Iran’s Contribution to the World: Architecture

Spread the facts!

By: Badi Badiozamani

Material presented in this section has been provided to Iran Online by Iranian Cultural Center of Orange County (ICCOC).

According to Professor Arthur Pope (Persian Architecture), Iran has a continuous history of architecture from at least 5,000 B.C. to the present, and characteristic examples of this architecture are distributed over a vast area from Syria to North India and the borders of China, from the Caucasus to Zanzibar.

First Bricks– Professor  Girshman very clearly shows the gradual evolution of molded and baked bricks in different layers of Siyalk- near Kashan- and by doing so proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that brick was first made in Iran.

Iran, the Origin of the First Christian Architecture– M.A. Choisy in his “Histoire de I’Architecture” prints a map on which he shows that the point of origin of the first Christian architecture is Iran.  He declares: “the starting point of this movement could not be neither the Latin countries nor the purely Greek regions because the 4h A.D. was a time of complete decadence of the Roman Empire.  Most of Latin provinces had nothing new to offer but an out-of-date civilization which was on the wane.  Only one nation was guarding amid all this turmoil and general enfeeblement a vigorous upsurge of vitality based on the souvenirs of ancient grandeur and superiority and that nation was Iran.” He further states that Iran was the center from which emanated three rays leading via (1) Asia Minor and Constantinople, (2) Armenia and Transcaucasian regions, and (3) Syria and the southern coast of Mediterranean Sea, towards Europe and Africa to introduce Iranian architecture and arts and crafts to these regions.

Iran’s Influence on the Architecture of Italy– The idea of a double roof with a void in between, according to Coisy, is Iranian.  The double roofing in the dome of St. Marie de Fleurs is an example.  The oldest Persian application of a double dome still in existence is seen in the Mausoleum of Oljaytu in Soltanieh, near the city of Zanjan, which dates back to the 14th century.  However, the knowledge and expertise used in the construction of this dome show that this type of double must have been in style for a long time.  Coisy further states that there is no doubt that the architects of Florence and Bologne have conceived the domes of their cathedrals in imitation of a Persian type.

*Excerpts from “Iran & America: Rekindling a Love Lost” by Badi Badiozamani