The city of Yazd is located in the center of Iran, in a vast dry rain shadow desert valley overlooked by the Shir Kuh, Iran's highest mountain range. Yazd was probably founded by the Sassanids, and grew in eminence as a junction of trade routes linking the cities of Isfahan, Kerman and Neyshabur. It has, since the Arab conquest in 642, continued to be an urban settlement shaped and characterized by mud domes and wind tower architectural forms, extensive subterranean canal systems (qanats) and quarters of Zoroastrian and Jewish minorities. The earliest known descriptions, dating from the tenth century describe a well-built, fortified city with iron gates, then known as Kathah in the larger province of Yazd.
The Kakuyids established a series of villages and reinforced the network of qanats around Yazd. Hence greatly contributing to the rapid urbanization of the region in the eleventh century. Yazd under the subsequent rule of the Atabegs survived the Mongol invasion of Persia in 1220 to later become a refuge for Islamic culture and learning. The Il-Khanid rule under Sayyid Rukn al Din in the fourteenth century witnessed an increase in construction with the use of the waqf as an instrument for urban development. The Muzaffarid conquest in 1313 ushered in an era of prosperity and development as Yazd became capital to the provinces of Kerman, Fars and Shiraz.
Large urban design projects were initiated and the city walls were rebuilt in 1346-7, nearly doubling the size of the city. The complex of Vaqt va Sat comprising of a shrine, library, college and observatory was constructed next to the Atabeg Friday mosque, which was itself reconstructed half a century later in 1375.The Timurid conquest reinforced Yazd's status as an important military stronghold in central Iran when defense walls and fortifications were added to the city's southern limits in 1395. Yazd became a center of religious education under the reign of the Timurid governor, Amir Chaqmaq. Yazd passed into Safavid control in the early sixteenth century, as a city of little importance and alternately part of the provinces of Fars, Kerman and Khurasan. The invasion and unstable rule by the Ghalzai Afghans in the 1720s furthered the city's deterioration with little new development till 1747. A succession of able governors beginning with Mohammad Taqi Khan (1747-1798) partially restored the city's lost glory with construction and repair of qanats, villages, gardens, caravan-serais and defense outposts.
Yazd's existence in an arid region was made possible by an extensive system of sloping subterranean man made infiltration tunnels which conduit fresh water from the surrounding highlands. Some of these conduits, called qanats are as long as 50 kilometres in length, though the most do not exceed five kilometres. The extreme climate also evolved architecture obsessed with insulation by mud bricks and thick walls as well as cooling by ventilation structures called badgirs. A badgir is a vertical wind catching structure on the roof that directs and cools trapped wind over small water pools within the building.
Bonine, Michael Edward. "Yazd and its Hinterland: A central place system of dominance in the central Iranian plateau." Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, 1975.
Lockhardt, Laurence. Persian Cities. London: Luzac & Company, 1960.
Yazd Province." Iran Travel and Tourism Organization. http://www.yazdcity.com/english/indexen.htm [Site inaccessible as of 11 August, 2016]
"Iranian Architecture." http://www.irania.tv/city/yazd/ [Site inaccessible as of 11 August, 2016]
Esmailpour Ghouchani, Iradj. “English abstract of 'of Constitutionalism in Yazd: From the Introduction of the New Contemplation until the Coup d’etat of Seyyed Ziaeddin Tabatabaei (1906-1920)'". Translated by Niki Akhavan. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi. 84. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
تشکرى بافقى، على اكبر. مشروطيت در
يزد: از ورود انديشۀ نوين تا كودتاى سيد ضياء الدين طباطبائى: ١٢٩٩- ١٢٨٥ش.
تهران: مرکز یزد شناسی،
Tashakkuri Bafqi, ʻAli Akbar. Mashrutiyat
dar Yazd: az Vurud-i Andishah-yi Navin ta Kudita-yi Sayyid Ziyaʼ al-Din
Tabatabaʼi: 1285-1299 Sh. Tehran: Markaz-i Yazdshinasi, 1998-1999, 290pp.
in Yazd: From the Introduction of the New Contemplation until the Coup d’etat
of Seyyed Ziaeddin Tabatabaei (1906-1920)
مشروطيت در يزد: از ورود انديشۀ نوين
تا كودتاى سيد ضياء الدين طباطبائى: ١٢٩٩- ١٢٨٥ش
chapter provides an overview of the city’s history and geography. It also
covers some of Yazd’s natural limitations which have isolated the town from
other centres of power. However, in the rest of the book which is divided into
four sections on politics, society, economics, and culture, the main aim is to
consider how new ideas about constitutionalism became popular in a place like
section, the book shows how the wave of constitutionalism shifted course after
coming into contact with the edges of the “remote world” of Yazd and became
subject to interpretation to the extent that it ultimately ends in the
reproduction of the same despotism of the past, but in a smaller dimension and
with greater chaos.
book’s most important characteristic is that it does not address the history of
constitutionalism based on occurrences in Tehran, as is usually the case, but
from the perspective of a small but heterogeneous city. Attitudes toward
constitutionalism from the viewpoint of the city’s clergy, merchants, and
religious minorities, especially the Zoroastrians, are clearly evident from
public correspondence, minutes of meetings, newspapers, and the confidential
correspondence with the British Embassy, all of which have been published in
sketches a picture of constitutionalism in “one of the most remote parts of
Iran” for critics and scholars of modernity and modernisation in Iran. This
picture is one in which the ideas of constitutionalism which aimed to weaken
absolutism and to establish a parliamentary order failed. These ideas became
instruments in the hands of despots and local looters who further encroached on
the lives and property of the people behind the cloak of constitutionalism.