The maydan, or public plaza, is an eight hectare space constructed under Shah Abbas I between 1590 and 1595 for state ceremonies and sport. A two storied, arcaded perimeter of stores was added by 1602 in an effort to introduce commerce to the area, luring merchants from the old city to the north.
Festivals and parades continued in this multifunctional space, alternating use of the large central area with commercial stalls. The arcaded facades were originally decorated with polychrome glazed tiles, the rhythm of the arcades broken once on each façade by the entrance to a building. On the south, the Shah Mosque; east, the Mosque of Shaykh Lutfallah; the Ali Qapu on the west façade; on the north the monumental entrance portal to a two kilometer bazaar which links the maydan to the old city.
The iwan of this grand portal, known as the Naqqara-khana, crowned with the representation of Sagittarius in mosaic tile, leads to the royal bazaar, the royal mint and the royal caravanserai. This was the strong room for the most valuable trade in the city.
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Bakhtiar, Ali. “The Royal Bazaar of Isfahan” Iranian Studies 7, no. 1/2, Studies on Isfahan: Proceedings of the Isfahan Colloquium, Part I (Winter - Spring, 1974): 320-347.
Blair, Sheila S. and Jonathan M. Bloom. The Art and Architecture of Islam. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994. 185.
Blake, Stephen. Half the World: The Social Architecture of Safavid Isfahan, 1590-1722. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 1999. 22-3, 26-7, 105-07.
Michell, George. Architecture of the Islamic World. London: Thames and Hudson, 1978. 73.
August 8, 2018 (AKDC Staff): edited alternate names.
Afshar, Hamid and Parham Karimi. میدان: بررسی و مقایسھ میدان خان یزد و میدان نقش جھان اصفھان / Town Square: A Comparative Study of Khan Square with Naqsh-e Jahan Square. Tehran: Iranology Foundation, Department of Art and Architecture, 2018.
Town square (or Maidan in Farsi) is one of the most important and multifaceted inspirational elements in the traditional urban pattern of Iranian cities. The main function of squares emphases on urban transportation affairs, but it also covers a range of economic, social, military, political and religious activities. Since the Safavid era, due to the particular approach of this dynasty to urban design, the square became a crucial element in the urban structure of Iranian cities. In this regard, Naqsh-e Jahan Square built by the order of Shah Abbas I in the capital city of Safavid dynasty (1501-1736), Isfahan. Since then, this square has had a profound influence on the urban texture of other Iranian cities. In this regard, Khan Square layout in Yazd, which was constructed in the late Zand dynasty (1751-1794) era inspired by the model of Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan. The purpose of this article is to introduce and describe the vital components of Yazd’s Khan Square and Isfahan’s Naqsh-e Jahan square. In this article, the inspirational mechanisms in the design of these two outstanding squares are also painstakingly studied.