Abbas the Great
Shāh Abbās the Great or Shāh Abbās I of Persia was the 5th Safavid Shah of Iran, is considered the strongest ruler of the Safavid dynasty. He was the third son of Shah Mohammad Khodabanda. Although Abbas would preside over the apex of Iran's military and economic power, he came to the throne during a troubled time for the Safavid Empire. Under his weak-willed father, the country was riven with discord between the different factions of the Qizilbash army, who killed Abbas' mother and elder brother. Meanwhile, Iran's enemies, the Ottoman Empire and the Uzbeks, exploited this political chaos to seize territory for themselves. In 1588, one of the Qizilbash leaders, Murshid Qoli Khan, overthrew Shah Mohammed in a coup and placed the 16-year-old Abbas on the throne, but Abbas was no soon seized power for himself. Under his leadership, Abbas created numerous opportunities for thousands of Circassians and Armenians to join the civil administration and the military. With the help of these newly created layers in Iranian society, Abbas managed to crush and diminish the power of the Qizilbash in the civil administration, the royal house and the military.
These actions, as well as his reforms of the Iranian army, enabled him to fight the Ottomans and Uzbeks and reconquer Iran's lost provinces. By the end of the 1603-1618 Ottoman War, Abbas had regained possession over Transcaucasia and Dagestan, as well as swaths of Eastern Anatolia and Mesopotamia, he took back land from the Portuguese and the Mughals and expanded Iranian rule and influence in the North Caucasus, beyond the traditional territories of Dagestan. Abbas was a great builder and moved his kingdom's capital from Qazvin to Isfahan, making the city the pinnacle of Safavid architecture. In his years, following a court intrigue involving several leading Circassians, Abbas became suspicious of his own sons and had them killed or blinded. Abbas was born in Herat as the third son of the royal prince Mohammad Khodabanda and his wife Khayr al-Nisa Begum, the daughter of the Marashi ruler of the Mazandaran province, who claimed descent from the fourth Shi'a Imam Zayn al-Abidin. At the time of his birth, Abbas' grandfather Shah Tahmasp I was the Shah of Iran.
Abbas' parents gave him to be nursed by Khani Khan Khanum, the mother of the governor of Herat, Ali-Qoli Khan Shamlu. When Abbas was four, Tahmasp sent Abbas' father to stay in Shiraz where the climate was better for his fragile health. Tradition dictated that at least one prince of the royal blood had to reside in Khorasan, so Tahmasp appointed Abbas as the nominal governor of the province, despite his young age, Abbas was left behind in Herat. In 1578, Abbas' father became Shah of Iran. Abbas' mother soon came to dominate the government, but she had little time for Abbas, preferring to promote the interests of his elder brother Hamza; the queen consort antagonised leaders of the powerful Qizilbash army, who plotted against her and murdered her on 26 July 1579 for having an affair with Adil Giray, brother of the Crimean Tatar khan, held captive in Qazvin. Mohammad was a weak sovereign, incapable of preventing Iran's main rivals, the Ottoman Empire, but the Uzbeks, from invading the country or stopping factional feuding among the Qizilbash.
The young prince, was more promising and led a campaign against the Ottomans, but he was murdered suspiciously in 1586. Attention now turned to Abbas. At the age of 14, Abbas had come under the guardianship of Murshid Qoli Khan, one of the Qizilbash leaders in Khorasan; when a large Uzbek army invaded Khorasan in 1587, Murshid decided the time was right to overthrow Shah Mohammad. He rode to the Safavid capital Qazvin with the young prince and pronounced him king on 16 October 1587. Mohammad made no objection against his deposition and handed the royal insignia over to his son during the following year on 1 October 1588. Abbas was 17 years old; the kingdom Abbas inherited was in a desperate state. The Ottomans had seized vast territories in the west and the north-west and the Uzbeks had overrun half of Khorasan in the north-east. Iran itself was riven by fighting between the various factions of the Qizilbash, who had mocked royal authority by killing the queen in 1579 and the grand vizier Mirza Salman Jabiri in 1583.
