Wikipedia: "Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse (Persian: حمام سلطان امیر احمد , Hammam-e Sultan Amir Ahmad), also known as the Qasemi Bathhouse, is a traditional Iranian public bathhouse in Kashan, Iran. It was constructed in the 16th century, during the Safavid era; however, the bathhouse was damaged in 1778 as a result of an earthquake and was renovated during the Qajar era. The bathhouse is named after Imamzadeh Sultan Amir Ahmad, whose mausoleum is nearby.Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse, with an area of around 1000 square meters, consists of two main parts, Sarbineh (the dressing hall) and Garmkhaneh (the hot bathing hall). Sarbineh is a large octagonal hall, which has an octagonal pool in the middle separated by 8 pillars from the outer section. There are four pillars in Garmkhaneh, which make smaller bathing rooms all around as well as the entrance section to Khazineh (final bathing room) in the middle. The interior of the bathhouse is decorated with turquoise and gold tilework, plasterwork, brickwork as well as artistic paintings. The roof of the bathhouse is made of multiple domes that contain convex glasses to provide sufficient lighting to the bathhouse while concealing it from the outside."
The Islamic Republic of Iran has been occupied since 4000BCE, making Iran home to the world's oldest continuous civilization.It is located in central Eurasia on two ancient trade routes. One runs North-South and connects the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf, the other one goes East-West between China, India, Europe and Africa.There's a city called Isfahan at the intersection of these two routes, which at one time was the wealthiest city in the world. Isfahan was twice the capital of the Persian Empire, during the Median and then Safavid Dynasties.Interesting artifacts from pre-Islamic Persia include the cylinder of Cyrus the Great, which is the world's first written declaration of human rights. The hanging gardens of Babylon (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world) and the Code of Hammurabi (a set of rules which outlast the King) are also on the list.The Persian Empire was so magnificent that returning Crusaders carried tales of its splendor and helped spark the Renaissance in Europe! Influence of the Zoroastrian teachings of equality also inspired Greek philosophers such as Aristotle and Socrates.The Persian Empire was conquered by Muslim Arabs around 650CE during the Sassanid Dynasty. Initially the Zoroastrian, Christian and Jewish faiths were tolerated but by 1000CE most Persians had accepted Islam.In the sixteenth century Shi'a Islam was declared in Isfahan to be the national religion of Persia and the second golden age began. From 1500 to 1720 the Safavid Dynasty built the greatest Iranian empire since before the Islamic conquest of Persia.Because of its strategic location and oil resources, World War I found Persia in the middle of conflicts between the Ottoman Empire, Russia and the British Empire-via-India. Persia became Iran as of 1935 and was ruled by the Shah, a Persian term for "monarch."In the Islamic Revolution of 1979 Iran re-established a theocratic government under the Ayatollah Khomeini.Today the capital of Iran is the city of Tehran, and Iran is known as the world's center of Shi'a Islam.Text by Steve Smith.