The Landscape of Maydan-e Naghshe Jahan Main Entrance: Values and Issues



Despite various researches on different aspects of world heritage sites in Iran approved by UNESCO, little has been done on the landscapes of these valuable sites and complexes and their importance in achieving place identity. This is whilst the landscape of each complex is a valuable resource, and is similar to the work itself in need of conservation and maintenance. The importance of this issue coupled with the existing issues in the landscape of world heritage complexes including accessibility, activities, furnishing and lighting, make conservation and planning of cultural landscapes and valuable monuments inevitable. This research endeavors to study the landscape of Maydane Naghshe Jahan by literary sources together with field survey and observation. In the line of the study, the historical landscape of the maydan has been compared to the existing landscape of the maydan. There are various entrance to the maydan in Safavid era, some of them were more important than others . Qeysarieh Bazaar in the north was the main entrance to the maydan and Ali Qapoo entrance and Hassan Abad in the west and north –south respectively . As Qeysarieh Bazaar related maydan to the historical core of the city ( Maydane Kohneh), it was the most important entrance to the maydane Naghshe Jahan . So the builders considered its unique character and designed it to show its significance. The only entrance covering the whole cultural landscape of the complex is the entrance through Qeysarieh Bazaar, which highlights the quality of the square as a world heritage site. The study shows that visual qualities of this entrance have been captured through creating spatial contrast and beautiful landscapes. These design techniques helped to increase the uniqueness of the entrance from narrow, closed and busy views of bazaar to vast, opened and calm landscape of the Masjed – Imam in the other side of the maydan and to its natural environment of mountains in background. Despite the importance of this entrance and its sensibility to surrounding changes, it can be said that the most problematic area of the site of maydan is the entrance to the maydan through Qeysarieh Bazaar, unfortunately. From Pahlavid era to the current time many changes occurred in this area such as constructing different streets, leading motorized traffic in front of the bazaar to pass the maydan , deteriorating the function of the bazaar as the main pedestrian area to the maydan, traffic conjunction in the north of the maydan, unsafe pedestrian areas together with visual disorders has caused that essential design values of the past has been neglected in the current situation. Although the many mentioned changes in the maydan, its surroundings and the historical texture of Isfahan have reduced the importance and originality of the landscapes of the main entrances to the maydan but a proper visual planning and management of the maydan can help to reduce the unattractive views and create better landscapes. The conclusion of this study is focused on some planning strategies for maintaining the originality and health of the landscape of the main entrance to the Maydane Naghshe Jahan.