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Tuesday, 21 July 2015 09:21

Iran Your Attractive Destination (175)

Iran Your Attractive Destination (175)

Welcome to the 175th weekly episode of the series Iran Your Attractive Destination. As a reminder,in the last episode, we became familiar with the state of economy of Bushehr Province and its nature. Today, we get to know the historical geography of this province and the port city of Bushehr.The existing evidences show that Bushehr region, due to its appropriate strategic position for construction of naval bases and ports, has been a developed region as of 3rd Millennium BC, and was known as one of the important centers of Elamite Empire.

Throughout the rule of Achaemenian Dynasty, in which Iran was divided into twenty provinces, Bushehr was one of the provinces located on the western foothills of Zagros Mountain Range. Throughout the reign of Ardeshir Babakan, a city named “Raam Ardeshir” was built eight kilometers away from the city of Bushehr; the ruins of which are currently known as Rayshahr. The Rayshahr region was a developed and highly credible port throughout the Sassanid era. This port continued to be a developed region several centuries into the Islamic era, such that based on documented evidences, Rayshahr was a major trade hub during 16th and 17th Centuries AD. The ancient region and city of Rayshahr was registered among Iran’s national historical monuments in the year 1931 AD.

Given the strategic position and economic and commercial importance of Persian Gulf; this region, has always captured the attention of countries and governments throughout the course of history. The first raid of European states against Persian Gulf coastlines was staged by the Portuguese, under the pretext of protection of the interests of Portugal against Egyptian and Venetian traders in the year 1506 AD. The Safavid ruler, Shah Abbas, drove the Portuguese out of Persian Gulf region in the year 1031 AH. However, in the waning days of Safavid era, southern Iran was once again raided by European invaders and a number of neighboring countries.

The Iranian ruler, Nader Shah Afshar, in a bid to maintain the security and connection of the Persian Gulf Islands and coastlines decided to form the navy, while appointing Abdul-Latif Khan Dashtestani to govern the entire southern coastlines and ports of Dashtestan region in the year 1735 AD.  Latif Khan chose the present day location of the city of Bushehr, which at the time was a coastal oasis, as the center of his command operations. Thereafter, Bushehr turned into one of the important ports of Persian Gulf.

Throughout the reign of Iranian ruler, Karim Khan Zand, Britain expanded its influence on the Persian Gulf coastlines and Islands, especially throughout Bushehr, succeeding to gain a concession for establishment of a trade center in Bushehr. Upon the succession of Zandieh Dynasty by Qajarid Dynasty, the Qajarid rulers didn’t’ wield much influence in the Persian Gulf. Hence, gradually, Britain reinforced its presence in Persian Gulf to the extent that as of the year 1812 AD, Britain’s General Consulate in Bushehr governed Persian Gulf. England’s representative in the region ruled the regional residents. During the rule of Qajarid King, Naser Ed-Din Shah, the British administration, under the pretext of endangerment of the illegitimate interests of Britain in Herat and Afghanistan by the Iranian government, attacked southern Iran and occupied Khark Island. Thereafter, British forces occupied Bushehr. The courageous Tangestani, Dashtestani, and Bushehri warriors strongly resisted against British forces.

Meanwhile, prior to the break out of World War I, the British forces once against staged an onslaught against Bushehr region, while in the year 1913 AD, a tough war broke out between the British forces and the courageous regional people. Throughout this confrontation, one of the prominent constitutionalists of southern Iran, Rais Ali Delvari, and the people of Tangestan and Dashtestan played prominent roles. The struggles of Rais Ali Delvari and the regional people of Bushehr against foreign colonialists mark another golden chapter in the history of resistance of courageous Iranian combatants against colonialism.

Now that you have become familiar with the history of Bushehr Province, it is appropriate to get to know the port city of Bushehr. The city of Bushehr dates back to ancient times. Some believe that it was constructed in the Sassanid era. Discovery of coins belonging to Sassanid era in Bushehr can attest to this fact. The items, unearthed in the scientific archeological discoveries, throughout the ruins of Rayshahr Castle, in the vicinity of Bushehr once again confirm this fact. Bushehr, like many other Iranian cities, has gone through countless ups and downs in different periods of time. Meanwhile, during the rule of Karim Khan Zand this port city was of particular importance and turned into a powerful rival for the port city of Basra in Iraq. This port city, during its peak, was considered to be one of the major trade hubs of Persian Gulf, and the traders of Bushehr highly contributed to trade in Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.

Due to the particular political and economic status of port city of Bushehr, the agencies of foreign companies and consulates of different countries were present in this port city.

Today, Bushehr is a developed city and one of the important coastal cities of Iran. This port city is also a hub for transformation industries. Bushehr accommodates several piers for the purpose of loading cargo ships. This port is home to countless historical monuments; the most important of which are ancient homes, Qavam water store, ruins of Rayshahr, Sheikh Sa’adoun Mosque, and a number of other sites of pilgrimage.

In order to become familiar with some of the important and ancient homes of Bushehr Province, we briefly get to know the indigenous architecture of this region of Iran. In general, the architecture of homes in this province is highly compatible with the regional climate. The general shape of homes is simple and their architectural style is similar to that of other Iranian cities across the Persian Gulf coastlines.

In front of the majority of homes, there is a corridor with several pillars which leads to rooms on one side, and the courtyard on the other side. The ceilings of majority of chambers are covered with wooden logs and boards. The rooftops are flat. Within the courtyard, there is a pond and a water store. The majority of homes are made of limestone and mortar. The gateways are mainly made of wood and are beautifully decorated. The most important ancient homes of Bushehr include the house of Rais Ali Delvari, and Malek building.

Malek building is a complex, which is located in a southern district of Bushehr. Its construction dates back to a century ago. The architectural style of this building has been influenced by the architectural style of the Qajarid and Zandieh eras. It was initially a residential building. However, it maintained other uses later on. Throughout the rule of Qajarid era and amid the residence of British forces in World War I, a number of changes were made in it. This building is made of a number of interconnected sections, including guards’ unit, rampart, dais, and several balconies and residential chambers. In the year 1998, this building was registered among Iran’s national historical monuments.

The home of Rais Ali Delvari is one of the valuable homes of Bushehr Province, which is located 45 kilometers away from the city of Delvar. This home has turned into a cultural complex following its repair and renovation. It is currently used as Bushehr Province Museum of Anthropology.

In addition to several historical monuments in Bushehr; the water stores of this city are also among the tourist attraction sites of this region. One of the well-known water stores of this city is Qavam water store. It is located in one of the main streets of this city. This water store dates back to more than 150 years ago. It has been built in the Qajarid era with local construction materials. Two and a half meters of this water store is located in the basement. The interior of the water store is covered with highly resistant cement.

 

 

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