R .J Perry

Iranica, vol. 1, pp. 395 _ 397

panied Reza Shah on his state visit to Turkey in 1934. In 1936 he became the Inspector General of Cavalry and Armored Force, and in 1939 was promoted to brigadier general. In the post _ 1941 period, Arfa continued to assume various important military posts, gaining further promotion, and eventually becoming the chief of Staff in December 1944. According to his own account, pro _ British forces in the country had urged the replace ment of his predecessor General Razmara. (Arfa Under Five Shahs p. 330). He remained Chief of Staff untill February 1946 Two months later he was arrested on the orders of the Prime Minister Ahmad Qawam accused of having provided arms for the opponents of the Democrats of Azerbaijan. Although reeased in Novwmber. 1946 his military career had practically com to an end.

Arfas rivalry with Razmara constituted one of the main features of the politics of the army's command structure in the post _ 1941 period Arfa had a predilection for forming cliques and parties inside and outside the army: he was intensely anti _ leftist, enjoyed close relations with the British _ which he prudently tried to play down _ and was a keen royal nationalist. An assessment of him by the British Military Attache. Written on January 14 th 1945. (FO 371. Eastern, Persian 45446 recognizes his ardent nationalits sentiment and the fact that he was quick to see insults to Iran. Infringements of its independence. And interference by foreigners _ whether real or imagined while protraying him as a difficult man. Highly suspicious. And contempuous of some of his colleagues and superiors. Arfa initially appeared to have some sympathy for the Mosaddeq _ led National Front. Which was inter alia staunchly opposed to Razmara His inclusion as Minister of Roads and Communtcations in the short _ lived cabinet of Hosayn Ala (20 March 28 April 1950) was regarded as a non _ provocative move vis _ a _ vis the National front His attitude to Mosaddeqs government. However was never favorable and he actively sided with Zahedi in the coup of August, 1953 In 1958 he was appointed ambassador to Turky and in late 1961 to Pakistan. He returned to Iran in December. 1962 retiring to his long established dairy farm in Larak. A suburb of Tehran. He died in 1983 in Monte Cario.

Bibliography H. Arfa Under Five Shahs Lon don 1964 Report on Personalities in persian 1940 PRO: FO 371 Eastern persia 24582: FO 371 1945. Eastern Persia 45446.


ARG (or ARK), theinner fortress or citadel of walled city. The arg may also serve as the residence of a ruler and include other court and government offices. From Safavid through Qajar times, the arg of a provincial capital was generally the military headquaraters and administrative center of the city and its dependencies. Though an arg is sometimes referred to as a qala the generic term for fortress the term should more strictly designate an isolated fort or one sited at a Strategic point outside the town it defends. The arg always lay inside the city wall. Sometimes adjacent to it and functioning as part of the defenses;it is analogous to the Roman arx, from which the peisian word may have derined, as well as the Norman keep (donjon). Its etymologt is obscure: the term appears in Middle persian only in the compound argbed (q.v.) a military rank and, though evidently in use during the 3rd 9th century (see under Arge Zaranj beloe), does not occur frequently in New persian before the aerly 11 th 17 th century. It is used also by persian writers of Central Asia and northem India to designate the fortress of a city (e. g, Bukhara, Delhi). The principal Iranian towns that have been noted for their arg are bam. Kerman. Shiraz. Tabriz. Tehran. And Zaranj.

Bam. On the border between Kerman and sistan provinces, Bam probably had a fortress long before islamic times. In 206 873, during the Saffarid _ Taherid wars it was used as a prison (L. Lockhart, Bam EF I. P.1008). and is described by Ebn Hawqal and other travelers from the 4 th 10 th century on as a large fortress in the middle of the town. Containing one of the citys three mosques, and reputedly impregnable (Le Strange. Lands pp. 299. 312). Today the fortress is still an impressive ruin of baked brick. Rising in terraces at the northern end of the walled town: from the battlements of its forty _ foot _ high walls the plan of the fortress (entrance ramps. Living quarters. Stables. Guardrooms) is clearly visible. In 1209 1794 it was the Scene of Aga Mohammad khan Qajar capture of last Zand ruler. Lotf Ali Khan.

