Manzil-i Sartip Sidihi
Isfahan, Iran
Manzil-i Sartip Sidihi is a residence of palatial proportions built during the Qajar dynasty. It is located approximately eighteen kilometers northwest of Isfahan in the neighborhood of Adiryan, a part of Isfahan's satellite town of Humayunshahr that was formerly known as Sidihi. It was built as early as 1820 by Sayf Allah Khan, the commanding officer of Sidihi. The men's section was largely rebuilt in 1870.

The residence is composed of two separate, rectangular structures housing the biruni (lit. outer part or men's quarters) and the andarun (lit. inner part, or private quarters). Both buildings are oriented north-south and are centered on courtyards. The biruni stands immediately south of the street wall while the smaller andarun is located further in site, beyond the southwest corner of the biruni. The two buildings are linked through a vaulted corridor, which leads in from the street portal; it continues along the eastern wall of the biruni, making a right turn into the andarun. The corridor passes through an octagonal vestibule (hashti), which provides a cool meeting space for the summer months and contains the stairs leading up to the roof terrace.

Biruni, or Men's Quarters

The biruni is entered from two doorways along the main access corridor. Its numerous halls envelop an open courtyard of twenty-two by sixteen meters that faces a walled garden to its south. The sunken courtyard, which is lavishly adorned in eclectic neo-baroque and empire styles, is based on the Persian four-iwan typology with a recession located at the center of each side. Its facades are composed of arcades with round arches -- two stories on the north and a single story on the east and west sides -- which are shaded by colonnaded porticoes. A round pediment crowns the taller "iwan" of the northern wing. There is a large octagonal pool at center, surrounded by flower beds and fruit trees. The courtyard is bound on the south side with an open colonnade of four tall columns that mediate the views into the walled garden.

The main audience hall, or shah nishin of the biruni is located behind the northern iwan. Separated from its antechamber with a pair of columns, the shah nishin is richly decorated with floral frescoes and contains a fireplace made of glass mosaic. It is flanked by two smaller halls; the lofty hall to the west contains a water basin and wind tower (badghir) and is known as the Fountain Room, or hawzkhana. Service rooms for the shah nishin, hawzkhana and the courtyard are located along the eastern wing, near the access corridor.

The biruni was rebuilt in 1870 in preparation for a visit by Zill al-Sultan, Qajar governor of southern Iran based in Isfahan. Mud-bricks made on site were used instead of baked bricks to shorten the construction time and stone was brought from the nearby mountain of Atashgah. The roofs were made of poplar rafters covered with layers of straw and clay. The interiors were plastered and painted with floral frescoes and carved wooden panels were used to cover exposed rafters in some rooms.

Andarun, or Private Quarters

The halls of the andarun envelop the north, south and west sides of an open courtyard that is bound by a wall and portico on the east side. Like at the biruni, the reception hall is centered in the northern wing; it is preceded by a portico and flanked by two smaller living rooms. The western wing here contains two large bedrooms on either side of a cruciform hall, while the southern wing has two small bedrooms and storage rooms entered from a central iwan.

The subsidiary structures of the complex -- servants' quarters and stables to the south of the biruni, the kitchen court adjoining the eastern wall of the andarun and the bathhouse to the north of the andarun -- have not survived.


Bakhtiar, A. A. and R. Hillenbrand. "Domestic Architecture in Nineteenth-century Iran: the Manzil-i Sartip Sidihi near Isfahan." In Qajar Iran: Political, Social, and Cultural Change, 1800-1925, edited by Edmund Bosworth and Carole Hillenbrand. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1983. 383-401.
Adiryan in the Sidih ('three villages') settlement (now Humayunshahr), Isfahan, Iran
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Associated Names
1820/1235-36 AH; rebuilt 1870/1286-87 AH
Style Periods
Variant Names
Sartip Sidihi House
Khanah-i Sartip Sidihi
Building Usages