First, Abbas settled his score with his mother's killers, executing three of the ringleaders of the plot and exiling four others. His next task was to free himself from the power of Murshid Qoli Khan. Murshid made Abbas marry Hamza's widow and a Safavid cousin, began distributing important government posts among his own friends confining Abbas to the palace. Meanwhile, the Uzbeks continued their conquest of Khorasan; when Abbas heard they were besieging his old friend Ali Qoli Khan Shamlu in Herat, he pleaded with Murshid to take action. Fearing a rival, Murshid did nothing until the news came that Herat had fallen and the Uzbeks had slaughtered the entire population. Only did he set out on campaign to Khorasan, but Abbas planned to avenge the death of Ali Qoli Khan and he arranged for four Qizilbash leaders to kill Murshid after a banquet on 23 July 1589. With Murshid gone, Abbas could now rule Iran in his own right. Abbas decided. To this end he made a humiliating peace treaty – known as the Treaty of Istanbul – with the Ottomans in 1589/90, ceding them the provinces of Aze
Isfahan is a city in Iran. It is located 406 kilometres south of Tehran, is the capital of Isfahan Province. Isfahan has a population of 1.6 million, making it the third largest city in Iran after Tehran and Mashhad, but was once one of the largest cities in the world. Isfahan is an important city as it is located at the intersection of the two principal north–south and east–west routes that traverse Iran. Isfahan flourished from 1050 to 1722 in the 16th and 17th centuries under the Safavid dynasty when it became the capital of Persia for the second time in its history under Shah Abbas the Great. Today the city retains much of its past glory, it is famous for its Perso–Islamic architecture, grand boulevards, covered bridges, tiled mosques, minarets. Isfahan has many historical buildings, monuments and artefacts; the fame of Isfahan led to the Persian pun and proverb "Esfahān nesf-e- jahān ast": Isfahan is half the world. The Naghsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan is one of the largest city squares in the world.
UNESCO has designated it a World Heritage Site. See also: Names of Isfahan"Isfahan" is derived from Middle Persian Spahān. Spahān is attested in various Middle Persian seals and inscriptions, including that of Zoroastrian Magi Kartir, is the Armenian name of the city; the present-day name is the Arabicized form of Ispahan. The region appears with the abbreviation GD on Sasanian numismatics. In Ptolemy's Geographia it appears as Aspadana, translating to "place of gathering for the army", it is believed. Human habitation of the Isfahan region can be traced back to the Palaeolithic period. Recent discoveries archaeologists have found artifacts dating back to the Palaeolithic, Neolithic and Iron ages. What was to become the city of Isfahan in historical periods emerged as a locality and settlement that developed over the course of the Elamite civilisation. Under Median rule, this commercial entrepôt began to show signs of a more sedentary urbanism growing into a noteworthy regional centre that benefited from the exceptionally fertile soil on the banks of the Zayandehrud River in a region called Aspandana or Ispandana.
Once Cyrus the Great had unified Persian and Median lands into the Achaemenid Empire, the religiously and ethnically diverse city of Isfahan became an early example of the king's fabled religious tolerance. It was Cyrus who, having just taken Babylon, made an edict in 538 BCE, declaring that the Jews in Babylon could return to Jerusalem. Now it seems that some of these freed Jews settled in Isfahan instead of returning to their homeland; the 10th-century Persian historian Ibn al-Faqih wrote:"When the Jews emigrated from Jerusalem, fleeing from Nebuchadnezzar, they carried with them a sample of the water and soil of Jerusalem. They did not settle down anywhere or in any city without examining the water and the soil of each place, they did all along. There they rested, found that both resembled Jerusalem. Thereupon they settled there, cultivated the soil, raised children and grandchildren, today the name of this settlement is Yahudia." The Parthians in the period 250–226 BCE continued the tradition of tolerance after the fall of the Achaemenids, fostering the Hellenistic dimension within Iranian culture and the political organisation introduced by Alexander the Great's invading armies.
