The Kashan historical market is a precious and diverse collection of traditional and ancient architecture of Iran which presents a lot of architectural practices and techniques from the beginning until the Qajar era. Located in the heart of Kashan, this 3-kilometer long market is considered to be the main commercial and economic center of the city, as well as the main road of communications and services of the city, along with its social, economic and political significance.
The historical background of the first Kashan market is not well known, but considering the existence of workshops and handicrafts (such as coppersmith and etching), especially from the 10th century A.D. in Kashan, the appearance of the market can be considered at least since then. The Bazar developed and flourished during the Safavid era and as the first center for royal celebrations and entertainment new markets called Qaysariya, were built with beautiful architecture in the middle of it. Unfortunately, it was ruined by an earthquake in 1778. Prosperity and development returned to Kashan historical Bazar during Zandieh era and continued in the Qajar era. There are astounding mementos of the artistic architecture of those eras in the Bazar. Constructions such as Timcheh-e Amin al-Dawlah, Soltani great school, and various caravansaries are architectural memorials of the Qajar era.
The traditional market of Kashan was also at the peak during the Safavid era especially in the reign of Shah Abbas I, when many tourists visited the market over the years. Gradually the importance of the market diminished. The present market of Kashan was built on the remnants of the old market which is in fact the artistic work of architects in the Qajar era.
The main materials used in constructing the market are adobe, brick, and mud. Thatch and gypsum have been used as a coating, in addition, wood has been used in the walls, latches, arches, and doors.
As a national treasure of Iran, the traditional market of Kashan is one of the most valuable buildings in Kashan. This historic bazaar which houses numerous monuments begins from the middle of Baba Afzal Street and extends till Darvazeh Dolat. These monuments include caravansaries (Mir Panj, Zoghaliha, Ghafarpour, Robat, Boroujediha, Narraqiha), shopping centers (Timcheh Sabbagh, Timcheh Syed Agha, Timcheh Bakhsi, Timcheh Sabbagh, the famous Timecheh Amin Al-Doleh in Mianchal bazar), water pools (Abanbar-e Bala Bazar, Abanbar-e darb Zanjir), and mosques (Masjed-e Meidan Mir Emad, Hosseinyh-e Sorakh-e Soleiman, Masjed-e Kafsh Duzha, Majed-e Bala Bazar, Majed-e Tomaqachiha).
There are many business activities in every part of the traditional Kashan market, for example, coppersmith, dyeing, shoemaking, selling fabrics, and dressmaking. In addition souvenirs of Kashan such as sweets and distillates like the famous Kashan rose water are presented in the Bazar.
Covered passageways with different lengths, which, in addition to hundreds of shops, include spaces such as Chahar Soqh (Bazar intersection), caravansaries, and squares are what constitutes the basis of architecture in Kashan’s bazaar.
One of the constituent spaces of the Kashan market is the Char Souq (intersection). Char Souq is the junction of two passageways of Bazar with high magnificently decorated roofs. Char Souq-e Amin and Char Souq-e Mianchal are two examples of such junctions.