Boroujerdi House

Historic Building in Kashan

Legend has it that when Sayyed Jafar Natanzi, a samovar merchant known as Boroujerdi, met with carpet merchant Sayyed Jafar Tabatabaei to discuss taking his daughter’s hand in marriage, Mr Tabatabaei set one condition: his daughter must be able to live in a home at least as lovely as his own. The result – finished some 18 years later – was the Boroujerdi House. Made distinctive by its six-sided, domed wind towers, the house boasts frescoes painted by Kamal ol-Molk, the foremost Iranian artist of the time.


The home originally consisted of two sections, an andaruni (private part of a traditional home, where only immediate family are welcome) and a biruni (outer part of a traditional home, where guests are entertained), but today only the latter is open to the public. Ornately decorated, the courtyard is laid out around a central fountain pool, that sits well below ground level to help reduce the ambient temperature. At its far end is a two-story iwan (open reception hall opening onto the courtyard) that is sumptuously decorated with splendid motifs above the entrance, intricate muqarnas (stalactite-type stone carving used to decorate doorways and window recesses), and fine glass and mirror work.


Among the many delightful details to look out for is a samovar enshrined in the plaster work in honor of the owner, a medallion carpet of stucco in one of the adjoining rooms, and a man appearing to leap above a bridge following his two donkeys in an alcove painting. Finding exactly where each of these treasures is located is part of the fun of enjoying this wonderful building.

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