Recognition of Effective Factors of the Formation of Historical Cemeteries By Focusing on Historical Cemeteries of Tehran

Document Type : Research Article


1 Ph. D. Candidate in Conservation of Historic Monuments & Fabrics, Isfahan University of Arts, Iran.

2 Department of Architecture & Urbanism, Isfahan University of Arts, Iran

3 Department of Architecture & Urbanism, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran


Problem Statement: As everlasting places, cemeteries have the same history as the cities they are located. Historical cemeteries acts as collective memory of the society and represent the identity of their primitive participants. Although academic researchers and experts emphasis on different values lied in the burial landscapes and their important role in the society, there is no precise definition for the concept of historical cemeteries. This issue, added to other factors, like various attitudes of modernity facing the concept of life and death, destructive interventions and inappropriate urban legislations, rapid development of urban areas, modern vandalism and the passive approach of relative sciences like urban planning & management and conservation etc. caused historical cemeteries to face different perturbation.
Aims: Emphasizing on the importance of historic cemeteries as a principal component of human settlements, the present study tries to give an appropriate answer to these questions: What is the definition of a Historic Cemetery? Which elements are important in the formation process of these historical sites?
Research Method: Using hermeneutical approach to read the cemetery as a text, this research uses the Grounded Theory (GT) methodology (Open Coding, axial Coding & Selective Coding) to analyze the environmental data gathered from four case studies in Tehran (Ibn Babawayh, Emamzadeh Abdullah, Dulab Armenian Cemetery & Zahir-ol-Doleh).
Conclusion: Iran historic cemeteries are formed by six main components (context, urban fabric, socio-cultural factors, history, physical ingredients and landscape) and can be classified in two categories (Internal & External Paradigm). A data-based theory shows that historical cemeteries are, in fact, cultural landscapes. By definition, these cemeteries consist of sets dating back more than 100 years and having a designated area. The obvious characteristic of such a landscape is a fundamental connection between its internal layers with the surrounding context that is a combination of natural and manufactured elements itself. Enriched by monuments, sculptures and abstract motives, these places have different religious, socio-cultural & monumental aspects and are respected by various groups of the society (local, township, regional & country). Iranian historical cemeteries express a fundamental relation between urban landscape, historical factors, human organization power and undeniable role of water and plants, enriching the existing fabrics through architectural and artistic concepts. Presence of symbols and mythical believes, as well as architectural monuments and historic events occurred in such places, bring a new essence into the burial fields that is both culturally and historically prosperous. By adding a ‘historical’ adjective to cemetery, this could be a subject of a specified discipline entitled ‘the Eco-historical environments’ that needs to provide an appropriate platform to guarantee the constant life of cemeteries as collective memorials of the cities.


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