Kerman. The provinicial capital (variously known as Bardasir. Govasir. And kerman) has always been well fortifed. Writing in Buyid times, Moqaddast (Le Strange. Lands. Pp. 303 _ 04. 306) mentions a qala outside the walls a fortifted gatehouse (hesn). And another qala within the city, overlooking the house. This latter fortress. The medieval arg. Can no longer be identifted: the former two are probably to be seen in the ruins of the Qalaye Ardasir. On a hill southeast of the Present _ day city, and the smaller Qalaye Doktar. Between them lie the ruins of the old city. Which was destroyed by Aga mohammad Khan Qajar in 1209 1794. The 19 th _ century Qajar city. Rebuilt under Fath, Ali Shah. Had a new arg at the southwestern edge. It formed a slight salient with the wall (see P. Sykes. Ten Thousand. Mile in Persian. London. 1920, pp, 188. 198) and contained the barracks, arsenal, and teiegraph office. Although the governor continued to reside in the Qalaye Ardasir in to the pahlavi ear.

Shiraz. The arg built by theKarim Khan Zand who called himself by the title of Wakil (alraaya). That is, Deputy of the People, in about 1181 1767 _ 68 is the best preserved and the most typical of its age as a combination of fortress and luxury residence (see Arge Karim Khan and Plate VII).

Tabriz. This strategically important and much besieged city has had a citadel variously rebuilt and resited at least from early Safavid times. When the Ottoman Turks captured Tabriz in 993/1585 they built


Arge Karim Khan. Shiraz (Photo J. R. Perry)

An arg in thirty _ six days: when shah Abbas recaptured the city eighteen years later this fortress was destroyed by the citizen: in 1020 1611 they erected a new one on a different site in the Rabe Rasidi quarter (Eskandar Beg, pp. 681 _ 82 _ 826: V. Minorsky. Tabriz EI IV p. 583). In 1224/1809 the government Najar _ qoli Khan Donboli began. Or continued. The conversion of the mosque of Alisha (built by Oijaytus minister in the early 7 th 14 th cent). Into a new arg. Abbas Mirza surrounded this one whit defensive ditche in 1241 1825 _ 26. And although the other fortifications of Tabriz were demolished in the reign of Naser _ ai _ din Shah. The citadel remained (Minorsky Tabriz pp. 590. 593). It consist basically of a rectangular bastion some 120 feet high flanked by semicircular towers.

Tehran. Begun by Karim Khan Zand during his residence there in 1173 1760. The arg of Tehran probably stood on the site of a residential complex dating from Safavid times. According to chroniclers. The Wakil rebuilt the town wall and added a strong fortress whit towers and a moat. As well as a divan _ kana with a garden adjoining (Nami. Tarke guigosay ed S. Nafis. Tehran 1317 S. 1938. P. 96: Mirza Abu Hasan Gaffari. Golsane morad. British Library MS Or 3592, fols 65 _ 66; Y. Doka: Tarikcaye saktmanha _ ye arge saltanatie Tehran. Tehran. 1349 S./1970, pp. 8. 18,32). From 1200/1786 it was further expanded by Aga Mohammad Khan and Fath Ali Shah. And was described by a visitor in 1810 as the only building of any consequence in the capital (J. M. Kinneir A. Geographical Memori of the Persian Empire London. 1813, p. 118). During the nex fifty years this nucleus devel.

Oped into the Golestan palace precinct, which by 1842 took up roufghly one quarter of the area of the city, measuring some 600 yards east to west and 1200 yards north to south (Berezins report, cited by Minorsky, in EI IV,p. 718). At this time it abutted the northern face of the outer wall (just south of the Kiabane Sepah). In the 1870 s Tehrans outer fortifications were razed and the city was remodeled: by the 1890s the arg, while remaining as the palace and government administrative complex, was bisected by a new avenue and situated in the center of a city walled more for show than for defense.Its walls were finally demolished under Reza Shah (see E. Pakravan, Teehrande jadis. Geneva. 1971, especially city plans pp. 129, 132).

