The Physical Structure Of Tabriz In Shah Tahmasp Safavid’s Era Based On Matrakci Miniature



Tabriz city located in the North-west of Iran is one of the most ancient cities of Iran before and after Islam. Up to the middle of governing of King Tahmasb, the second King of Safavid dynasty 962AH/1555AD, this city was the capital and after that up to the end of the government of Qajarid dynasty 1194AH/1780AD has always been the second most important and unique city of Iran considering the religious, political and economic standpoints and consequently the architecture and urbanism. Unfortunately, consecutive earthquakes and wars with the neighbor Ottoman country have destroyed the spatial structure of this historical city. Like, now after three decades the spatial structure of Tabriz during Safavid era, is ambiguous. Only, the documents related to this era is limited to itineraries and some drawings that is recorded by tourists. The miniature drawn by Nasuh known as Matrakçı in 944Ah/1537AD is the oldest and most important recorded document from Safavid Tabriz because of political- military reasons that is drawn during the attack of Sultan Süleyman the Ottoman to Iran and the reign of King Tahmasb the First, but none of the architecture and urbanism researchers has attempted to reread this important historical document.

Hence, the goal of the present paper is recreating the physical structure of Dar Al-Saltaneh[i] of Tabriz in Safavid dynasty from historic texts based on Matrakçı miniature and other historical documents, and for this purpose the recreation was done on the oldest and most complete historical map remained from Tabriz in 1297Ah/1880AD named Qaracadaği Dar Al-Saltaneh, therefore a fairly accurate picture of Tabriz could be presented in this period.

Information was gathered using historical-interpretative method or phenomenological approach and data were analyzed and interpreted using analytical-comparative method.

Results of pictorial modelling show that structural system of Tabriz was based on two main centralities: governmental center, located at north of river, with aggregation of urban spaces and tombs; and in contrast, the southern center, located at south of river, which was considered city center or aggregation of religious, commercial, services and residential spaces.

[i] The word Dar Al-Saltaneh means the capital, which was the nickname of Tabriz, Isfahan and Tehran (Dehkhoda, 1998).

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.