Iran’s Kerman Province: Mahan – Shazdeh Garden

The tradition and style in the design of Persian Gardens (Persian باغ ایرانی Bāgh-e Irāni) has influenced the design of gardens from Andalusia to India and beyond.

Shazdeh Garden meaning Prince’s Garden (in Farsi: Bagh-e Shazdeh) is a historical Persian garden located 6km away from the city of Mahan in Kerman province, Iran. It is a rectangular green oasis surrounded by brown desert and a good example of Persians gardens that take advantage of suitable natural climate.

It was built originally for Mohammad Hasan Khan Qajar Sardari Iravani ca. 1850 and was extended ca. 1870 by the governor of Kerman, Abdolhamid Mirza Naserodoleh, during the eleven years of his governorship in the Qajar dynasty. Its location was selected strategically as it was placed on the way between the Bam Citadel and Kerman.

The construction was left unfinished, due to the death of Abdolhamid Mirza in the early 1890s. It is rumored that upon hearing the news of the Governor’s death, the masons immediately abandoned their work and as a result the main entrance still shows some unfinished areas.

Shazdeh Garden is a rectangular shaped, 5.5 hectares areal surrounded by a wall. It consists of an entrance structure and gate at the lower end and a residential structure (once the summer palace of a now unknown prince) at the upper end. The distance between these two buildings has a collection of pools ornamented with water fountains. There are pavilions and a central canal. The residence is now mostly derelict but partly converted to a nice restaurant. The design looks best in an aerial photograph.

The garden itself consists of a variety of pine, cedar, elm, buttonwood and fruit trees which benefit from the appropriate soil, light breezes and qanat[1] water which enables such an environment in contrast to the dry surroundings.

The water enters the Garden at the upper end and while irrigating the trees and plants along its way, flows down through a series of steps and falls. On the two ends of the water path – meaning at the main entrance and the residential structure – there’s a pool that collects and subsequently redistributes the water. All together from top to bottom there are eight levels/falls along the water path.

In 1991, the premises were completely renovated due to the commemoration ceremony of Khaju Kermani. A traditional guesthouse has been constructed in the city center for tourists and visitors.

Some damage to the Garden was caused as a result of Kerman’s 2004 earthquake. In 2005 experts of the Research Center for Historical Sites and Structures were preparing documents to register Shazdeh Garden, amongst other gardens under the denomination “The Persian Garden”, on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It was finally inscribed in June of 2011.

Comments
[1] Qanat (or karez): The development of qanats probably began about 2.500 or 3.000 years ago in Iran and the technology spread eastward to Afghanistan and westward to Egypt. It is an ancient type of water-supply system, developed and still used in arid regions of the world. A qanat taps underground mountain water sources trapped in and beneath the upper reaches of alluvial fans and channels the water downhill through a series of gently sloping tunnels, often several kilometres long, to the places where it is needed for irrigation and domestic use. Although new qanats are seldom built today, many old qanats are still used in Iran and Afghanistan, chiefly for irrigation. (Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Sources: Wikipedia | Shazdeh Garden, Iran Tour Online, Historical Iranian sites and people | Shazdeh Garden, Wikimedia | Shazdeh Garden, IRNA | Photos, Wikipedia | Persian Gardens

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Jewish Lexicographer Soleiman Hayyim commemorated in Tehran, Iran

Persian literary monthly Bokhara paid tribute to Iranian Jewish lexicographer and translator, Soleiman HayyimThe Persian literary monthly Bokhara paid tribute to Iranian Jewish lexicographer and translator, Soleiman Hayyim (1887-1970) at the Mahmud Afshar Foundation on Sunday.

A number of literati including Managing Director of Bokhara Ali Dehbashi, the director of the Academy of Persian Language and Literature Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, and Department of Islamic Sciences of the Academy of Sciences of Iran Director Mostafa Mohaqqeq-Damad attended the ceremony, the Persian service of MNA reported on Monday.

