Varzaneh the gate of Isfahan’s Desert
Leaving Ghurtan and heading east, one will reach Varzaneh. Varzaneh is the last city on the banks of Zayandeh Rud. The exhausted river, turned muddy and unclear here and unsuitable for farming, vanishes in Gavkhuni Marshland, 12 km further in the desert. Zayandeh Rud Plain has a slight slope from west to east, the altitude reaching 1,450 m in Gavkhuni Marshland.
Varzaneh with a population of 10,000 is 145 km away from Esfahan in an easterly direction. It is a desert city with a hot and dry climate. This climate has always had its influence on people's lifestyle there. The women wear white chadors, protecting them from the heat, and also badgirs are installed in buildings for airconditioning. The oldest historical site in Varzaneh is its Masjed Jame from the Timurid period (15th century). The tile working bears the name of Shahrokh the Timurid (Tamer lane's son).
The Masjed Jame is a two-iwan mosque which originally had tile work decoration. Of all the tile work, only the ones in the mihrab and the ceiling joining the space under the dome to the iwan have survived, as well as pulpit itself. Amongst the floral and geometrical faience mosaic designs, many six-sided stars similar to the Star of David can be recognized (called Khatam-e Suleimani), some of them in high relief. The names of the prophet Mohammad and Imam Ali are written in beautiful calligraphy. In some of the stars, each side is decorated with a Shamseh (the solar shape). Turquoise and lapis lazuli are the predominant colors in the faience mosaic. The dome's exterior view is of bricks with trapezoid-shaped tile work decorating them, making it very similar to the dome of Sultan Bokht Agha in Esfahan. Varzaneh Bridge, Shakh Kenar Barrage, the watch tower, and many dove-cotes are amongst the other historical sites in the city of Varzaneh.
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