Old Context of Tehran, Converting Threats into Opportunities

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Prof., Dep. of Archaeology, University of Tehran

2 Ph.D. Candidate in Archaeology, University of Tehran


Old context of Tehran has accounted for one of the most important architectural and traditional
heritages of Iran with unique historical and cultural values. In the course of formation and
historical evolution, this section of Tehran has experienced specific cultural, political and
economic conditions and bears cultural identity signs from various historical periods.
Preservation and restoration of this context, however, require the recognition of its important
components. The modern alterations in the economic, social, cultural, and political structures
have created special condition which diverts potential threats to the Tehran’s old context. Easy
life and enjoying the modern technology at these parts require schematization, re-organization,
revival and renewal of old context and toleration between old and new architecture. In this way,
the first step is cognition and analysis of existent problems of old context.
The present research is functional in subject and descriptive-inductive in analysis. Relying on
qualitative methodology and content analysis of written sources and also study about the history
of Old Tehran, the authors attempt to define boundaries of the old context. In this way, we use
ancient maps and written sources and finally carry on a field survey. With the recognition of
historical monuments at the old context, we also tried to describe and analyze the problems of
this context to suggest ways for preservation and utilization of this desirable architecture. What
are the most important threats of Tehran’s old context and how can we deal with these problems
are our fundamental questions. 
Geographical limits of the research
The geographical boundaries of the present case study are situated in the district 12 of Tehran.
From north it is restricted to Amir Kabir (Cheragh- e Bargh) Street, Emam Khomeyni Square
(Tupkhaneh), and Emam Khomeyni Street, from west to Khayam Street, from south to Molavi
Street and Mohamadiyeh (Eedam) Square to Molavi Crossroad, and from east to Mostafa
Khomeyni Street.
Results and Discussion
Planning, revival, and restoration of Tehran's old texture should be a systematic and
comprehensive program which considers historical, economic, cultural, and population crowd as
a continuous and solidarity matter which acts alongside each other. This approach attempts to
analyze the traits and reciprocal impacts of the mentioned factors and finally offers a
comprehensive and uniform scheme for planning and restoration of Tehran's old texture. In
restoration and revival programs the most notable point is recovering of the texture which lost
their revenue and dynamics so that during time it shifted to unusable or unsuitable places. One
of the most important aspects in dealing with these textures is special attention to revival of the
texture with regard to the needs of its habitants who have or may have historical or spatial ties
with the area. However, living in old texture needs to have common feeling with its events,
memories, and the roots in theme. This seems to be required for improvements.
Results of this study showed that deficiencies in city management like plurality of decision
making institutes, infirmity of decision making agents, absence of an independent responsible,
unsuitable metropolitan infrastructure, and insufficient attention of ICHTO authorities to
introduction, documentation, restoration and preservation of this heritage are the most affective
factors on the Tehran’s old texture. Our suggested approach to cope with these problems
considers a comprehensive plan for restoration, sanitation, and revival of the old sectors. This
necessitates deep historical and social understanding of the texture; while it could prepare
complete preservation of the context and even try to make money from this heritage. To do so,
we need to improve our supervision on the old texture and with the help of registering the
complex at the National Heritage List can make suitable situation for active co-operation of
private sectors with management, planning, and its revival. This could happen by designation of
appropriate functions like workshops and handicraft stores in the various parts of the area.
These approaches if wouldn't be temporary and proceed continuously according to a wellplanned
program, not only may reduce destruction of the old texture but also will bring positive
effects to the local structures of the area and absorb various tourists and thus improve the life
standards of the local residents.


Main Subjects