amir Kabir Street rue perpendiculaire côté nord d'Amir Kabir Street, Kashan 87134 Iran
7. Step back in time at Abbasi House
The 18th-century Abbasi House is located in the heart of Kashan. It took over 20 years to complete this house, and the attention to detail that the workers and artisans have put in designing this house is simply unbelievable and Instagram-worthy, too.
Spanning a total of 7000 sqm (75347 sq. ft.), some of the features of the Abbasi House include the winter and summer residences, pavilions, large halls to entertain guests, and praying rooms. Once an exclusive house for the wealthy, it is now converted into a museum.
Address: Soltan Amir Ahmad District, Alavi Street, Kashan 87134, Iran
Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)
8. Visit the 19th-century Tabatabaei House
The Tabatabaei House is another historic house you cannot miss! Built in the 19th-century, the house was built by Seyed Jafar Tabatabaei, a wealthy carpet merchant for his family. The design of the house was heavily inspired by the imagery of the Homa (Spinx), a mythical creature.
Homa also happens to be the name of Seyed Jafar Tabatabaei’s wife, whom he loved very much. Known as ‘the bride’ among the historic houses of Kashan, the Tabatabaei house is a must-visit for its intricate, delicate and intimate display of a husband’s love for his wife.
Address: Alavi Street depuis la rue Alavi, prendre une ruelle perpendiculaire, côté ouest, Kashan 87134 Iran
Opening hours: 9am - 6:30pm (daily)
9. Learn about the history of puppets at Puppet & Toy Museum Guesthouse
Before computer games, iPads, and social media took over, how did children play and interact with one another? The Puppet & Toy Museum Guesthouse has preserved the traditional toys from Kashan. The toys and puppets are more than just children’s play items. They each come with a unique story, as the puppets were used in storytelling and folk songs to educate and entertain the kids.
At the museum, not only do you get to see some of the oldest puppets, but it also has a series of activities for you to fully experience the history of puppets. Puppet shows and toy-making workshops are some of the interesting activities that you can partake in.
Puppet & Toy Museum Guesthouse
Address: XCGQ+79R, Kashan, Isfahan Province, Iran
Opening hours: 9:30am - 7:30pm (daily)
10. Check out the artefacts of ancient Kashan at Taj Historical House
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
The Taj Historical House was built 200 years ago during the Qajar Dynasty. Originally a wealthy nobleman’s house, the house has been transformed into an artist house today. Artists from all over Iran come together and work here. The house also has an anthropology museum with artefacts of ancient Kashan.
Taj Historical House
Address: Isfahan Province, Kashan, Alavi Street, Iran
Kashan is the cultural jewel of Iran
With it’s spectacular Persian architecture, rich history and culture, and unique local sites to explore, Kashan is a must-visit city in Iran. If you’re passing through, check out our above list of the top things to do in Kashan, Iran.
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