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An Overview

Oudlajan is one of the oldest districts of Tehran, with a history going back to the time of Safavids. The word Oudlajan has Tati roots and probably means "place of water distribution". In the boundaries of Safavid Tehran, which had not been extended for centuries before urban developments of Naser al-Din Shah's time, Oudlajan was situated on the highest part, thus the water of Kariz channels first appeared on the ground around northern side of the districtss and then flowed to other parts of city (Shirazi, 1980). In the early years of the 19th century the neighborhood embraced the growing class of Qajar courtiers and nobles, and gradually turned into the wealthiest quarter of Tehran.

In the past, the half northern part of the district was covered with gardens and the inhabited zone was mainly situated in the southern parts. Many of the gardens were endowments of several holy shrines scattered throughout the area (Balaghi, 2007). The shrines are still remained but, gardens were gradually divided and changed into residential buildings. The last period of changes took place in mid 19th century when the new neighbourhood of "Sarcheshmeh" was constructed on the last remains of the gardens. These changes could be recognized by comparing the maps by Berezin (1848) and Kraziz (1858). In the new developments, form of streets and alleys seems to follow the form of existing watering channels of the gardens. In Pahlavi era, by building Siroos and Pamenr avenues, the whole district was divided into three separate segments, yet the neighbourhoods retained their original names and were recognized by their previous boundaries (Shirazi, 1980).

Figur 1: Berezin Map (1848)

During the time of Qajars, by patronage of the elites living in Oudlajan, a new architectural style emerged that was a unique representative of absorbing the European styles and making it appropriate with traditional Persian architecture and life-style. From 1950s onward, gradualy and along with changes in social context, many of these buildings were abandoned to destruction or defaced severely. 



1. Shirazi, Baqer. "Tarh Ehya-e Ouldjana" (Revitilzation Plan for Oudlajan). Asar: 1980.
2. Balaghi. "Tarikh-e Tehran" (History of Tehran), Moeen: 2007.
3. Reza'i, Neemeh. "Oudlajan, Mirs-e Shahri Dar Taghabol-Bein Sonnat Va Moderniteh" (Oudlajan, Urban Heritage in Comtrast Between Tradition and Modernity) Motale-at Memari Iran: 2015