In the old texture of Kashan there is an important building. It is a house belonged to a dignitary of the city. As a result of having astonishing decorations it is called as the bride of Iranian house. This house is known as Tabatabae house, according to the name of its owner, and is a masterpiece of architecture. In fact, each part of this house has built perfectly which meets all the needs. It is possible that if you do not know the features of the house, you won’t notice its beauty from the outside.
About 200 years ago one of the dignitaries of Kashan built his house next to the shrine of Amir Ahmad. This house is known by his last name, Tabatabae house. Actually he was a merchant of carpets which all over the house you will see decorations adopted by the plans of carpets. In addition the architecture of Tabatabae house was Ali Maryam, the same with Brujerdi house.
Tabatabae house has a symmetric plan and an internal decoration that looks like a simple house from the outside but as one enters he or she will got surprised by its eye-catching decoration. Moreover, like some other houses in Kashan, it has a special architecture known as “Godal-Baghche”. In this style the foundation of the building is based about a level under ground. It helps its stabilization and also act like an insulation.
This house has 5 doors but now only one of them is using, which is the main one. Then after a labyrinth aisle you will reach to the vestibule. It is an octagonal place which was used like a reception hall, when someone entered, he or she had to wait here for a while. In addition, almost all of the traditional houses have a vestibule that avoids a direct sight to the interior part.
The exterior part
Like other traditional houses, this house consists two parts, interior and exterior. Right after vestibule you will reach the courtyard, which is in the exterior part. The existence of trees, pool and white stones all result in a terrific view. Most important parts of Tabatabae house are located in the exterior part.
Alcove or “Shah Neshin”
Alcove or “Shah Neshin” is The most beautiful part of Tabatabae house. Also it is known with other names, such as; the big hall because it has a high ceiling and the mirror hall as it is decorated astonishingly with mirror work. Beside mirror works, stalactites, friezes, paintings and stucco works added its beauty. In fact it was like a reception room, being used during ceremonies or celebrations.
In front of alcove there is portico decorated with outstanding mirror works. Mirror work is a luxury ornamentation that only was done in dignitary’s houses. It has said that a beautiful carpet paved the portico which its reflection on the mirror would made an amazing scene. Moreover, star-shape mirror works can be interpreted as the symbol of cities in deserts.
Around the court yard there are some rooms. Some were used during winter and some during summer, Those with fire place and short ceiling are winter rooms. In spite of winter rooms, summer rooms are located in way to attract lights lesser.
On both sides of alcove there are two yards. They are two octagonal yards surrounded by two-story buildings. Whenever there was a ceremony, men stood at first level and women at the second. The eastern one has the accessibility to stables. In fact, these yards were used by servants during parties or ceremonies. In addition they could act like openings to provide necessary light of the building.
Tabatabae house is one of the most important houses in Iran. It has two parts, the interior part were used by owner and the exterior part was like an official or public part. This house is a masterpiece of architecture with varied types of ornamentations. It is a unique house, visiting by many tourist each year.