Zavareh one of the oldest Iran's desert villages
Located only a short distance east of Ardestan, this ancient town was an important point on the crossroads of trade routes starting from Sasanid or even earlier times to approximately the 11th century. Today it is a forgotten little town whose narrow streets and flat-roofed houses have changed little in the last hundred years. Located on the edge of the desert, Zavareh has a very arid climate, often with very hot days and cold nights.

The name of Zavareh has caused disputes among scholars. Zavareh was the brother of Rostam in Shah-Nameh, and it is often believed that he was the founder of the town. According to other theories, Zavareh derives from zavvar (“pilgrims”), as it was an important site on the old caravan route to Mashhad, the main pilgrimage site of Islamic Iran. Some authorities claim that Zavareh means “the way to the sea”, but it seems really far-fetched, even when we recall that there was once a sea on the site that is today occupied by the desert. People of Zavareh are very pious and pay much attention to performing their religious rites. It is even more so because a great number of them are seyeds, allegedly tracing their ancestry from the Islamic prophet. The most important religious ceremonies are held during the first decade of Moharram in handsome hosseiniyehs, the number of which is amazing for this relatively small town.

The second historical monument of Iran - Ben kooye mosque Zavare


The main crafts of Zavareh are carpets and copperware; in the past, the local cotton textiles enjoyed special renown. Zavareh is known to have had an ancient pagan temple that under the Sasanians became a fire altar. The Khosrow Shah Qanat dates from the Parthian period. To the north from the town, the ruins of Sasanid buildings testify to the town's importance during the Sasanid period. According to the legend,
these are the remains of palaces that were built at the order of Khosrow Anushirvan as gifts to his former classmates. After the advent of Islam and particularly during the Buyid period, Zavareh became a Shiite center, and at approximately the same time, the seyeds migrated here from Esfahan. In the 11th century, the town had a fortified wall with four gates topped with watchtowers. For a long time, this fortress was occupied by the Ismailites. Zavareh first reeled under crushing blows of Mongol hordes. The Mongols could not put down the resistance of the locals, so they ruined qanats and left the town without water. Nasir al-Din Tusi, the remarkable Iranian scientist loyal to the Mongols, prompted the locals to leave the town. When the enraged Mongols entered the empty town, they almost razed it. During the Safavid reign, Zavareh was firmly established as a Shiite center. The Afghans delivered the second irretrievable blow to the town, which was only partially restored during the Zand and Qajar rules.
Modern Zavarch is interesting for its peculiar architecture typical to desert towns. Its historical fabric includes narrow, winding lanes of residential quarters, the 17th-century derelict bazaar, several ancient icehouses and wells, and an astonishing array of open-air and roofed Hosseiniyehs. But its main places of interest comprise the Congregational Mosque and the Pa Menar Mosque and Minaret.


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