Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘workshop (ketab khaneh)

Persia’s Safavide Empire (1501-1750 AC) . (Part 5, March 2, 2009)

The Safavid Dynasty claims Safi-al Din (1252-1334) as its ancestor. Safi-al Din was a sheikh or Moslem Sunni cleric in Ardabil of current Azerbaijan and followed a Sufi (mystic) Sunni movement called “Al Tariqa Safavid” or the way for a clear life style. The Safavid dynasty is Turkish by origin.

Shah Ismail (1501-1524), a warrior, musician, and poet, founded this dynasty after an agitated reign. He imposed the Shiaa Moslem sect as the religion of the dynasty. This conversion from Sunni to Shiaa was to challenge the powerful neighboring Sunni dynasties such as the Ottoman Empire in the west, the Uzbek in the North and the Mogul in the east.  Shah Ismail extended his territory by conquering Uzbekistan and opted for Tabriz as Capital. Then he captured the city of Herat in current Afghanistan. In 1514, the Ottoman Sultan Selim I defeats Shah Ismail in 1514 at Chaldiran. This military defeat ended temporary any further expansion westward.

Shah Tahmasp I (1524-1576) brought in a long period of prosperity. The Safavid dynasty had to wait for Shah Abbas I (158-1629) to expand its territory and launch economic development. Shah Abas re-organized the army, transferred the Capital to Ispahan (Asfahan) in 1598 and contacted European monarchs such as Austria and Spain.  Shah Abbas concluded peace treaties with his neighboring powers and extended his supremacy to the Arab/Persia Golf.

The Safavid dynasty designed wonderful gardens (pairidaeza), sort of oasis for music, fruit trees, running water, and café shops. Ispahan received the best opulence in architecture and lavish monuments. Europe got hooked to Persia carpet.  The Royal Palace is the center for exquisite workshop (ketab khaneh) of luxury book binding and items of highly skilled labor that are exported overseas. Coffee and tobacco become the rage in Persia.

The Safavid Empire extended from Iraq to Afghanistan. 

In 1722, the Afghans occupied Ispahan and destroyed part of it; thus ending this period of prosperity and any further territorial expansion. 

During the reign of Naser al Din (1848-1896), the vizier Amir Kabir crushed a new sect the Bahai and the European colonialists infiltrated Persia big time through exploitation of mineral concessions.

After Naser al Din was assassinated, Mozafar al Din conceded a parliamentary constitution in 1906.




June 2023

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