Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Introduction and history
Qazvin (historically also rendered as Kazvin, Kasvin, and Casbin in the West) is a city in Iran, some 90 km (60 miles) northwest of Tehran, in Qazvin Province. It is at an altitude of about 1800 meters above sea level, and is a city with a cool but dry climate being south of the rugged Alborz range.
The city was the location of a former capital of the Persian Empire and contains over 2000 architectural and archeological sites. It is a provincial capital today that has been a cultural center of mass throughout history.
Archeological findings in the Qazvin plain reveal the existence of urban agricultural settlements as far back as 7000BC. The name “Qazvin” or “Kasbin” is derived from Cas, an ancient tribe that lived south of the Caspian Sea millennia ago. The Caspian Sea itself in fact derives its name from the same origin. Qazvin geographically connects Tehran, Isfahan, and the Persian Gulf to the Caspian seacoast and Asia Minor, hence its strategic location throughout the ages.
Qazvin has been a hotbed of historical developments in Iranian history: Captured by invading Arabs (644 AD) and destroyed by Genghis Khan (13th century), the Safavid monarchs made Qazvin the capital of the Safavid empire in 1548 only to have it moved to Isfahan in 1598.
Bombed and occupied by Russian forces in both World Wars, Qazvin is also where the famous coup d’etat was launched from that led to the rise of the first Pahlavi dynasty in 1921. Qazvin is also situated near Alamut, where the famous Hasan-i Sabbah, founder of the secret Ismaili order of the Assassins, operated from. Qazvin has been able to survive all this turmoil, today having a population of 290,000 (1996).
Qazvin contains several archeological excavations dating back 9000 years ago. There are also 23 castles from the Ismaili Assassins nearby as well. And in the middle of the city, there lies the ruins of Meimoon Ghal'eh, one of several Sassanide edifices in the area.
Qazvin contains few buildings from the Safavi era when it was capital of Persia. Perhaps the most famous of the surviving edifices is the Ali Qapu mansion, today a museum in central Qazvin.
After Islam, the abundant attendance of mystics (ascetics), as well as the prevalence of tradition (Hadith), religious jurisprudence (Fegh´h), and philosophy in Qazvin, led to the emergence of many mosques and religious schools among which the most magnificent ones are:
- Jame e Atigh Mosque: One of the oldest mosques in Iran constructed by the orders of Harun al-Rashid in 807AD. In spite of the devastating Mongol invasion, this mosque still stands today in its full glory.
- Heidarieh Mosque: Renovated by Amir Khomär-täsh after the earthquake of 1119 AD, the history of construction of this mosque goes back to pre-Islam, where it was a fire temple.
- Masjed Al-nabi (Soltani Mosque): With an area of 14000m², this mosque is one of the most glorious mosques of antiquity, built in the Safavid period.
- Sanjideh Mosque: Another mosque of Qazvin dating back to pre-Islamic Iran; a former fire temple. Its present day form is attributed to the Seljukian era.
- Panjeh Ali Mosque: A former place of worship for royal harem members in the Safavid period.
- Peighambarieh School-Mosque: Founded 1644 according to inscription.
- Molla Verdikhani School-Mosque: Founded in 1648.
- Salehieh School-Mosque: Founded in 1845.
- Sheikhol Islam School-Mosque: Renovated in 1903.
- Eltefatieh School: Dating back to the Il-Khanid period.
- Sardar School- Mosque: Made by two brothers Hossein Khan and Hassan Khan Sardar in 1815, as a fulfillment of their promise if they came back victorious from a battle against the Russians.
Qazvin actually contains three buildings built by The Russians in the late 19th/early 20th century. Among these is the current Mayor's office (former Ballet Hall), a water reservoir, and the Cantor church where a Russian pilot is buried.
According to explorers Pietro Della Valle (1588-1713), Jean Baptist Tavenier (1605-1689), Johannes Chardin (1643-1713), and others, there have been many Christians of various sects living in Qazvin for centuries. Qazvin is where The Saint Hripsime Church is located, and it is also where four Jewish prophets gave tidings of the arrival of Jesus Christ. Their tomb is now a popular shrine called Peighambariyeh.