Hayyim had studied at an American college and his English was good so he worked as a translator in the then ministry of finance, Dehbashi said.

It was during those years he felt a great need for an English-Persian bilingual dictionary, upon which he usually spent 8 hours a day, he added.

“Hayyim was expert in finding Persian synonyms for English words and phrases, and he was highly interested in Persian literature,” Dehbashi said.

His two-volume dictionaries especially the English-Persian one has been the first bilingual dictionary over the past years and has always been a good model for the future lexicographers, he stated.

Mostafa Mohaqqeq-Damad also gave a brief explanation about Hayyim and his works and efforts in compiling the dictionary.

Iranian Jewish Rabbi Younes Hamami Lalehzar who was also present at the ceremony talked about the recently-published Hayyim Persian-Hebrew Dictionary, which was introduced at the end of the ceremony, and said, “Hayyim had prepared the preliminaries for the dictionary and his manuscripts are still available.”

It took about 12 years to complete the dictionary, he added.

Lexicographer Mohammadreza Bateni, also attending the ceremony, said that almost all the dictionaries by Hayyim have been re-edited and refreshed.

The ceremony was brought to an end by unveiling the Hayyim Persian-Hebrew Dictionary.

Source: Payvand News of Iran

 

Iranian Prof. Behrokh Khoshnevis joins the US National Academy of Inventors (NAI)

Iranian professor joins US National Academy of Inventors

Professor Khoshnevis who is a Sharif Poly Technique University graduate, is well-known worldwide for his newly-developed three-dimensional building printing system.

An Iranian scholar and an associate professor at the University of South California joined the US National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

The NAI is an elite group of inventors which includes 21 Nobel laureates from across the world.

The institute brings together 414 leading inventors, 16 of whom have won the National Medal of Technology and Innovation and 10 have received the Great Seal of the US.

Dr. Khoshnevis who is Sharif Poly Technique University graduate is well-known worldwide for his newly-developed three-dimensional building printing system.

His robot system is able to construct a 2500-square feet building in 18-19 hours jointly with four other people.

He is now working on systems for quick construction of buildings on the moon and Mars.

….

He has several major inventions which have been either commercialized or are in the commercialization process. His educational activities at USC include the teaching of a graduate course on Invention and Technology Development. He routinely conducts lectures and seminars on the subject of invention. He is a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Fellow, a Fellow member of the Society for Computer Simulation, and a Fellow member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers. His inventions have received extensive worldwide publicity in acclaimed media such as New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Business Week, Der Spiegel, New Scientist, and national and international television and radio networks. Contour Crafting was selected as one of the top 25 out of more than 4000 candidate inventions by the History Channel Modern Marvels program and the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame; and has been identified as one of the major disruptive technologies of our time.

Sources:

IRAN FRONTPAGE

http://www.bkhoshnevis.com/

Photo gallery: Winter in Khalkhal-Asalem region in Iran in photos

Khalkhal is the capital of Khalkhal County, in Ardabil Province, Iran. Its population is 38.521 (2006). Asalem is a city in Talesh County, Gilan Province, Iran. Its population is 3.347 (2006).

The road from Asalem to Khalkhal is known for its beautiful landscapes. This region, not far from the Caspian Sea, attracts many visitors every year.

Tasnim News Agency on December 26 dedicated its Iran’s Beauties in Photos section to pictures from winter in the northern part of Iran. Take a look:

Sources: Wikipedia | Asalem, Wikipedia | Khalkhal, Iran Front Page

Photo gallery: Iran’s Tehran Province – Tochal Complex

Tochal Complex is located in Velenjak, North of Tehran, Iran and consists of many recreational and sports facilities.

Young woman snowboarding in Tochal, Iran

Young woman snowboarding in Tochal, Iran

The Tochal Telecabin Project started in 1974 and has been open to the public since 1978. It starts at the Velenjak valley in north of Tehran at an altitude of 1900m. and ends at the last station at an altitude of 3740m, near the main ridge of Mount Tochal. This 7500m long gondola lift is used for accessing ski resorts and other recreational centres on the mountain to enjoy this area’s beautiful landscape, mountain fresh air and a multitude of fresh water springs.

