Encyclopaedia of the Iranian Architectural History


 The vast scope and many aspect and layers of research on the Iranian/ Persian architectural history requires accessing basic information in this regard. The existing Iranian architectural and urban development works are so numerous and diverse that demand special methods rather than ordinary ones to search and collect the related data in a satisfactory manner.


Thus, a national, all-encompassing, and comprehensive approach is required to do essential researches on the Iranian architectural history in such a systematic method that consider certain parameters like the great number of works; the variety of Iranian nature, climate, and culture as well as the impact of this variety on the country’s architecture; and the historical continuity of this architecture.


Inevitably, performing this task calls for the use of information technology facilities. Based on the said approach, a vast knowledge-base covering the Iranian architectural history since the seventh millennium B.C. up to the present has been established that in addition to arranging the existing data and knowledge, will organize the production of related information. It will also affect both national and international researches regarding the Iranian architecture and cause the contemporary architectural data to preserve and record.


To achieve the above-mentioned goals, a comprehensive knowledge-base on the history of architecture and urban development in the Iranian world entitled Iranshahr: Encyclopaedia of the Iranian Architectural History has been developed which will serve its addressees as a website.


Obviously, encyclopaedias are the results of various human knowledge accumulated due to research activities. In this way, a conventional encyclopaedia is a tool to provide its readers, including the public and scholars, with a set of previous research compiled under a specific category called “entry” that could be handed over to expert scholars to write articles on them. In comparison with conventional encyclopaediaIranshahr is compiled based on a new concept of an encyclopaedia, that is to say all its addresses are considered as potential authors of future articles on every entry of it that may make their contribution to the very encyclopaedia or to any other medium. In other words, Iranshahr is not a place for presenting articles, but a database to provide the users with the existing knowledge on its available entries and guide them to get access to the archives of books, articles, and documents.


Iranshahr is also differed from conventional encyclopaedia in such a manner that the quality and quantity of its entries are not fixed; rather they are constantly increased according to the search and request of its addresses, namely any related term that is appeared in the database could be a potential entry by itself. 






Therefore, Iranshahr is essentially developed to provide precise search facilities on all kinds of documents pertaining to the history of architecture and urban development in the Iranian world.


The geographical domain of Iranshahr covers the entire Iranian world, from Syr Darya to the Persian Gulf and the Indus to the Euphrates. In future the Persianate world, the domain of cultural influence of the Iranian architecture is also added to Iranshahr’s present domain. The historical span of its theme includes the prehistory era to the end of Pahlavi’s I reign, however the historical span of documents related to Iranshahr’s theme is by far wider and incorporates the present time as well.


In the long term, Iranshahr will include all concerned languages, including Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Russian, Armenian, English, French, German, Italian, and Urdu in which there are or there will be certain information or knowledge on Iranshahr’s theme, however at present its Persian and English versions are available.


The Iranian Academy of Art is responsible forIranshahr’s project, including its designing, doing research, implementing, as well as preserving and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development is its main sponsor. The project is also benefited from material and spiritual contribution of other organizations such as Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism; National Library and Archives of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Shaheed Beheshti University.


The members of Iranshahr’s board are as follows: Seyyed Mohammad Beheshti (project director), Bahman Namvar Motlaq (representative and secretary of The Iranian Academy of Art), Amir Farjami and Hamid Reza Sepehri (representatives of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development), Fariborz Dowlat-Abadi and Ahmad Khoshnevis (representatives of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism), Kambiz Haj Qasemi and Mehrdad Qayyoomi (national experts). It is noteworthy that the late Seyyed Baqer Ayatollah-Zadeh Shirazi was also the member of aboved-mentioned board.


The whole data gathered in this database is organized around two general categories: entries and documents. An entry is an item that any information is accumulated or produced about it. It is also a means of user's access to that information. Documents include any source of information, either printed or not, such as books, articles, booklets, theses, periodicals, films, official documents, manuscripts, etc. It is noteworthy that Iranshahr's database is in the course of establishment and the present website is merely a pilot version to portray its future.


Iranshahr's editorial board invites all concerned organizations, institutes, individual scholars, and private or public archivists to contribute to this important national and regional project. 






IRANSHAHR's Geographical Domain