Another attraction near Qazvin, is the tombs of two Saljuki era princes, Aboo Saeed Bijar son of Sad and Aboo Mansoor Iltai son of Takin, that are located in two separate towers known as the Kharaghan twin towers. Constructed in 1067, these are the first monuments in Islamic Architecture which include a non-conic two-layered dome.
Unfortunately, both towers were severely damaged by a devastating earthquake on March 2003.
Aside from Shahzadeh Hossein, a shiite saint, where a handsome shrine has been built, there are an abundance of scientists and mystics who lived in Qazvin, or came from Qazvin, or whose tombs are scattered throughout the cities and villages of the province. Some of these are:
- Ali Akbar Dehkhoda: Prominent linguist and author of Iran's first modern Farsi dictionary, was originally from Qazvin.
- Obeid e Zakani: Famous 14th century poet noted for his satire and obscene verses. His Masnavi Mush-O-Gorbeh (Mouse and Cat) is a political satire.
- Oveis Qarani: A celebrity of early Islam, thought to have been killed here while fighting against an army of Deilamian origin. His tomb is known as Sultan Veis.
- Hamdollah Mostowfi: The great Il-Khanid historian and writer (1281-1349) and author of The Selected History (Tarikh Gozideh), Nezhatol Qoloub and Zafar Nameh. The turquoise conic dome and its inscription in Sols calligraphy in which Mostowfi’s family tree and his works are introduced are the features that distinguish the tomb from other historical monuments of Qazvin.
- Imam Ahmad Ghazali: Famous Iranian Gnostic who died in 1126 A.D. and was buried beside Shahzadeh Hossein. His tomb up to the end of the 16th century A.D. became the pilgrimage place for mystical sects. Following Shah Tahmasb’ s stubborn policies against philosophers and mystics and destroying Ghazali’s tomb, a group of his disciples took the remains of his body to the present place in Imamzadeh Ismail alley and constructed a new mausoleum for him. The monument was destroyed again in Mohammad Shah Qajar’s period only to be re-constructed by Majdol Islam Qazvini in 1910. Beside Ghazali’s tomb there is another tomb belonging to Soltan Seyed Mohammad Vali which dates back to 1625A.D.
- Molla Khalil Ibn Ghazi Qazvini: Famous faghih (religious jurist) and famous commentator of the Holy Koran in Safavid period (d 1678).
- Shahid Sales: Killed in 1846.
- Ra'ees ol-Mojahedin: The late Mirza Hassan Sheikhol Islam son of Mirza Masood Sheikhol Islam, leader of the liberals and constitutionalists of Qazvin whose endeavors and devotion to abolish the Qajar dynasty and conquer Tehran brought the title of Raeesol Mojahedin (chief of fighters) for him.
- Ali Ibn Shäzän
- Ibn Majeh
- Kheirol Nesaj
- Ibrahim Estanbeh Heravi
- Razi-olddin Taleghani
- Noor-olddin Geeli
- Ali Ibn Ghazi Ibn Ahmad
- Imam-olddin Rafee
- Siah Kolah
- Vaez Qazvini
- Allameh Zarabadi
- Sheikh Alak Qazvini
- Davoud Ibn Soleiman Ghazi
- Pir e Sefid
- Pir e Alamdar
- Molla Abdolvahab Darolshafaee
- Mohammad Ibn Yahya: Commentator of Qamoosol Loghat
Qazvin today is a center of textile trade, including cotton, silk and velvet, in addition to leather. It is on the railroad line and the highway between Tehran and Tabriz. Qazvin has one of the largest power plants feeding electricity into Iran's national power grid, the Shahid Raja'i facility.
Qazvin has four institutes of higher education:
- Imam Khomeini International University
- Islamic Azad University of Takestan
- Islamic Azad University of Qazvin
- Qazvin University of Medical Sciences
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