Under the Parthians, Arsacid governors administered the provinces of the nation from Isfahan, the city's urban development accelerated to accommodate the needs of a capital city. The next empire to rule Persia, the Sassanids, presided over massive changes in their realm, instituting sweeping agricultural reform and reviving Iranian culture and the Zoroastrian religion. Both the city and region were called by the name Aspahan or Spahan; the city was governed by a group called the Espoohrans, who came from seven noble and important Iranian royal families. Extant foundations of some Sassanid-era bridges in Isfahan suggest that the Sasanian kings were fond of ambitious urban planning projects. While Isfahan's political importance declined during the period, many Sassanid princes would study statecraft in the city, its military role developed rapidly, its strategic location at the intersection of the ancient roads to Susa and Persepolis made it an ideal candidate to house a standing army, ready to march against Constantinople at any moment.
The words'Aspahan' and'Spahan' are derived from the Pahlavi or Middle Persian meaning'the place of the army'. Although many theories have been mentioned about the origin of Isfahan, in fact little is known of it before the rule of the Sasanian dynasty; the historical facts suggest that in the late 4th and early 5th centuries, Queen Shushandukht, the Jewish consort of Yazdegerd I settled a colony of Jews in Yahudiyyeh, a settlement 3 km northwest of the Zoroastrian city of Gabae (its Achaemid and Parthian name. The gradual population decrease of Gay and the simultaneous population increase of Yahudiyyeh and its suburbs
Chehel Sotoun is a pavilion in the middle of a park at the far end of a long pool, in Isfahan, built by Shah Abbas II to be used for his entertainment and receptions. In this palace, Shah Abbas II and his successors would receive dignitaries and ambassadors, either on the terrace or in one of the stately reception halls; the name, meaning "Forty Columns" in Persian, was inspired by the twenty slender wooden columns supporting the entrance pavilion, when reflected in the waters of the fountain, are said to appear to be forty. As with Ali Qapu, the palace contains many paintings on ceramic. Many of the ceramic panels have been dispersed and are now in the possession of major museums in the west, they depict specific historical scenes such as the infamous Battle of Chaldiran against the Ottoman Sultan Selim I, the reception of an Uzbek King in 1646, when the palace had just been completed. A more recent painting depicts Nader Shah's victory against the Indian Army at Karnal in 1739. There are less historical, but more aesthetic compositions in the traditional miniature style which celebrate the joy of life and love.
The Chehel Sotoun Palace is among the 9 Iranian Gardens which are collectively registered as one of the Iran’s 23 registered World Heritage Sites under the name of the Persian Garden. M. Ferrante: ‘Čihil Sutūn: Etudes, relevés, restauration’, Travaux de restauration de monuments historiques en Iran, ed. G. Zander, pp. 293–322 E. Grube: ‘Wall Paintings in the Seventeenth Century Monuments of Isfahan’, Studies on Isfahan, ed. R. Holod, 2 vols, Iran. Stud. vii, pp. 511–42 S. Babaie: ‘Shah ‛Abbas II, the Conquest of Qandahar, the Chihil Sutun, its Wall Paintings’, Muqarnas, xi, pp. 125–42 "Chehel Sotoun". Encyclopædia Iranica. More Pictures, Tishineh
Naqsh-e Jahan Square
Naqsh-e Jahan Square known as Meidan Emam, is a square situated at the center of Isfahan, Iran. Constructed between 1598 and 1629, it is now an important historical site, one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, it is 160 metres wide by 560 metres long. It is referred to as Shah Square or Imam Square; the square is surrounded by buildings from the Safavid era. The Shah Mosque is situated on the south side of this square. On the west side is the Ali Qapu Palace. Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque is situated on the eastern side of this square and at the northern side Qeysarie Gate opens into the Isfahan Grand Bazaar. Today, Namaaz-e Jom'eh is held in the Shah Mosque; the square is depicted on the reverse of the Iranian 20,000 rials banknote. In 1598, when Shah Abbas decided to move the capital of his empire from the north-western city of Qazvin to the central city of Isfahan, he initiated what would become one of the greatest programmes in Persian history. By choosing the central city of Isfahan, fertilized by the Zāyande roud, lying as an oasis of intense cultivation in the midst of a vast area of arid landscape, he distanced his capital from any future assaults by the Ottomans, the arch rival of the Safavids, the Uzbeks, at the same time gained more control over the Persian Gulf, which had become an important trading route for the Dutch and British East India Companies.
