Ultimate Guide to Kashan | Everything you need to know
Let’s be honest, It is against all norms to travel to Iran and not visit Isfahan! But first take a moment to think, are you just one of those typical tourists whose information of Iran is only limited to Tehran, Isfahan, Yazd and Shiraz? Or do you want to do more? Well, if you are amongst the last group, you won’t bypass this delightful oasis city.
Kashan, in the northern part of Isfahan province, and about 3 hours south of Tehran, is located on the edge of the Dasht_e_kavir (central desert of Iran), but regardless to its deserted climate it could manage to be titled as the pearl of desert due to the fact that it not only boasts so many architectural wonders, such as covered bazaar and the UNESCO world heritage of Fin Garden, but also it had faced plenty of historical significant events and stories! This land had faced political powers rising and falling down and had seen love and betrayal! Keep in mind that these mentioned stories aren’t just limited to hundreds of years ago since the archeological findings showed that it’s been one of the first birthplaces of civilization (around 9000 years ago).
There is even a legend saying that the three wise men who followed the Bethlehem to visit the newborn Christ and witness the nativity of Jesus were from this area. Another remarkable story is the one that took place during the Arab conquest of Kashan in 7th century. The leader, Abu Musa al-Ashari found the town’s fortifications too strong to be surmounted by any conventional means. Thus, he ordered scorpions to be thrown over the walls of the city barrier resulting in the Kashan’s capitulation.
Some believe that the name of Kashan comes from the Kasian, the original inhabitants of this city, whose remains are found at Tapeh Sialk dating back 9,000 years. Moreover, many artifacts from the Elamite period in Iran that uncovered in Sialk area reside in famous museums in the world such as the Louvre in Paris, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Iran’s National Museum in Tehran.
Like many other cities, Kashan flourished in Seljuk period in many art, craft and architectural majors particularly the industry of tile making which accounted for its Persian name, Kashi.
The growth of other Kashan famous traditional livelihoods such as carpet weaving, velvet and silk protection, and glazed pottery making is also associated with this time. Of course, in the current age because of the industrialization of cities, there may be less of these soulful trades in quantity but for sure not in quality. And about rose water, one of the most common and well-known souvenirs, if you travel to Iran in spring you can observe the whole process of collecting these Roses and producing the heavenly smelled water.
In 1248 the Mongol hordes, led by Genghis Khan, swept over the region Leaving behind massive ruin and devastation. However, Kashan escaped relatively unharmed which was mostly due to the rich and profitable industries of Kashan. At the time it was one of the busiest and most prosperous towns of Iran. The great importance of Kashan’s industries for the country’s economy saved the town from destruction also during Tamerlane’s invasion that happened after.
In Safavid period, Kashan experienced so much development. Many buildings were built or restored but a destructive earthquake occurred in 1574 and ruined lots of earlier structures.
Kashan had been mentioned by several artists and researchers who had been to Iran as well.
Eugene Flandin, a French archeologist, described Kashan in 1842:
“The city isn’t that large but the population is quite a lot. There are some silk and velvet factories but the increase of imports from England resulted in the decrease of local factories”
Jane Dieulafoy 1882:
“Kashan is one of the prosperous wealthy and clean cities of Iran.“
George Curzon 1891:
“Kashan is a city full of different businesses and trades. Indian merchants are a lot here.“
These days, Maranjab Desert near the Namak Lake (salt lake) is a popular destination at the weekends for safari and adventure lovers. In addition, southwest of the city is the home of Iran national observatory, the largest astronomical telescope of Iran.
So, if you are planning on visiting this elegant yet ancient city you can set your attraction checklist by the help of this article. Just read the Attractions part in the end of the article and choose the ones which interest you more, according to your own taste in case you are short of time. Otherwise, just visit them all you won’t regret it!
Most people speak in Farsi (Persian) and ethnic languages. They have a sweet Kashani dialect.
Kashan has a semi-arid climate , January is the coldest month (With an average high-temperature of 9°C and an average low-temperature of -2°C), and July is the warmest month (With an average high-temperature of 40°C and an average low-temperature of 24°C).
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Best time to visit
The best time for traveling to Kashan is spring and autumn (Mid-March till the end of May, Mid-September till Mid-November). Kashan rose water festival runs in May (specially the first half of the month), and The fragrance of rose flowers fills the air of the city.
Most historical houses and attractions inside the city can be reach by foot, If your hotel is in a good area. This city is also a good place for cycling. There are buses and taxis (private and shared) to get around the city. There is no subway in the city.
Kashan Bus Terminal (The only Bus Terminal in the city) is on the northern edge of the city. Tehran is around 250 Km away and it takes at least three hours to get to Kashan from there. From Isfahan, it is 220 Km and about 2.5 hours trip by bus.
There is one train station in the city (Kashan Railway Station) which is about 2km northeast of the city center. There are daily trains to Tehran and Isfahan.
Kashan Airport is located 12 kilometers southeast of the city of Kashan. It is not common to travel to Kashan by plan.
- Bagh-e Fin Garden
- Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse
- Tabatabei House
- Bazaar of Kashan
- Borujerdi House
- Agha Bozorg Mosque
- Maranjab Desert and salt lake
- Underground City of Nushabad
- Abbasian House
- Tepe Sialk (Sialk Hills)
- Ameriha House
- Aminoddole Carvansarai
- Taj Historical House
- Banitaba Historical House
- Puppet & Toy Museum
- Shrine of Hilal ibn Ali
- Steve House
- Shahzadeh-ye Ibrahim
- Jalali Natural Refrigerator (Jalali Castle)
- Tajaddin Shrine
- Akhavan Historical House
Attractions outside Kashan
- Abyaneh village
- Maranjab desert
- Abuzeid Abad Desert
- Niasar Waterfall
- Aran va Bidgol
- Chal Nakhjir Cave
- Matinabad Desert Eco-camp
* Written by Nafiseh Asadollahi & Mohammad Naderi.