TEHRAN – A historically distinct bathhouse, where a popular reformist prime minister of Iran was assassinated in the mid-19th century, has returned to its former glory.
A leading tourist destination, the public baths are located in the UNESCO-recognized Bagh-e Fin, which is a lush green Persian garden in the city of Kashan, on the edge of the central Iranian desert.
A budget of one billion rials ($ 23,800 at the official exchange rate of 42,000 rials to the dollar) has been allocated for the project, Kashan tourism chief Mehran Sarmadian said on Tuesday.
The project consisted of repairing walls, scraping away worn coverings and reapplying new plaster, as well as replacing worn floors and installing lights and speakers, the official added.
The public baths were where nationalist hero Mirza Taqi Khan, better known as Amir Kabir, was killed on the orders of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar (r. 1848 – 1896).
Additionally, eight wax figures depicting Amir Kabir and his assassins at the time of his death have also been restored, Sarmadian noted.
A budget of 200 million rials ($ 4,700) was spent on the project, which included cleaning the characters and restoring their hair, faces and eyes, he explained.
Amir Kabir was a modernized figure who instituted significant changes in the country, especially in the fields of education and administration. He was imprisoned in public baths and ultimately assassinated by decree of the king who could not tolerate his popularity.
The history of Bagh-e Fin in its present form 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 that the original premises go back a long way. in time.
Because the oasis town of Kashan is adjacent to the central Iranian desert, water is scarce, however, inside the garden water flows in abundance through a series of turquoise colored pools and fountains.
The cedars grown inside the garden which are up to 500 years old contribute to the picturesque landscape while the profusion of orange trees imbues a pleasant scent when the trees are in bloom.
Besides the public bath complex, the garden also includes several historic structures such as a two-story edifice that was once the accommodation of the royal establishment.
The authentic concept of the Persian garden, deeply rooted in time, combines natural elements with artificial components to embody the idea of creating a paradise on Earth through artistic, philosophical, figurative and religious notions.
The UNESCO website claims that the flawless design of the Persian Garden, as well as its ability to respond to extreme climatic conditions, is the result of an inspired and intelligent application of different fields of knowledge, namely technology, water management and engineering, architecture, botany, and agriculture.
Besides the UNESCO-listed Persian Garden, the ancient city of Kashan has a set of architectural wonders, an atmospheric bazaar, as well as some of the best traditional mansions in central Iran, some of which are now transformed into boutique hotels.
During the reign of the Seljuks (1051-1118), Kashan became famous for its textiles, pottery and tiles, achieving high levels of achievement in each of these industries. Today, Kashan and its surrounding towns and villages are also widely known as an important center for the production of rose water, which is sold in outlets around major tourist attractions and dedicated shops in local bazaars.
ABU / AFM