In the course of history due to its distance from important capitals
and its harsh natural surroundings, Yazd remained immune to major
troops' movements and destruction from wars; therefore it kept many of
its traditions, city forms and architecture until recent times.
Yazd hails from an ancient history. As an example, Tehran University
and Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization have teamed up with France's
CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) to carry out
archeological studies in Yazd province as part of a project aiming at
preparing archeological plans of the area from the Mesolithic era.
During the invasion of Genghis Khan in the early 13th century, Yazd
became a safe haven and home for many artists, intellectuals, and
scientists fleeing their war ravaged cities across Persia.
Yazd was visited by Marco Polo in 1272 A.D, who described it as a
good and noble city and remarked its silk production industry. Isolated
from any approach by a huge tract of monotonous desert, the vibrancy of
Yazd often comes as a surprise.
Although more often described as the entrance to a now non-existent
bazaar, the chief function of this building known as a Tekyeh, and the
square before it, was to host the Ta'ziyeh, a cycle of passion plays
commemorating the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, which takes place once a
year during the mourning month of Moharram. The site dates from the
fifteenth century amid the efforts of its eponymous builder, Amir Jalal
Al-Din Chakhmagh, governor of Yazd.
For a brief period, Yazd was the capital of Atabakan and Mozaffarid
dynasties. During the Qajar Dynasty (18th Century A.D.) it was ruled by
the Bakhtiari Khans.Amidst the immense surrounding desert, Yazd retains
elements of its old religion, traditions, and architecture, which is
recognized by UNESCO for its architectural heritage.
In 2004, the Majles allocated funds to help restore historical sites
in Yazd inorder to nominate Yazd as a Cultural Heritage city by UNESCO.
The word Yazd means feast and worship. The city of Yazd has resisted
the modern urbanization changes and has so far maintained its
The geographical features of this region have prompted residents to
develop special architectural styles. For this reason, in the older part
of the city most houses are built of adobe and have domed roofs
(gonbad). These materials serve as an excellent insulation preventing
heat from passing through.
The existence of special ventilation structures, called Badgirs is a
distinctive feature of the architecture of this city (A Badgir is a
high structure on the roof under which, in the interior of the building,
there is a small pool).
The Jame Mosque (Friday Mosque) of Yazd crowned by a pair of
minarets, the highest in Persia, the portal's facade is decorated from
top to bottom in dazzling tile work, predominantly blue in color.
The city of YAZD has a history of over 3,000 years, dating back to
the time of the Median Empire, when it was known as Ysatis (or Issatis).
The present city name has however been derived from Yazdegerd I, a
Because of its remote desert location and the difficulty of
approach, Yazd had remained largely immune to large battles and the
destruction and ravages of war. For instance, it was a haven for those
fleeing from destruction in other parts of Persia during the invasion of
It was visited by Marco Polo in 1272 who remarked on the city's fine
silk-weaving industry. It briefly served as the capital of the
Muzaffarid Dynasty in the fourteenth century,
and was sieged unsuccessfully in 1350–1351 by the Injuids under Shaikh
Abu Ishaq. The Friday (or Congregation) Mosque, arguably the city's
greatest architectural landmark, as well as other important buildings,
date to this period. During the Qajar dynasty (18th Century AD) it was
ruled by the Bakhtiari Khans.
Under the rule of the Safavis (16th century), some people emigrated
from Yazd and settled in an area which is today on the Iran-Afghanistan
border. The settlement was named Yazdi. This place is currently on the
Iran-Afghanistan border in the province of Farah, in Farah city in
Afghanistan. Even today, these people speak with an accent very similar
to that of the people of Yazd.
Here is Marco Polo writing about Yazd:
Yasdi also is properly in Persia; it is a good and noble city, and
has a great amount of trade. They weave there quantities of a certain
silk tissue known as Yasdi, which merchants carry into many quarters to
dispose of. The people are worshippers of Mahomet.
When you leave this city to travel further, you ride for seven days
over Great Plains, finding harbor to receive you at three places only.
There are many fine woods [producing dates] upon the way, such as one
can easily ride through; and in them there is great sport to be had in
hunting and hawking, there being partridges and quails and abundance of
other game, so that the merchants who pass that way have plenty of
diversion. There are also wild asses, handsome creatures. At the end of
those seven marches over the plain you come to a fine kingdom which is
Yazd is of foremost importance as a centre of Persian architecture.
Because of its climate, it has one of the largest networks of qanats in
the world, and Yazdi qanat makers are considered the most skilled in
Iran. To deal with the extremely hot summers, many old buildings in Yazd
have magnificent windcatchers, and large underground areas. The city is
also home to prime examples of yakhchals, the latter of which were used
to store ice retrieved from glaciers in the nearby mountains. Yazd is
also one of the largest cities built almost entirely out of adobe.
There is a Tower of Silence on the outskirts, and the city itself
has a Fire Temple, which holds a fire that has been kept alight
continuously since 470 AD. Presently, Zoroastrians make up a significant
minority of the population, around 20 - 40,000 or 5 to 10%.
Built in 12th century and still being in use, Jame mosque of Yazd is
an example of finest Persian mosaics and excellent architecture. Its
minarets are the highest in the country.
Historical sites in the Yazd city include:
- Arab-ha House
- Lari-ha House
- sahl Ibn Ali Mausoleum
- Rasoulian House
- Seyed Rokn-al din Mausoleum
- Masoudi Reservoir
- Mortaz House
- Hajj Yusef Reservoir
- Fort mosque
- Zargari Bazzar
- Fortifications of Yazd
- Malek-altojjar House
- Mullah Ismall mosque
- Khan Bazaar
- Sheikh Ahmad Fahadan Mausoleum
- Seyed Shams-al din Mausoleum
- Malak-al Tojjar House
- Iran Shahr School
- Rig mosque
- Shah Tahmasb mosque
- Mortaz House
- Zia iah school