Historically distinct bathhouse back to former glory 

June 29, 2021 - 18:26

TEHRAN – A historically distinct bathhouse, where a popular reformist prime minister of Iran was murdered in the mid-19th century, has been restored to former glory. 

A top tourist destination, the bathhouse is located within the UNESCO-recognized Bagh-e Fin, which is a lush green Persian garden in the city of Kashan on the margins of the central Iranian desert. 

A budget of one billion rials ($23,800 at the official exchange rate of 42,000 rials per dollar) was allocated to the project, Kashan’s tourism chief Mehran Sarmadian said on Tuesday. 

The project involved repairing the walls, scraping worn-out coatings, and re-applying new plasterworks as well as replacing worn-out flooring and installing lights and speakers, the official added. 

The bathhouse was the place where the nationalist hero Mirza Taqi Khan, better known as Amir Kabir, was killed upon the order of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar (r. 1848 – 1896).

Moreover, eight wax figures depicting Amir Kabir and his killers at the moment of his death were also restored, Sarmadian noted. 

A budget of 200 million rials ($4,700) was spent on the project, which included cleaning the figures and restoring their hair, faces, and eyes, he explained. 

Amir Kabir was a modernized figure who instituted significant changes in the country, particularly in the fields of education and administration. He was imprisoned in the bathhouse and eventually murdered upon the decree of the king who could not tolerate his popularity.

The history of Bagh-e Fin in its current shape dates back to the time of Shah Abbas I who was the 5th Safavid king of Iran and reigned from 1588 to 1629. However, some sources say the original premises date far back in time.

Because the oasis city of Kashan lies adjacent to the central Iranian desert, water is scarce, however, inside the garden, water superabundantly flows through a series of turquoise-colored pools and fountains.

The elevated cedars inside the garden that are up to 500 years old contribute to the scenic landscape while the profusion of orange trees permeate pleasant fragrance when the trees are in blossom.

Besides the bathhouse complex, the garden also embraces several historic structures such as a two-story edifice that was once used to be the lodging for the royal establishment. 

The genuine concept of the Persian Garden that is deeply rooted in time interweaves natural elements with manmade components to embody an idea of creating a paradise on Earth by the means of artistic, philosophical, figurative, and religious notions.

The UNESCO website asserts that the flawless design of the Persian Garden, along with its ability to respond to extreme climatic conditions, is the result of an inspired and intelligent application of different fields of knowledge, i.e. technology, water management and engineering, architecture, botany, and agriculture.

Along with the UNESCO-registered Persian garden, the ancient city of Kashan boasts a cluster of architectural wonders, an atmospheric-covered bazaar, as well as some of central Iran’s best traditional mansions, some of which turned into boutique hotels now.

During the reign of the Seljuks (1051–1118), Kashan became famous for its textiles, pottery, and tiles, reaching high levels of accomplishment in each of these industries. Today, Kashan and its surrounding towns and villages are also widely known as a major center for the production of rose water, which is sold at outlets around the main tourist attractions and dedicated stores in the local bazaars.