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Dust to Dust in Isfahan

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Many historic and old houses in Iran, embodying the architectural and social history of their time, are systematically being demolished or allowed to fall into disrepair and ruin. The main reason usually cited is financial gain. These houses are often located in central parts of cities where the value of land has escalated significantly over the years. Their owners therefore can hardly resist the lucrative offers of property developers who intend to turn them into apartment blocs or commercial centres.

But this is not the whole story. These houses suited the traditional style of living in the old days, when all the members of an extended family used to live under the same roof. Nowadays, however, young people tend to move out and settle in their own apartments when they get married and start their own family. Technological progress is also another decisive factor. Modern facilities more suited to today’s lifestyle have made amenities such as wind towers, cool basements and vast terraces of the large old houses superfluous and an extra burden.  

The development of cities and changes in town planning, resulting in the demolition of old houses to make way for new roads, are among other factors. At times, even listed buildings fall victim to these changes, or to the corruption and greed of property developers. Examples of these and many more cases which are a great loss to the national heritage have been illustrated in the photo gallery of Isfahan’s historic houses on this page.

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