Zaranj. The ancient capital of Sistan had a fortress at least as early as the mid _ 1 st / 7 th century when it was taken by the Arab armies. Ebn Hawqal in the 4 th / 10 th century and several later writers record that the Saffarid Amrb Layt had strongly fortified the city and erected between its Karkuya (northern) and Nisak (eastern) gates a large building called the Ark, which he used as his treasury; this later became the seat of government and citadel (Le Strange Lands p. 335; Yaqut, s.v ark C. Huart. Zarandj EI IV. P. 1218) and it is probable that the name of this famous building became generalized as the designation for all such fortress head quarters. The city was destroyed by Timur in 785 1383. And was subsequently replaced as the provincial capital by nearby Zabol (called Nosratabad in Qajar times). Which until recently had a more modern arg at the northwest corner of the wall (Huart. Zarandj Sykes. Ten Thousands Mile. Pp. 375. 382 _ 83).

See also Arge Alisah Arge Karim Khan : and Arg bed.

Bibliography: Given in the text.


ARGE ALISAH. The remains of the Masjede Alisah a colossal mosque built in Tabriz at the behest of Tajaldin Alisah jilani. The vizier of the Mongol ll _ khans Oljattu Kodabanda and his son. Abu Said Bahador khan. Today it is the most prominent historical monument in the city. It was compieted before 722 1322 beside the gate of Oljaytu. Beyond the Narmian quarter. The man unit was oriented toward the qebla with either a single wide and wide and lofty ayvan or. More probably. Two ayvans one above the other. Framed by a minaret on either side. The construction material was entirely baked brick. Only the side and qebla walls have survived: the side walls average 26 m high and 10.4 m thick: on the evidence of the ruins the mehrab chamber must have been approximatelv 66 m high. While the vault spanned 30.15 m. exceeding the width of the largest medieval arches in Europe.

A contemporary account by Hamdallah Mostawfi (Nozhal al _ qolub ed M Dabirsiaqi. Tehran. 1336 S./1957. P.87) describes a large congregational mosque with a courtyard measuring 250 250 gas (1 gas = approx. l m) and a hall (soffa) larger than the Ayvane Kesra at Madaen. Much marble and many sorts of devices were used in it. But because of haste in its construction, it soon collapsed (i. e . soon after 727/1326 _ 27; the damage may also have been due to earthquake, water seepage, or shifting foundations).Some repairs must have been carried out in the nex few years, how ever, because the Golden Horde prince Jani Beg took part in a Friday prayer at this mosque after his invasion of Tabriz in 757/1356.

The earlist description of the Masjede Alishah written in 722/1322 by a young aide _ de _ camp in the Egyptian embassy to Abu Saids cour. Gives some idea of the mosques original splendor (Badr _ al _ din Mahmud Ayni. Eqd al _ joman fi ahl al _ aman IV unpublished manuscripts in diverse collections: V. Tiesenhausen. Brief Notes and Information on the Mosque of Alishah in Tabriz [in Russian]. Zapiski vostochnogo oldeleniya imperalorskogo arkheologiches kogo obshchesivoI. 1886.p. 116). There was an entrance courtyard measuring 250 200 dera (ca. 285 288 m) with a larg square pool in the center. The pool featured a central platform bearing an octagonal fountain flanked by stone lions with water pouring from their mouths. Inside the sanctuary ayvan (sabeatan). Two bronze pillars plated with silver and supported the pointed vault. And the area was illuminated with various lamps (probably of silver and enameled crystall) sus pended on gold _ and silver _ plated chains. Each of the latticed windows contained 200 round panes with ornamental gold and silver mountings (Survery of persian Art III. Pp. 1058 _ 59; A. Karang. Atare bastanie Adarbayian. Tehran. 1351. S. 1972. I. pp. 240 _ 61).

