Volume 1, Issue 10 (2-2017)                   JIAS 2017, 1(10): 73-100 | Back to browse issues page

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Abstract:   (927 Views)

There is an established idea in Iranian urban studies that puts the bazaar as the spine of the social and spatial structure of historical towns. This essentialist universal reading has eclipsed the diversity of Iranian bazaars across the country. This paper, however, aims at revealing the social and spatial diversity of bazaars in Iranian cities. This study employs the Space Syntax method for a topological analysis of the spatial configuration of Dezful and Shushtar. In addition, it investigates the socio-economic context of these cities. This study suggests that pre-modern Iranian cities were at least two types. First, there are those with a non-commercial urban economy, wherein the bazaar included a cluster of retail shops and did not encompass major socio-cultural public places. These solely retail bazaars were neither structurally the spine of the city, nor the heart of social life. Second, there are trading cities where the bazaar was not only the center of trade and the spine of spatial configuration but also the place of social interactions. This type of bazaars is referred to here as socio-commercial bazaars, or simply social bazaars. This type is what is widely considered as the stereotype Iranian bazaar. By highlighting the differences between the two types, this paper challenges the definition of ‘the’ Iranian bazaar and its stereotype. The ultimate aim of this paper, by no means, is to offer a typology of bazaars, but rather highlighting the diversity of Iranian cities that the essentialist modern reading has ignored.

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Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special