Natanz a historical city in the shadow of nuclear rumors
For more than a decade, the name of Natanz in Isfahan province has been associated with its nuclear energy facility. However, to an Iranian, it brings to mind rare and unique mementos such as a type of pear grown in Tameh Village. Located 326 km from Tehran, 138 km from Isfahan, and 74 km from Kashan, Natanz is on the back of the famous Karkas mountain range and en route to Isfahan’s deserts. The city boasts of dozens of aqueducts that were influential in creating gardens and logged the city as one of the most beautiful garden cities.
Due to its appropriate climate and geographical location, it is an important crossroads linking the north to south and central Iran. Since publicity for Natanz is poor, some of its potentials are attributed to the adjacent city of Kashan. Natanz's attractions are categorized into two groups. The first includes landscapes outside the city’s periphery, i.e. Abyaneh Village, Badroud city, and Aqa Ali Abbas Shrine which is situated better than those in the second group which includes attractions that are located within the city. Natanz’s glory reached its zenith during the rule of the Safavid dynasty.
The two palaces of Abbasabad and Tajabad are historical monuments that were built during the Safavid era. The city is also home to many holy shrines, some of which are mentioned as follows: Monastery and tomb of Sheikh Abdol Samad Isfahani is the most significant historical monument of the city. Dating back to 700 years, it is the symbol of the city. Sheikh Abdol Samad Isfahani was a noted mystic who lived in Natanz during the Ilkhanid era. He died at the end of the 13th century CE. The monastery’s portal has been inspired by Iranian architecture and adorned with beautiful decorations. The monastery’s altar was stolen in the 20th century but it eventually reappeared in Victoria and Albert Museum, in London. There is an ancient sycamore tree in front of the tomb.
It is considered one of the most important natural attractions of Iran. Natanz Jame’ Mosque is located near Sheikh Abdol Samad Isfahani Tomb. Its dome house is a heritage of the Al-e Bouyeh dynasty. This time, the altar was plundered by the Europeans. Another tourist spot in the city of Natanz Fireplace, which is next to Jame’ Mosque. It dates back to the pre-Islamic era. Natanz Mir Mosque is located in the vicinity of Sheikh Abdol Samad Isfahani Tomb. It has a famous altar with beautiful plasterwork. According to André Godard, a renowned French architect and constructor of the National Museum of Iran, the altar of the Mir Mosque is more delicate than the one located in Isfahan Jame’ Mosque. Afooshteh historical district, which has large gardens with sycamore trees, is the second tourist site of the city.
The district used to be the city’s chief residence with political and military importance. It is home to ancient monuments pertaining to the Timurid and Safavid eras. Afooshteh Pantry was the resting place of the kings and aristocrats during the Safavid era. Afooshteh Bath (built-in pre-Safavid era) and Afooshteh Jame’ Mosque are among the must-see sites of the district. Natanz was also one of the interesting hunting grounds of Safavid king Shah Abbas. It is said that the king had a goshawk that died in 1580 CE. When the king returned from hunting, he ordered the construction of a memorial in memory of the bird on one of the peaks of Karkas Mountain.
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