Commenced in January 2007
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Studying Iranian Religious Minority Architecture: Differences and Commonalities in Religious and National Architecture after Safavid

Authors: Saeideh Soltanmohammadlou, Pilar M Guerrieri, Amir Kianfar, Sara Sadeghian, Yasaman Nafezi, Emily Irvin


Architecture is rooted in the experiences of the residents in a place. Its foundations are based on needs and circumstances of each territory in terms of climate, available materials, economics and governmental policies, and cultural ideals and ideas of the people that live there. The architectural history of Iran echoes these architectural origins and has revealed certain trends reflecting this territory and culture. However, in recent years, new architectural patterns are developing that diverge from what has previously been considered classic forms of Iranian architecture. This article investigates architectural elements that make up the architecture created by religious minorities after the Safavid dynasty (one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran (from 1501 to 1736) in Iranian cities: Isfahan, Tabriz, Kerman, and Uremia. Similarities and differences are revealed between the architecture that composes neighborhoods of religious minorities in Iran and common national architectural trends in each era after this dynasty. This dynasty is specific as a point of reference in this article because Islam was identified as the state religion of Iran during this era. This decision changed the course of architecture in the country to incorporate religious motifs and meanings. The study associated with this article was conducted as a survey that sought to find links between architecture of religious minorities with Iranian national architecture. Interestingly, a merging of architectural forms and trends occur as immigrants interact with Iranian Islamic meanings. These observations are significant within the context of modern architecture around the world and within Western discourse because what are considered religious minorities in Iran are the dominant religions in Western nations. This makes Iran’s architecture particularly unique as it creates a kind of inverse relationship, than that of Western nations, to the ways in which religion influences architectural history.

Keywords: Architecture, ethnic architecture, national architecture, religion architecture.

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