The Moroccan traveler Ebn Battuja. Who stopped at Tabriz in 727 1326 _ 27. Reported that the mosque was surrouded by bazaars and that its entrance lay in the bazzar of the ambeagris sellers. Its marble _ paved courtyard contained trees of several varities. Including vines and jamines. And was divided in to two parts by a canal (presumalby the pool). To the west of the sabestan was a madrasa and to the east. a zawla (hospice for darveshes). The surrounding walls were faced with qasani (i.e. kasi. Or glazed ). The people of Tabriz gathered in this mosque every day after the evening prayer for Koran recitation (Ebn Battuta [Paris]. II. pp. 129 _ 31). By the early 10 th 15 th century. The mosque was known as the emarat (palace) of Alisah. An Italian merchant staying in Azerbaijan at that time wrote that even though it was situated in the middle of the city. It could be seen from all the outskirts: the vault of the mehrab chamber was so high that an arrow shot from the floor would not reach it. His indication that the mehrab chamber was unfinished probably reflects its semiruined state at the time. He also describes a newly erected plat form in the middle of the mosque pool. Set on six carved pillars of pure marble. It was connected to the bank by a bridge: floating in the pool was beautiful boat which Shah Esmail some times boarded for recreation with four or five of his courtries (C. Grey. Ed. And tr. A Narrative of Italian Travels in Persia in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. London. 1873, pp. 167 _ 68).

By the late 11 th / 17 th century, the structure was largely in ruins. When Jean Chardin visited Tabriz in 1084/1673, only the area the mehrab and the sabestan. Facing the qebla, had been repaired. Chardin mentions a tall minaret which could be seen by travelers from Erevan to Tabriz long brfore they reached the city (Chardin. Voyages du Chevalier Chardin en Perse et autres lieux de lOrient, Amsterdam, 1735, I, p. 225). John Ogilby, a traveler contemporary with Chardin. Refers to the monument as the Friday Mosque which indicates that it was still used for worship (J. Ogilby. Asia the First Part. London. 1673. P. 21: Survey of Persian Art III. p. 1059).

By the time Jane Paule Rachel Dieulafoy visited this historic building in 1881. It had been transformed in to a barracks or citadel arg) for the Tabriz garrison. She describes it as a huge structure with lofty towers visible from far outside the city. Situated in the middle of a large. Open space. And together with an adjacent disued cannon foundry. Surrounded by a wide and deep, but partly filled in moat (La Pwrse la Chaldee. et la Susiame Paris 1887. P. 52).

This mosque was in fact one of the biggest buildings ever erected in Iran. And its combination of grandeur and artistic grace aroused the admiration of all who saw it. The minarets of the mosque of Qusun in Cairo. Whichwas completed in 730 1331. Only eight years after the Egyptan embasss visit to Tabriz. Were modeled on those of the Masjede Alishah. The italian merchant who visited Tabriz in the 10 th 15 th century wrote that the excellence of its construction was beyond his powers of description. The 11 th 17 th century Turkish traveler Evliya Celebi remaeks in his Siahat nama that the distance from the mehrab to the door of the mosque was so great that human vision could scarcely take it in (Evliya Efendi. Narralive of Travels in Europe. Asia and Africa in the Seventeenth Century. J. F. von Hammer _ Purgstall. London. 1850. II. P. 135). James Morier (J. Morier A Second Journey through Persia. Armenia. And Asia Minor to Constantinople. 1810 _ 16. London. 1818. P. 226) found its brick work as fine perhaps as any in the world. While Robert Ker Porter who was in Iran in 1233 _ 35 1818 _ 20. Considered the tile work. With its turquoise aquamarine. And dark blue coloring and interlaced Arabic inscriptions. Equal to the works of the most accomplished artists of any age (R. Ker Porter. Travels in Georgia. Persia Armema Ancient Babylonia London. 1812 _ 22. p. 222).

Although the use of this mosque as a barracks in the last century greatly accelerated its deterioration. It was registered as a national monument in the 1970s. and after preliminary studies. Repair work was begun . See also Alishah. Taj _ al _ din.

Bibliography: See also Survey of Persian Art. Pls. 377 _ 79. D. N. Wilber. The Architecture of Islamic Iran: The II Khanid Period. Princeton. N. J. 1955, pp. 146 _ 49.


ARGE KARIM KHAN, the citadel built