Identifying Factors Affecting on the Formation, Content and Nature of Local Squares in the Old Town of Nayin, Iran

Document Type : Original Article


1 M.A. in Urban Design, Faculty of Art and Architecture, University of Tarbiat Modares, Tehran, Iran.

2 Professor of Urban Design, Faculty of Art and Architecture, University of Tarbiat Modares, Tehran, Iran.

3 Assistant Professor of Urban Design, Faculty of Urban and Architecture, University of Tarbiat Modares, Tehran, Iran.

4 Ph.D. Candidate in Architecture, Faculty of Art and Architecture, Olom Tahghighat Branch, Islamic Azad University, Borujerd, Iran.


Rich Content of traditional and historical urban spaces provides an appropriate context for retraining different aspects of urban design. Based on the gradual evolution proportional with time, concepts and analytical techniques in knowledge of urban design, the aspects embedded in the design of the ancient cities of Iran can be sought. Focusing on this subject, the historical context of Nayin city, as one of valuable examples of urban design in center of Iran based on retention of the original structure of main squares, provides suitable context for identifying factors and forces influencing the formation, content, and nature of Small Mahhalahs’ Squares. These spaces had been social context of neighbors and manifestation place of their cultural and religious believes, and today stability of this role can be observed. The old part of Nayin consists of seven neighborhoods that each one has a local square. According to physical and documentary evidence, the city’s history dates back to the era of pre-Islam. The new growth of the city has attracted the population of the ancient regions and has been separated from the legacy of the ancient regions, so, new developments have failed to responsive some of the needs of residents and citizens turn to neighborhoods and historical context to meet these needs, in such a way that ritual ceremonies with special characteristics are quite commonplace by residents of the new ranges in ancient areas. This reflects the spirit of the space, which has created a special relationship between people, sustainable values and urban spaces. This rich and valuable field is a good platform for recognizing the principles of designing urban spaces in Iran. Research Method based on interpretive-historical research is content analysis and a kind of phenomenology of urban space. To achieve the objectives of research, first the effective factors and forces were determined as principal spatial component and then analyzed. The creativity of the research is hidden in the research method where the factors for analysis have been derived from the context of study. It means that there is no fixed framework for analysis of urban spaces content and we should find logical ways to produce a valid analytical framework. In other word, we should introduce different methodology in each context. The factors for analysis in the research have been identified through different methods:                                                                                                                 
- Deep observation during two years according to active present in the special period of religious ceremonies in the local square of Nayin old town                                                                                                                                           
-Content analysis of historical and contemporary documents about Nayin old town                                                       
- Discovering oral memory through interviews with old people who were over sixty years old to find hidden values of local squares in old town of Nayin Based on this methodological point of view the factors for analysis identified as historical-temporal dimensions, physical dimensions, social values, management dimensions, visual dimensions and activities. According to the special framework of study the results of the research demonstrate these findings: Following the changes of government religious idea in the Safavid period toward Shia faith new spatial needs for religious ceremonies like The Decade of Muharram, squares were built on the main roads of neighborhoods. These changes have led to introduce new religious spaces with the name of Husseiniyah which is the main space of squares. Each square has Husseiniyah and mosque but Husseiniyah is more important. That’s why square and Husseiniyah have the same name. Despite the organic form of the old town, squares are completely regular and geometric to create a contrast with the urban spaces around them. Quantitative analysis shows that the H/W enclosure ratio is varying from 1/2 to 1/4. The number of entrances is related to the area of the squares. The average distance of houses from the squares is 131 meters and the maximum is 229 meters. From management point view, people are participating in renovation of public buildings and infrastructures of squares. Also they are preparing all the supports for religious ceremonies in the squares. Visual Analysis in squares introduces special elements like water, Nakhl and dome, etc. as religious symbols of Shia. Analysis of activity in the squares presents the collective memory deriving from social and religious values. In spite of deteriorated areas in the old town, squares are alive because of such religious ceremonies. In a holistic view, social values and customs are key concepts affecting on different dimensions in the squares. In other word, social sustainability based on religious values and ceremonies have preserved the identity of squares in Nayin old town.


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