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Safavid Gardens
1557 1919
Mahvash Alemi


When Shah Tahmasp (1524–1576) decided to transfer his capital from Tabriz to Qazvin, the greatest part of his additions to the new capital were the buildings and gardens for the residence of the court. It developed into a garden city (bāghistān), known as Sa‛adatabad, northeast of the existing city to which it was linked through a promenade, khiyābān, and two squares (maydān). After it was completed in 1557, Shah Tahmasp moved from the old to the new palace. The court poet and historian, ‛Abdi Bayk Navidi (1515–1580) lauded in verse the king and the Sa‘adat garden. His description of the garden city starts significantly from its processional promenade, khiyābān. It ran from south to north and had two gates at each end. Navidi underlines the public function and reception of the “khiyābān outside the Shah’s house,” saying that people were happy to promenade there, and he exalts its pleasant garden features, air, water, verdant grass, and trees.

A drawing by Kaempfer depicts this promenade, which began at a gate near the Great Mosque and ended at the ‘Ali Qapu gate. Kaempfer defines the space as the “vestibule to ‘Ali Qapu.” It was, according to him, a great rectilinear space (650 paces long and 65 paces wide), at the sides of which were planted, every seven paces, alternating plane and mulberry trees. On its eastern side, two vaulted passages (sarguzar) led to a school (madrasah) and to the “house of the viceroy.” A row of houses on its western side separated the khiyābān from a street along which was the “Pyr ‘Imamzada Isma‛il mausoleum.” Pascal Coste drew a view of the khiyābān in 1840, and it is shown on the 1919 plan of Qazvin. Today, its southern gate has been demolished.



  • Travel Account, 1684
  • Travel Account, 1840
  • Court Chronicle, 1580
  • Architectural Plans/Sketches, 1919