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Monday, 02 November 2015 07:22

Iran Your Attractive Destination (181)

Iran Your Attractive Destination (181)

Welcome to the 181st weekly episode of the series Iran Your Attractive Destination. As a reminder, previously we became partly familiar with the history of Tehran. It was said that in the year 1785 AD, the Qajarid King, Aqa Mohammad Khan Qajar, chose Tehran as the capital of Iran and was officially crowned in this city in the year 1795 AD. He chose Tehran as the capital of his rule for a number of reasons, including the strategic position of this city and its appropriate economic conditions, reviving this city. Upon development of this city and a rise in migration to Tehran, in addition to construction of new buildings in this city, the stage was set for a change in the fences which were constructed in the Safavid era around Tehran. Eighty-Five years after the conquest of Tehran by the Qajarid troops; the towers, ramparts, and gateways of the castle of former Safavid King, Shah Tahmasb, began to collapse and crumble. The traditional Tehran was forced to go through changes.

 

The period of rule of the Qajarid King, Naser Ed-Din Shah, is otherwise known as the Naseri Era, which saw major social, political, and cultural developments in Iran. In this phase in time, under the impact of Europe’s industrial civilization and the colonial policies of the West, Iran entered a new stage; the results of which became evident in the form of Constitutional Movement and other developments, following the death of Naser Ed-Din Shah. The fifty-year rule of this Qajarid King from 1849 AD to 1898 AD marks the development of Tehran, as Iran’s Capital. Unfortunately, there is no trace of the valuable historical monuments of that era. In the beginning of Naser Ed-Din Shah’s rule, the population of Tehran significantly grew and there was no longer any space for constructions within the past boundaries of Tehran. In this period of time, Tehran widely expanded and new fences and trenches were constructed around Tehran.

Upon the efforts of the then Iranian premier, Amir Kabir; Daar ul-Fonoun School, Amir Marketplace, and the shoe-makers market were founded in Tehran. In the year 1826 AD, the Russian Orientalist, Berezin, for the first time, prepared Tehran’s map, which was published in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg.

In the year 1867 AD, another map of Tehran was prepared with the cooperation of French engineers. New lands were included in Tehran’s boundaries and the city was restricted by new trenches and ramparts. The city’s link to the outside world was through twelve gateways.

After the assassination of Naser Ed-Din Shah, the other Qajarid King, Mozafar Ed-Din Shah, ascended the throne in the year 1895 AD. In the year 1905 AD, Tehran turned into the scene of Constitutional Movement. The reasons and motivations behind the emergence of Constitutional Movement and its related developments are not discussed in this series. However, it should be pointed out that the market and mosques of Tehran played a major role in the formation of Constitutional Movement.

The people of Tehran under the leadership of Ulema and clerics gathered in mosques and finally managed to receive the order of formation of parliamentary system by Mozafar Ed-Din Shah in the year 1906 AD. This Qajarid king died a few months after issuance of this instruction. Thereafter, Mohammad Ali Shah ascended the throne, and was crowned in Golestan Palace. Mohammad Ali Shah was against the Constitutional Movement and establishment of a parliamentary system, and made strenuous efforts to crush the Constitutional Movement. Finally, in the year 1908 AD, he attacked the parliament and killed a number of lawmakers, while imprisoning others; restoring his despotic regime.

Following the Constitutional Movement, the city of Tehran grappled with political, social, and economic instability, which in turn obstructed the growth and development of Tehran. In the era of Mohammad Ali Shah, a blow was dealt against the valuable and historical buildings of Tehran and they were neglected. Also, the confrontations of the despotic regime’s troopers with the freedom-seekers damaged some well-known buildings in Tehran, such as Baharestan Building, and Sepahsalar Mosque.

The waning years of the rule of Qajarid Dynasty were concurrent with World War I, local movements, famine, and insecurity.

In this period of time, governments were fragile and grappled with political problems. As of the year 1921 AD, upon the coup staged by Reza Khan, a different situation took shape in Iran and Tehran. The most important features of this era include the guidance of the county toward the capitalist system, coupled with dictatorship and suppression of people.

In this period of time, Western states were adopted as absolute role models for growth, while the then government expanded and a number of factories were established in the vicinity of Tehran.

Concurrent with expansion of Tehran, its gateways were destructed, its trenches were filled, and its ancient towers and ramparts were razed to the ground, and Tehran gradually lost its historical identity. The structure and shape and fiber of many districts of Tehran changed. In this era, the destruction of homes and shops of people and historical monuments of this city turned into an ordinary matter.

Prior to foundation of Qajarid dynasty and selection of Tehran as the capital of Iran, Tehran was a small town with a population of15000 people. Thereafter, its population significantly grew and Tehran turned into the largest city of Iran in mid-Qajarid era. Based on the first census of Tehran in the year 1957 AD, its population stood at nearly 1.6 million people.

The huge oil revenues, controlled by affiliates to Pahlavi despotic regime, led to investment in Tehran at the expense of deprivation of other Iranian cities and villages. Tehran grew in an irregular and unbalanced manner. Throughout 1942 AD to 1977 AD, migration to Tehran continued and several towns were formed in the east, west, and south of this city, which were gradually included in Greater Tehran. Based on a census in the year 1977 AD, Tehran’s population stood at 4.5 million people. As of 1977 AD to 1979 AD, irregular migration to Tehran mounted the problems of this city. While the Pahlavi despotic regime had accumulated huge wealth upon pillage of people, and was constructing palaces on the foothills of Alborz Mountain Range; the city of Tehran was witness to the ouster of Pahlavi regime and the victory of Islamic Revolution in February 1979 AD.

MR/MG

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