Set at the foot of the Alborz mountains, Tehran, once an agricultural enclave characterized by forests and abundant mountain water, developed at the site of a citadel since medieval times. Tehran was first walled during the Safavid era, in the mid-sixteenth century. With the decline of other regional centers, Tehran replaced Shiraz as the capital of the Zand dynasty in the mid-eighteenth century, before being proclaimed the capital of the succeeding Qajar dynasty in 1795. Tehran flourished under Qajar patronage, and the city gained the addition of various gardens and complexes, perhaps the most notable being the Kakh-i Gulistan, or Gulistan Palace.
By the early twentieth century, these walls were subsumed by the continually expanding city, as the population growth reached half a million. From 1870-2/1287-9 AH, Nasir al-Din undertook the city's modernization, extending the city walls, adding decorative towers and twelve new, tiled gates. Inspired by the urban development of Paris under Napoleon III, which al-Din had witnessed personally on a visit abroad in 1873, the new walls were designed with the work of Sebastien Leprestre de Vauban in mind, and the area north of the original city transformed to the likeness of the Boulevard Haussman. New avenues and squares were constructed, among them; Meydan-e Tupkhane (Cannon Square) , Avenue Lalezar (Tulipbed Street), and Ala Od Dwale Under al-Din's direction the city quadrupled in size, and many of the gardens surrounding the city were used for further construction. The Kakh-i Gulistan was rebuilt, and became the centerpiece of the city, with the addition of turreted towers, supervised by Dust 'Ali Khan Nizam al Dawla. Polychrome tiles replaced the painted ornamentation in much of the complex, as did carved stucco and decorative mirror-work. In addition to the Kakh-i Gulistan, summer palaces were constructed in the Shimiranat villages in the city's northern suburbs.
Tehran yet again underwent expansion and modernization efforts in the mid-twentieth century, as the prosperity that accompanied the exploitation of oil from the 1950s accelerated the growth of the city. In 1979, Tehran became a hub for revolutionary activities, aimed at concluding the reign of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The city has continued to be a site of development, with over half of Iran's total industry being based in Tehran, and the construction of many research and educational centers.
Esmailpour Ghouchani, Iradj. “English abstract of 'The Social History of Tehran in the Thirteenth Century Life and Business'". Translated by Niki Akhavan. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi, 138. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
شهرى، جعفر. تاریخ اجتماعی تهران در قرن سیزدهم: زندگى، كسب و كار. تهران: موسسه خدمات فرهنگی رسا: انتشارات اسماعیلیان، ١٣٦۷-١٣٦٨، ٦ جلد، ۴٣۴۴ص
Shahri, Jafar. Tarikh-i Ijtima‘i-yi Tihran dar Qarn-i Sizdahum: Zindagi, Kasb va Kar. Tehran: Mu’assasah-yi Khadamat-i Farhangi-yi Rasa: Intisharat-i Isma‘iliyyan, 1988/1990, 6 vols., 4344pp.
The Social History of Tehran in the Thirteenth Century Life and Business
تاریخ اجتماعی تهران در قرن سیزدهم: زندگى، كسب و كار
This work consists of six volumes comprising 4344 pages in total. It provides an extensive account of occupations during the Pahlavi era, with an emphasis on the reign of Reza Shah. The various images inserted in the volumes provide glimpses into the documents, engravings, paintings, places, and personalities of that period.
The first volume describes the neighbourhoods and physical spaces of Tehran. It also contains sections from the book Tehran’s Statistics and Census from the years 1883, 1891, 1922, 1932, and 1933. These can be a source of inspiration for other researchers of varying interests. In fact, the index on occupations alone was the author’s inspiration for writing the other five volumes which include an extensive list of occupations ranging from those at the ministry level to jobs such “cigarette stub cleaner.”
The writer’s style in describing the occupations generally consists of devoting several pages exclusively to one occupation such as “turmeric grinder”, “candle seller”, “tissue maker”, and “cheap clothing maker”, and the like. After describing each occupation, the author immediately covers its relevance and the cultural changes that arose from it. He then concludes by citing proverbs and compound words influenced by the particular occupation. However, some of his excesses in covering marginal issues undermine the book’s documentation aspect and value as a resource. Indeed, organising the chapters based on occupations is the only order imposed on the author’s rich recollections and his surprising associations. Nonetheless, the reader may find a detailed account of the causes of the Constitutional Revolution after a short description of the occupation “hat seller”.
The author’s detailed attention in describing seemingly unimportant occupations, however, makes his book one of the most important sources in urban sociology about one of the most sensitive periods in Iranian history when modernisation was moving forward at an increasing pace. Except for the first volume and unlike other historical books, sources are not noted and numbers, years, or months are never mentioned. Thus, it is more a book of personal narratives and experiences about a certain era than a historical work.
The book is accessible to the general public but attractive to those with specific interests and as such the audience for this work may be made of readers from all walks of life and business.