An Analysis of Shiraz Large-scale Historical Landscape based on Images Drawn by Foreign Travelers

Document Type : Research Article



The textual and structural approach to landscape makes it possible to develop a visual analysis of a landscape and its concepts and elements. Conducted in an inductive approach, this study uses historical documents with an exploratory and descriptive strategy to draw results. This research can also be considered a visual study which uses image as an extraction and induction tool. The hypothesis of the research is that Shiraz large-scale historical landscape can be reconstructed based on the qualitative and quantitative analysis of images drawn by foreign travelers in recent centuries. the Shiraz historical landscape can be represented in terms of continuing of features and elements of the images. Shiraz, the capital of Fars province, is one of the oldest cities and the most populous cities of the present Iran. Shiraz has a semi-temperate climate, and in the past its water had been supplied from number of subterranean (Ghanat). Afifabad, Eram, Delgosha, and Bagh-e-Takht are well-known gardens in Shiraz which have a vague but very old history. This paper aims at answering these questions: What components are included in the large-scale historical landscape of Shiraz? How Shiraz large-scale historical landscape has evolved? Which components of Shiraz large-scale historical landscape are more important, and is maintaining them necessary? However, in the oldest available image of Shiraz, drawn by Andre Dulier-Dealandes in 1664, about 100 years before ruling of Karim khan Zand in Shiraz (1765), an interesting point can be found. Based on Dealandes’ illustrations and descriptions, there are lots of cypress trees around Shiraz especially in its northern entrance and west side which has surrounded the city area. This image has been drawn from the north of the city behind Koran gate which gated the way to Isfahan. Jean Charden, a French tourist, who visited Shiraz in 1674; about 10 years after Dealandes, has a picture from the city entrance in which the abundant trees are noticeable. However, in Niebuhr’s picture (1765), drawn simultaneous with Kari khan monarchy, there is no sign of preeminent gardens leading to the city anymore. Four images drawn by four foreign travelers (Dealandes (1664), Charden (1674), Niebuhr (1765), Brugsch (1860)) were selected to conduct the study. These images included some landscape features of the upper level of the City of Shiraz in 200 years ago. Each image was analyzed in terms of components (natural (basic and secondary) and man-made) and characteristics (detail level) qualitatively and quantitatively. The percentage of each component was calculated and the detail level was analyzed in a trivalent range (high, medium and low). The results showed that the northern and southern mountains and the gardens leading to the Gate of Quran are the most important natural components of Shiraz large-scale historical landscape drawn with medium or high detail level. The Gate of Quran and the Mausoleum of Ali-Ibn-Hamzeh are the most significant man-made components of Shiraz large-scale historical landscape in the images. The Khoshk River is another key natural element of the city drawn with relatively little details. Shiraz Urban Management should do its best to preserve these components to help maintain the identity of Shiraz historical landscape.