Abbasian’s House: 19th-century house of full aesthetic wonders
Behind the town’s high mudbrick walls are tens of elegant traditional houses built by wealthy merchants, monuments to remind the importance of Kashan as a Qajar-era (1789–1925) commercial hub.
Constructed in the 19th century, Khan-e Abbasian is famed for its traditional architecture, delicate stucco, bas-reliefs, mirrorwork, glasswork, and perfect symmetry. Located in the delightful oasis city of Kashan, the elegant house has six courtyards, many arcade chambers on five floors with a total area of 7,000 square meters. There is so much to see in this house. Every window, every corner, every floor is full of gorgeous artwork and history. It is popular among avid tourists, who say that it takes at least an hour to explore all the halls and yards of this ‘castle’. Furthermore, the high porticos and reception halls are ornamented with plaster reliefs and fine mirror work, but most of the notes are the exceptionally beautiful and detailed stained-glass windows, befitting of the house’s original owner. Its numerous subterranean courtyards are designed to enhance the sense of space by increasing in size and depth as the complex unfolds. For that reason and despite illusion, the multi-storey buildings are no higher than neighboring properties in the old district. Like many other traditional houses of the city, Abbasi House features a public part, which is called “birooni”, and a private living part “andarooni”, used mostly by women and servants. The living part of the house is divided into two parts – winter and summer residence; winter rooms are smaller and have less air circulation, which helps to keep the warm air inside while summer rooms are air-conditioned with wind towers and fountains. Also, Abbasi House has several bigger halls, used for entertaining the guests. This way, visitors can observe the laundry room, kitchen, and praying room in the living part of the house and storage room and pavilion in the public part, as well as secret passageways, meant for evacuation in case of emergency. On the second floor, there is an outstanding “Shahneshin”, a five-door traditional hall, called Mirror Hall – its ceiling is decorated with mirror mosaics that creates the feeling of a starry sky. The interior is lavishly decorated with lattice, mosaic windows, stucco reliefs, and carvings. The courtyards have water pools that are provided with water through “qanats” – a network of canals, bringing water to the house. The house includes two main entrances; one is situated at the south of the courtyard, comprised of two corridors, a vestibule (hashti), and a yard, which collectively leads the visitors through several successive twisting spaces to a corridor ending in various corners of the courtyard. The other one, located on the north and including an open passageway, a vestibule, and a corridor, takes two turns and leads to the northeastern platform in the courtyard. The southeastern part holds a hall (talar) and two rooms (seh-dari) on the first floor connected through sash doors and three rooms, one panj-dari and two seh-daris connected by two small porches (ayvancheh) on the second floor. On the upper mezzanine, there are two elongated spaces above the ayvans (porticos), lit from the courtyard through small apertures. The southwestern part consists of a hall on the first floor, decorated with exquisite mirror work and yazdi-bandi. Above this room. There is a room (panj-dari), surrounded by two small porches (ayvancheh) which join each other to form a platform (soffeh) in front. The already-mentioned ayvanchehs are topped with other space. Also, the central arch of the panj-dari soars up above the roofline of this part The northeastern part echoes its opposite façade on the southwest while the rear rooms are completely different. The ground floor is located several steps below the courtyard. Above it, a seh-dari room is surrounded by two kafsh-kans. On the mezzanine, there are two neighboring halls (talars). Howz-khaneh (pool house), with its domed roof and barrel vaults, is located on the western part. You can see one of the elegant domed ceilings with angled skylights smoothing the light and preventing the room from the excessive heat here. On the eastern part, there is a roofed space decorated with rasmi-bandi, opening to its adjacent room through a sash door. Moreover, the house has two wind towers and two water-wells. The former reduces the temperature of the house during the hot days of the year and the latter provides the necessary water for the residents of the house. Abbasi House is situated within the historic core of Kashan. It is close to Alavi St. and surrounded by other touristic spots. Within walking distance, one can reach Borujerdi House, Ameri House, Tabatabaei House, Toy Museum, Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse, and other travel destinations. Moreover, the imposing Agha Bozorg Mosque and the vaulted Bazaar of Kashan are located within 15 minutes’ walking. Partly renovated and turned into a public museum, Abbasi House is protected by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts. Under travelers’ eyes Here is a selection of comments that visitors to the 19th-century house have posted to TripAdvisor, one of the most popular travel websites in the world: ‘Nice ancient Kashan house’ This is a great example of 19th century Kashani house, located in front of the quite frankly more majestic Tabatabei house. Visit this beautiful ancient house before the baths and the other ancient houses in Kashan. You will be forgiven for missing out on it if you only have a day or two in Kashan, as the Tabatabei house is more impressive. Nonetheless, if you have time, it’s really worth the combined ticket to the houses. (juanchijmc from Basel, Switzerland) ‘Beautiful’ This is a very nice house. Combine it with the restaurant and with the coffee shop. We love this house. (Jan from Groningen, The Netherlands) ‘Interesting’ I really was surprised about the well-prepared building. The atmosphere is great and I can only recommend visiting it. (Thomas N from Innsbruck, Austria) ‘Love it can stay hours here’ This is by far my favorite house in Kashan. It is very big, still in renovation. All these beautiful rooms, private garden, and area, the public area. The artwork on the walls and ceiling is so refined and honestly amazing. So many different ones based on the room or area used. They seem the same but once you pay attention you can see the differences. The sewage system and the water system are so intelligent. This is an amazing place. (Taffoolie from Paris) ‘Delightful former private home in Kashan’ Walking down toward the lower floors that allow cool air to drop makes the environment more tolerable to enjoy. The artwork is worth seeing, the original colors and skill must have been amazing. The House once a family home worth visiting is delightful, as with everything in Iran the decor is all around don’t forget to look up! (fussy011 from Northallerton, UK) ‘Beautiful historical house’ The optical effect of numerous floors, but the house is at the same level as others, six buildings excavated from underground. (pretisan from Milano) ‘Not so special but quite big area’ Not so special but quite a big area that is good for visit especially that is under combo ticket housing. I love the summer room that has 4 big seats to take rest & cooler the head. that is good. (iamface from East Sussex)