Zayandehrud and Its City: Reading the Riverine Landscapes of Seventeenth-Century Isfahan


Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellowships in the History of Art


History of Art and Architecture


This book project examines the Zayandehrud River’s pivotal place in the vibrant urban developments of Isfahan after its selection as the capital of the Safavid Persia in 1598. Transcending the longstanding intellectual divide between city and nature, it reveals the entanglement of the natural and the cultural in the seventeenth-century urban development of Isfahan. The book demonstrates how various projects undertaken during this period integrated the river into the economic, social, political, and religious life of the city—thereby transforming the Zayandehrud into an urban river and Isfahan into a riverine city. Weaved into the physical and experiential fabric of the city, Zayandehrud participated in this urban process as an economic engine, a porous border, and a critical player in shaping and hosting the growing theatricality of the state as well as the emergent culture of sociability that distinguished this chapter of Isfahan’s urbanity from earlier developments.