The gondola lift has four stations:
Station 1 is at an elevation of 1900m and located at the beginning of Velenjak valley (end of Velenjak Street). Parking, inns and some other facilities are available.
Station 2 is at 2400m and has very limited facilities.
Station 5 is at 2935 m. There is a restaurant and a rescue centre. This station is also accessible through several climbing paths like Shirpala shelter, Osoon valley and Palang-chal shelter. In order to get to Station 7 you have to change here.
Station 7 is at 3740 m. and very close to the Tochal main ridge. It is the last station of the gondola lift. This station is in the middle of the Tochal ski slope. The Tochal main peak is a 30-minute walk from this point. This station is also reachable from Hezar-cham climbing path from Station 5.

Tochal Skiing Resort is one of the popular recreational places in Tehran. The main ski slopes are located in Station 7:
Peak: This 1200m slope starts from the foot of Tochal (at 3850m) and ends at the hotel (3550m). There is one Doppelmayr chairlift and one teleski for transferring skiers and a half pipe. Because of the height of the ski slope in station 7 (more than 3500m above sea level), similar to the Alvares Ski Resort in Sabalan, Azarbaijan, Iran, these slopes are covered with snow for more than 8 months during the year.
Western Foothill: This slope is located on the western foothill of the Tochal Mountain. The length of the ski slope is 900m, having its peak at 3750m above sea level and its lowest spot at Tochal Hotel (3550m above sea level). A Poma chairlift is built in this slope for skiers.

Sources
wikipedia
Mehr News Agency
ISNA
Tasnim News Agency

Photo gallery: Christmas 2014 in Iran – Armenian Christmas Food

Every holiday has its own traditional food, in Iran or anywhere else in the world. Iranian Christians, including Armenians, celebrate Christmas and the Christian new year with special dishes, pastries and drinks.

Many Iranians are under the impression that Iranian Armenians, like many other Christians in the world — and especially Americans — celebrate the new year, Christmas and Easter by feasting on turkey. In fact, turkey is as  popular among Armenians as it is among other Iranians in general.

So what is an Armenian Christmas dinner like? The Iranian calendar year starts with the spring equinox, on March 20 or 21, and Iranians celebrate with a dish of herb rice and fish. As it happens, this dish is also a staple of the Armenian Christmas dinner in Iran.

But the Armenian Christmas table has other dishes as well. A key part of the meal is vegetable kuku, an Iranian dish consisting of eggs, vegetables, herbs and sometimes nuts and dried berries. If you ask an Armenian where this tradition comes from the answer is more often than not “I don’t know”.

“On their Christmas eve, Iranian Armenians often dine on rice, fish and vegetable kuku,” writes the Iranian Armenian writer and documentary filmmaker Robert Safarian. “Since childhood we thought that this was a Christmas tradition until the borders to Armenia opened and we learned that there is no dish in Armenia called vegetable kuku. It is an Iranian dish that  has become an Armenian tradition.”

Armenian Christmas pastries follow a tradition too. The two most well known and popular ones are perok (or pirok) marmalade cake and gata pastry. In the past, these two dishes were only popular among Armenians but now they are among the highest-selling pastries in Tehran confectionaries.

Coins of Fortune

Gata varies in its ingredients, size and in how it is decorated, depending on the region or the cook’s preferences. It consists of layers of dough with alternating layers of butter or margarine. Ingredients include flour, sugar, butter, eggs, yeast, milk and salt. Sometimes rosewater or spices such as cardamom are added, though they are not part of the standard recipe. After about an hour in the oven, the layers rise and the final gata takes shape.

One of the most popular variations of gata is made with nuts, especially walnuts. Sometimes a coin is hidden at the center of the gata and the belief is that fortune will smile on whoever finds the coin in her or his gata.

Gata is generally known as a sweet pastry but a salty version is popular too; many Armenian households prepare them for Christmas or the new year.

