Qajar-era public bathhouse to turn into café museum 

August 10, 2020 - 22:30

TEHRAN – The Qajar-era (1789–1925) Maryan public bathhouse in the city of Talesh, northern Gilan province, will be repurposed into a café museum, a provincial tourism chief has said.

With a budget of over 2 billion rials (about $50,000), the bathhouse is being restored, and after the end of the project, the historical monument will be ceded to the private sector with the aim of better maintenance, CHTN quoted Vali Jahani as saying on Monday.

Located in the historical village of Maryan, the bathhouse was built under Sardar Amjad, the ruler of Talesh at the time, by an architect from Germany on a sloping ground in an area of 131 square meters.

The bathhouse, which was mostly built with red bricks, was inscribed on the National Heritage list in 2003.

Bathhouses or ‘hammams’ in Iran were not only places for bathing and cleaning up. They had a social concept for people who gathered at these places weekly.

It was a place where people talked with each other about their daily life and shared humor and news. There are still bathhouses in Iranian cities but they do not have their social function anymore since most people have bathrooms in their homes due to the modern lifestyle.

Some cities had separate bathhouses for men and women. They were usually built next to each other. However, there were some bathhouses, which were used by men and women at different times of the day.

There were also male and female public bathhouses; at daybreak, a longhorn (booq-e javaz) was blown to announce that the bath was ready. Men came to the baths from daybreak till the afternoon. Women could use the bathhouses since then to sunset. In some cases, five days were allocated to men and two days to women.

Persian literature is full of proverbs, narrations, and folk stories about bathhouses, which indicate the importance of the place in the past time.

Bounded by the Caspian Sea and the Republic of Azerbaijan on the north, Gilan, in the far past, was within the sphere of influence of the successive Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian, and Sassanid empires that ruled Iran until the 7th century CE.

Rasht, capital of Gilan province, has long been a weekend escape for residents of Tehran who are looking to sample the famous local cuisine and hoping for some pluvial action – it’s the largest, and wettest town in the northern region. Gilan is divided into a coastal plain including the large delta of Sefid Rud and adjacent parts of the Alborz mountain range.

ABU/MG
 

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