Ravar: A City on the Desert’s Edge
.راوارى، ماشاء الله كاربخش. راور، شهرى در حاشيه كوير. كرمان: مركز كرمان شناسى، ١٣۷۵، ٣٨۲ص

Ravari, Mashaʼ Allah Karbakhsh. Ravar, Shahri dar Hashiyah-yi Kavir. Kirman: Markaz-i Kirmanʹshinasi, 1997, 382pp.


Ravar: A City on the Desert’s Edge

راور، شهرى در حاشيه كوير

The goal of this book is to introduce a city located on the edge of the Loot Desert which has until now rarely been examined. Even a famous scholar of Kirman such as Bastani Parizi, who wrote the preface, has not personally seen the city of Ravar. In the course of the book, the reader becomes aware of this city’s importance, which throughout history had primarily a military function. In addition to providing a thorough description of the geography, forts, dams, castles and ammunition towers of Ravar and its surrounding areas, the book also familiarises the reader with the irrigation practices, life, and culture of the people living on the edge of the desert. 

The first half of the book has a flowing and sweet prose wherein the writer describes buildings and locations alongside people’s beliefs and stories. However, in the second half of the book, and the closer the accounts get to the contemporary period, the writing style seems to suffer a transformation. The text’s mildness in relation to the beliefs of Zoroastrians gives way to an intense hostility against the Bahais. In addition, the book brings examples from the documents of SAVAK repeatedly in order to prove that the people of Ravar had a role in the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

All of the book’s references and sources are in Persian. Even quotes from foreign military men and tourists have been taken from Persian texts. This book has attempted to put images of buildings next to the related texts, which is helpful. However, the collections of documents included in the appendix are not necessarily important or directly relevant to the text. 

The book contains interesting information about Ravar’s buildings and crafts, especially the art of carpet weaving. The fact that much of this material was obtained via oral testimonies adds to the value of the book as a primary and ethnographic source. In addition, the book covers instances of belief in pseudo-sciences. For example, one notable story about black magic pertains to the case of a victim who dies as a result of hitting the murderer. 

The writer’s accounts of buildings do not employ an architectural language and as such the book’s main audience consists of anthropologists, historians, and the people of Ravar. 

Iradj Esmailpour Ghouchani
Translated by Niki Akhavan
Esmailpour Ghouchani, Iradj. “English abstract of 'Ravar: A City on the Desert’s Edge'". Translated by Niki Akhavan. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi, 111. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Muslim Civilisations Abstracts - The Aga Khan University
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