CULTURE OF ICCN MEMBERS
Neyshabur: A waving from the old Silk Road
The flexible frontier between Anatolia and the Mediterranean with Central Asia
There was the time when merchants traveled with Camels on the Silk Road from Europe to Asia via Iranian plateau. During the time, merchants were the key player of not only trading spices, silk and other expensive goods also exchanging technology and culture between continents. Here is the town one of the places where those historical exchanges happened, Neyshabour, Nishapur or Neyshabur. Neyshabur is a city in northeastern Iran, in the razavi Khorasan province, near of Mashhad and approximately 900km from Tehran. This town, which occupied an important position astride the old Silk Road, named after its founder, the Sassanian king Shapur I. Since Neyshabur established in the 3rd century, it became one of the 10 largest cities in the world.
Nearby are the turquoise mines that have been used for more than 2000 years and became a fabulous Neyshabur souvenir.
Neyshabur became a capital city of the Tahirid dynasty which is considered to be the first independent dynasty when the glazed ceramics of Neyshabur formed an important item of trade to the west.
The golden age of Neyshabur was the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries. During this time, Neyshabur rivaled Baghdad and Cairo as the biggest and the most flourished city in Islamic empire. As time goes by, although all the glorious past has been gone, you are still able to feel its atmosphere and its spirits when you get Neyshabur!
Home to many cultural Celebrities of Persian Art
The Iranian culture is home to one of the richest art heritages in world history and encompasses many disciplines including architecture, painting, weaving, pottery, calligraphy, metalworking and stone masonry. Oriental historian Basil Gray believes "Iran has offered a particularly unique art to the world which is excellent in its kind." Neyshabur has been the hometown of many famous cultural figures of Persian Art as followed and many others!
Omar Khayyam, a native of Neyshabur, the poet and mathematician in the 11th century lie in outside the town, near the Imamzadeh Mahroq Mosque. He is internationally known for his insightful rubaiyyat (quatrains) which the influential British poet Edward FitzGerald translated from Persian into English 150 years ago. The following century Farid al-Din Attar, poet and mystic, also was born and buried in Neyshabur. Besides of natives, the Iran’s greatest contemporary painter, Kamal-ol-Molk, also lie in this town. He adapted the style of some European artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael. Further more, he devoted a major part of his life to promoting art and culture.
"The Mirror Hall” This is the first painting bearing the signature "Kamal-ol-Molk". "The Mirror Hall" was in fact more of a turning-point in Iran's art than a mere painting; a window to a new world rather than paint on canvas.
Activities of Neyshabur Municipality for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage:
The following provides a list of the activities of Neyshabur Municipality for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage within the past year:
- Organising a national seminar on "Neyshabur: Sustainable Iranian City" in cooperation with the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO with the aim of revitalizing and developing cultural, historical and ancient values of Neyshabur. This seminar was attended by national and international experts and authorities;
- Organising a handicrafts exhibition, displaying ancient and historical objects, in cooperation with the Cultural Heritage Organisation, at Simorgh Cultural Complex of Neyshabur Municipality;
- Co-organising events celebrating the National Day of Khayyam Neyshaburi with the participation of HE the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance and renowned cultural and scientific personalities;
- Co-organising the National Day of Attar Neyshaburi, to raise awareness about Attar, a renowned figure in Mystics and Literature;
- Organising 2 consecutive poetry sessions (shab-e she'r) in commemoration of Attar and Khayyam for Iranian poets and intellectuals;
- Producing the biggest inlaid pen in the country by artists in Neyshabur with an expense of over 400 million Persian Rials; this pen was ordered by the Municipality of Neyshabur;
- Organising six traditional and local Music concerts, with the presence of over 4000 citizens of Neyshabur; these events were largely welcomed by the public;
- Co-organisng the international congress on the "Recognition of the Personality and Contributions of Sheik Farid-addin Attar Neyshaburi", at Simorgh Cultural Complex in Neyshabur, hosting national and international guests (participants from Turkey);
- Supporting craftsmen and artists in Neyshabur and contributing to the production of a number of statues and arts elements of a historical concept, with special emphasis on personalitites of historical importance, and erecting these constructions in different areas of the City of Neyshabur;
- Contributing to and supporting the preparation, printing and distribution among various organisations, of a title on "An Introduction to the History and Culture of Neyshabur";
- Cooperating with the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO for the printing of the title, "An Introduction to the History and Culture of Neyshabur", in a number of languages and sending the Book to 60 countries via their embassies to Tehran;
- Cooperating for and investing in the restoration of the historical quarter of Neyshabur, with special emphasis on areas under the supervision of the Cultural Heritage Organisation, where there was a greater need for the restoration and building of the infrastructure;
- Producing documentaries on Neyshabur's history and culture for distribution at the national level, to introduce the City's historical attractions, tourism potentials and intangible heritage;
- Printing a tourist guide/map, depicting historical and cultural locations of the city and distributing it among national and international tourists; and
- Preparation and installation of an inlaid symbol of Imam Ali (PBUH) from wood with a dimension of 3m×2m, in cooperation with artists from Neyshabur and other cities in Iran.