The chief architect of this colossal task of urban planning was Shaykh Bahai, who focused the programme on two key features of Shah Abbas's master plan: the Chahar Bagh avenue, flanked at either side by all the prominent institutions of the city, such as the residences of all foreign dignitaries, the Naqsh-e Jahan Square. Prior to the Shah's ascent to power, Persia had a decentralized power-structure, in which different institutions battled for power, including both the military and governors of the different provinces making up the empire. Shah Abbas wanted to undermine this political structure, the recreation of Isfahan, as a Grand capital of Persia, was an important step in centralizing the power; the ingenuity of the square, or Maidān, was that, by building it, Shah Abbas would gather the three main components of power in Persia in his own backyard. The Maidan was where the people met. Built as a two story row of shops, flanked by impressive architecture, leading up to the northern end, where the Imperial Bazaar was situated, the square was a busy arena of entertainment and business, exchanged between people from all corners of the world.
As Isfahan was a vital stop along the Silk Road, goods from all the civilized countries of the world, spanning from Portugal in the West, to the Middle Kingdom in the East, found its ways to the hands of gifted merchants, who knew how to make the best profits out of them. The Royal Square was admired by Europeans who visited Isfahan during Shah Abbas' reign. Pietro Della Valle conceded. During the day, much of the square was occupied by the tents and stalls of tradesmen, who paid a weekly rental to the government. There were entertainers and actors. For the hungry, there were available cooked foods or slices of melon, while cups of water were handed out for free by water-carriers paid for by the shop-keepers. At the entrance to the Imperial Bazaar, there were coffee-houses, where people could relax over a cup of fresh coffee and a water-pipe; these shops can still be found today, although the drink in fashion for the past century has been tea, rather than coffee. At dusk, the shop-keepers packed up, the huzz and buzz of tradesmen and eager shoppers bargaining over the prices of goods would be given over to dervishes, jugglers, puppet-players and prostitutes.
Every now and the square would be cleared off for public ceremonies and festivities. One such occasion would be the annual event of the Persian New Year; the national Persian sport of polo could be played in the maidan, providing the Shah, residing in the Ali Qapu palace, the busy shoppers with some entertainment. The marble goal-posts, erected by Shah Abbas, still stand at either end of the Maydan. Under Abbas, Isfahan became a cosmopolitan city, with a resident population of Turks, Armenians, Chinese and a growing number of Europeans. Shah Abbas brought in some 300 Chinese artisans to work in the royal workshops and to teach the art of porcelain-making; the Indians were present in large numbers, housed in the many caravanserais that were dedicated to them, they worked as merchants and money-changers. The Europeans were there as merchants, Roman Catholic missionaries and craftsmen. Soldiers with expertise in artillery, would make the journey from Europe to Persia to make a living; the Portuguese ambassador, De Gouvea, once stated that: Also, many historians have wondered about the peculiar orientation of the maidān.
Unlike most buildings of importance, this square did not lie in alignment with Mecca, so that when entering the entrance-portal of the Shah Mosque, one makes without realising it, the half-right turn which enables the main court within to face Mecca. Donald Wilber gives the most plausible explanation to this.
Qazvin is the largest city and capital of the Province of Qazvin in Iran. Qazvin was a medieval capital of the Safavid dynasty for over forty years and nowadays is known as the calligraphy capital of Iran, it is famous for its Baghlava, carpet patterns, political newspaper and Pahlavi influence on its accent. At the 2011 census, its population was 381,598. Located in 150 km northwest of Tehran, in the Qazvin Province, it is at an altitude of about 1,800 m above sea level; the climate is cold but dry, due to its position south of the rugged Alborz range called KTS Atabakiya. The city was a capital of the Persian Empire under Safavids in 1548–1598, it is a provincial capital today, an important cultural center throughout history. Archeological findings in the Qazvin plain reveal urban agricultural settlements for at least nine millennia. Qazvin geographically connects Tehran and the Persian Gulf to the Caspian seacoast and Asia Minor, hence its strategic location throughout the ages; the city today known as Qazvin is thought to have been founded by Shapur II, King of Persia in 250 CE, under the name Shad Shahpur, when he built a fortification there to control regional tensions.
