FARAḤĀBĀD

common place name throughout Persia, without any cultural or historical significance. The three best-known locales with this name are a city quarter of Tehran, the remains of a palace complext near Isfahan, and an Abbasid pleasure palace on the Caspian sea.

 

FARAḤĀBĀD, common place name throughout Persia, without any cultural or historical significance. The three best-known Faraḥābāds are the following.

City quarter of Tehran. This Faraḥābād is located 5 km east of the city wall of Tehran. At the foot of Dušān Tappa, on which perches a ruined fortress-like palace of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah (1264-1313/1848-96), the palace of Faraḥābād, built by Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah (1313-24/1896-1907) in about 1900, stands in a park enclosure. Restoration work was interrupted by the Revolution of 1357 Š./1978-79 (Kleiss, 1981, p. 163).

Figure 1.

Near Isfahan. There are remains of an extensive palace complex known as Faraḥābād outside the city wall of Isfahan. It was built by the Safavid Shah Solṭān-Ḥosayn (1105-35/1694-1722) and destroyed by the Afghans in the year of his death. It was described by the 19th-century writer Moḥammad-Hāšem Aṣaf Rostam al-Ḥokamāʾ in his Rostam al-tawārīḵ (Schwarz, pp. 1f.).

On the Caspian. Faraḥābād on the coast of the Caspian Sea in Māzandarān, at the terminus of the so-called “royal road” from Isfahan, was part of a Safavid building program that also included Ašraf/Behšahr (q.v.), the ʿAbbāsābād dam, the Qara Tappa palace, the port of Šāh Kīla, and Mīān Qalʿa, all on the Ḵalīj-e Gorgān peninsula. Faraḥābād was built as a pleasure resort for Shah ʿAbbās I (996-1038/1588-1629), beginning in 1020/1611; he eventually died there. Contained within the Faraḥābād complex, which was destroyed in 1079/1668 by the cossack Stenka Razin, there are at present a settlement, the palace precinct, a mosque, a bath, and a bridge over the Tajandrūd. H. L. Rabino published plans of the palace in 1917 (p. 88).

The most significant architectural monument is the mosque, built of brick. Although it is oriented toward Mecca, the main portal opens obliquely onto the courtyard and obviously adjusted to take account of a previously existing street grid. The mosque is of the courtyard type with four ayvāns (q.v.) and covers a total area of 62.50 m2. The courtyard, with a water basin in the middle, measures 46.50 x 31 m. The southern wing encloses the large central domed chamber 16 m high and flanking four-aisled halls. The large ayvān rises about 8.40 m above the flanking porticoes. This mosque was constructed at about the same time as the main court mosque in Isfahan, the Shah Mosque (Masjed-e Šāh, Masjed-e Emām); although it is smaller, it has a similar ground plan.

Aside from this building there are still visible remains of a palace building, of which only two courtyards can be recognized in outline. The palace precinct lies directly on the Tajandrūd and was fortified with round towers. Opposite the palace two compact tracts of wall extend from the east bank into the river, perhaps remains of a Safavid port installation, for Faraḥābād was known to have functioned as a port for the Safavid court.

Both in the northeast, next to the mosque, and at the southwestern end of the bridge bath installations are recognizable; the one beside the mosque must have been totally destroyed and can hardly now be identified as a Safavid bath, whereas the one at the bridge is of a later date.

On the southern bank of the Tajandrūd two arches of the bridge are still preserved; six additional supports lie fallen on the riverbed underwater. All the supports were set on a dam footing. The length of the bridge can no longer be established, for the course of the river has shifted so that the line of its northern bank has changed extensively. With its semicircular cutwaters facing upstream, the bridge resembles in both construction and plan Safavid bridges of the 17th century. It was 6 m wide and carried the road over the river toward Qara Tepe and Šāh Kīla.

 

Bibliography:

W. Kleiss, “Die safavidischen Schlösser in der Wüste östlich des Grossen Salzsees (ʿAbbasabad/Siah Kuh und Sefid Ab),” AMI, N.S. 13, 1980, pp. 179-89.

Idem, “Schloss Shahrestanak nördlich Teheran,” AMI, N.S. 14, 1981, pp. 161-80.

Idem, “Die safavidische Sommerresidenz Farahabad am Kaspischen Meer,” AMI, N.S. 15, 1982, pp. 347-60.

H. L. Rabino, Provinces caspiennes de la Perse, 1917.

F. Sarre, Denkmāler persischer Baukunst, Berlin, 1910.

H. Schwarz, Islamwissenschaftliche Quellen und Texte aus deutschen Bibliotheken . . ., Bamberg, 1986.

Figure 1. Location of Faraḥābād, Māzandarān, and antiquities in its environs. After sketch map by W. Kleiss.

(Wolfram Kleiss)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: December 15, 1999