Perok, the other favorite holiday pastry, is made from a dough very similar to that used to make pie. Its center consists of marmalade; variations in perok are defined by the type of marmalade used.

The ingredients for perok are: pastry flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder, vanilla, grated orange peel, grated walnut, and marmalade. First you mix the butter and sugar, then add eggs one by one as you continue to mix. Then mix flour, baking powder, vanilla, grated orange peel and walnuts together in a separate bowl. For the third step, pour the contents of the bowl into a mixer. After a short while, turn the mixer off and continue to combine the ingredients by hand. Put about one-fourth of the dough aside and place the rest in a Pyrex dish and cover it with marmalade.

Cut the dough you have put aside into narrow ribbons and place them on the marmalade surface, making an “X” pattern. Put into an oven pre-heated to about 175 degrees centigrade and bake for about 40 minutes, or when the perok is golden.

Do-It-Yourself Wine

Like many Christians in the world, cookies and chocolates shaped like Christmas trees, Santa Claus or other symbols of the holiday are popular with Armenians. Families put them under Christmas trees and give them to children as treats and gifts.

You must add coffee and wine to this feast — they have a religious significance for all Christians. Under the Islamic Republic of Iran, trade in alcoholic beverages is forbidden, so the Armenian community makes its own wine and other alcoholic drinks. The law allows religious minorities to make wine for religious purposes.

One last point. The Armenians celebrate Christmas on January 6, so after the new year. As to why, well, that is another story, as they say.

This article was originally published in IranWire

Photo gallery: Christmas 2014 in Iran – Christmas Shopping

Mirza Shirazi Avenue, formerly known as Nader Shah, is located in one of the main Armenian neighborhoods in Tehran. At the moment, the avenue is decorated for Christmas and the approaching new year. Shop windows display Santa Claus dolls and the sidewalks are filled with pine trees, which will decorate the homes of Iranian Christians.

But Christmas is not only visible in this central Tehran street. It is also being celebrated in the east Tehran neighborhood of Majidieh, where many residents are preparing for Christmas and the new year period, now just a few days away.

Every year, starting in late November, shops in the two streets are decorated with gifts, pine trees, Santa Claus dolls and other seasonal items —  and shoppers are ready.

Pictures of Christmas Season in different Iranian cities. Click the photos to open them in enlarged gallery mode:

“From the first day of Azar (November 22), we get ready and make sure we have the merchandise,” says K., a shopkeeper on Mirza Shirazi Avenue. […] “The shoppers are not only Armenians and Christians. Many Muslims buy pine trees, Santa Clauses and other Christmas items and celebrate the holidays,” he explains. “They say it is a joyous and beautiful celebration. I don’t find it unusual, because Armenians celebrate the Iranian new year and participate in some Muslim religious ceremonies as well.” […]

“If you have an Armenian friend, remember not to call him on December 25, when all the radios and TVs and newspapers talk about Christmas and congratulate Christians on the birth of Jesus,” wrote the Armenian writer and documentary filmmaker Robert Safarian on his blog a few years ago. “The Armenian Christmas is on January 6, when probably nobody calls anyone to celebrate the holiday.”

“On their Christmas Eve, Iranian Armenians often dine on rice, fish and vegetable kuku (an Iranian dish made with whipped eggs, vegetables and herbs),” wrote Safarian. “Since childhood, we thought that this was a Christmas tradition until the borders to Armenia were opened and we learned that there is no dish in Armenia called vegetable kuku. It is an Iranian dish that has become an Armenian tradition.”

Because religious occasions in Iran are observed according to the Islamic lunar calendar, this year’s Christmas coincides with a mourning period for Muslims, and Shias in particular. But Iranian Christians have not encountered any restrictions in their preparations for Christmas and the new year. It continues to be a celebration that manifests itself in color and light in a few streets in the center of the Iranian capital.
This text is part of an article published on IranWire

Sources
DeutscheWelle
IranWire