Qazvin has sometimes been of central importance at major moments of Iranian history. It was destroyed by Hulagu Khan. After the Ottoman capture of Tabriz, Shah Tahmasp made Qazvin the capital of the Safavid empire, a status that Qazvin retained for half a century until Shah Abbas I moved the capital to Isfahan. In 1210 the city was damaged by the forces of Kingdom of Georgia sent by Tamar the Great, as per the retribution for destroying Georgian-controlled Ani by the Muslim forces that left 12,000 Christians dead. In the 19th century Qazin flourished as a center of trade because the only all-year accessible road from the Caspian Sea to the Highland started here and with enhanced traffic on the Caspian Sea the trade volume grew, its bazaars were enlarged. In the middle of the century the Babi movement had one of its centers here and the first massacre of Babis occurred in Qazvin in 1847. In the second half of the 19th century Qazvin was one of the centers of Russian presence in northern Iran. A detachment of the Persian Cossack Brigade under Russian officers was stationed here.
From 1893 this was the headquarters of the Russian Company for Road construction in Persia which connected Qazvin by roads to Tehran and Hamadan. The company built the St. Nicolas Church. In 1920 Qazvin was used as a base for the British Norperforce; the 1921 Persian coup d'état that led to the rise of the Pahlavi dynasty was launched from Qazvin. Qazvin has been one of the main pivots on which Persia’s history has revolved and this is where its reputation as an impenetrable fortress originates. During the fall of the Safavids, Qazvin was the centre of Persians reunion for the liberation of Persian territories invaded by Ottoman and Afghan forces in the west and east, respectively; the deployed swordsmen from Qazvin not only retrieved Safavid boundaries, but contributed to their expansion up to China, after occupying India by Nader Shah The Great and Baghdad. Qazvin hosted the base of Assassins and was the training centre of the Nehzat-e Jangal revolutionaries. Qazvin became a state in 1996. In Autumn 2015 portions of Qazvin were struck by a meteorite.
The majority of the people of the city of Qazvin are Persians. The majority language is Persian with a Qazvini accent. Azerbaijanis and Tats Persians are the other largest ethnic groups of the city of Qazvin, they speak Tati. Qazvin is a multicultural city and has hosted Armenian, Romanian and Kurdish minorities which have fled to Qazvin for saving their lives from Ottomans invaders. Qazvin has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate. Qazvin contains several archeological excavations. In the middle of the city lie the ruins of Meimoon Ghal'eh, one of several Sassanid edifices in the area. Qazvin contains several buildings from the Safavid era, dating to the period in which it was capital of Persia; the most famous of the surviving edifices is the Chehel sotoun, today a museum in central Qazvin. After Islam, the popularity of mystics, as well as the prominence of tradition, religious jurisprudence, philosophy in Qazvin, led to the emergence of many mosques and religious schools, they include: Jame' Atiq Mosque of Qazvin Heydarieh mosque Masjed Al-nabi: With an area of 14000 m2, this mosque is one of the most glorious mosques of antiquity, built in the Safavieh's monarchy era.
Sanjideh Mosque: Another mosque of Qazvin dating back to pre-Islamic Iran. Its present-day form is attributed to the Seljukian era. Panjeh Ali Mosque: A former place of worship for royal harem members in the Safavid period. Peighambarieh School-Mosque: Founded 1644 according to inscription. Peighambarieh Shrine: Where four Jewish saints who foretold the coming of Christ, are buried. Molla Verdikhani School-Mosque: Founded in 1648. Salehieh Madrasa and Mosque: Founded in 1817 by Mulla Muhammad Salih Baraghani. Sheikhol Islam School-Mosque: Renovated in 1903. Eltefatieh School: Dating back to the Il-Khanid period. Sardar School- Mosque: Made by two brothers Hossein Khan and Hassan Khan Sardar in 1815, as a fulfillment of their promise if they came back victorious from a battle against the Russians. Shazdeh Hosein Shrine.