0749 GMT September 18, 2021
Tangestani Mansion is one of the most significant historical monuments in the southern Iranian province of Bushehr, said an official at the province’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization.
In an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, Soudabeh Ma’muri, who is in charge of registering the province’s historical properties, said the mansion, made of coral reef extracted from the Persian Gulf, is a beautiful example of traditional architecture of the port city of Bushehr, the capital of the province.
She said most of the old monuments of Bushehr are made of coral reef, pointing out that the use of available local construction materials, which are highly adapted to a hot and humid climate, was a cost-effective measure in the past.
“Coral reef is very resistant to moisture, and due to its porosity (having holes and cavities), the air passes through the walls of the buildings. This feature helped make a house warmer than the outside in the winter and cooler in the summer,” she said.
Referring to the use of sandalwood in the roofs of many old houses, including the Tangestani Mansion, she said that termite infestation has been the main problem of buildings constructed in Bushehr. However, sandalwood, from mangrove forests, makes the buildings very resistant to termites.
“Dating back to the Qajar Era, the Tangestani Mansion is located in the Bahmani neighborhood, which was used as a summer residence by traders and rich people of Bushehr,” she said.
The official noted that the mansion was registered on Iran’s National Heritage List, adding that it was donated by the merchant Malak al-Tojjar to Mohammad Baqer Khan Tangestani, who was a journalist in the Qajar Era.
Ma’muri said that, presently, half of this monument is owned by the Bushehr Province’s Cultural Heritage Organization, and the other half by the heirs of Tangestani.
She added that the province’s Cultural Heritage Organization is planning to restore the monument and probably use it as a museum in the future.
“The old buildings of Bushehr, including Tangestani Mansion, were built based on an ancient architectural style called bit-hilani (a kind of structure that has its origins in Anatolia and northern Syria).
“Such houses, which have a central courtyard, are built in two stories. The lower floor was usually used in the winter and the upper one in the summer,” she said.
Ma’muri observed that Tangestani Mansion has porches on four sides, which caused the air to circulate in the building. This natural ventilation system also helps reduce the heat of the rooms in the summer.
She said that the facade of such buildings usually did not have any special architectural decorations; only stained glasses were used on their windows.
“Refracting light, stained glass prevents the heat from entering a building. The color of the glass also repels insects,” she added.
The official concluded that in the old buildings of Bushehr, the height of ceilings was higher than usual in order to moderate the room temperature.
Located on the shores of the Persian Gulf, Bushehr Province is the 17th largest province of Iran.