عنوان مقاله [English]
Ghaznavid period is one of the most brilliant era of Iranian architecture because of building ceremonial monuments. Before the late centuries of Islamic epoch, Ghaznavid period is the only time that architectural monuments of this type have been left remarkably. One of this monument which is excavated and appearedis “the palace of Masoud III” in the north eastern Rabad of Ghazni. In spite of noteworthy studies about this monument, no comprehensive acknowledgments achieved from architectural details and spatial elements. This weakness is more manifest in studying the origin pattern of constructingspatial elements. By proposing the mentioned problem, this study attempts to search the body structure of the palace according to documentary studies which theirs information interpreted and analyzed by “historical approach”. The results show that the palace presented aninnovative structure in the way connecting chambers by an ante-chamber with courtyard inceremonial architecture type. The structure of the palace is more trended to Iranian architectural tradition than other Ghaznavid palaces. Except fortified pattern which resemble it to Umayyad and Abbasid models in levant and Mesopotamia and also the four alcoves(4soffe) plan of central courtyard that despite widespread usage in Iranian architecture, it was traced back to the late 4 millenium B.C. in Mesopotamian architecture, Iranian tendency can be seen clearly in constructing other spatial elements; Multi entrance vestibule, nine bay (Nuh Gunbad) hall for guardians, composition of ceremonial alcove and throne hall, cultural-social construction of two units “Andarūni” and “Bīrūnī”, inscription in Dari Persian and heroic concept of the marble frieze of the central courtyard prove this tendency.
Early Hijri century’s monuments have a very important role in the history of Iranian architecture. This importance is due to the few number of monuments that have been left in cultural geography of Iran. A significant part of these monuments are related to defensive and religious architecture. Although historical sources have mentioned the ceremonial architecture, there is not so much traces of them. In the period of Ghaznavids besides the construction of schools, mosques and castels, many palaces were built which, unlike previous periods, a large number of them has left. From this point of view, perhaps it is better to say the Islamic ceremonial architecture has started comprehensively in this period. Most of these buildings are located in the outer areas (rabaz) of the historic city of Bost which is now called Lashkargah or Lashkaribazar. Ghazni as the capital of this empire, turned to the center of attention since Mahmoud bin Stubketin (421-388 AH) until Bahramshah (522-511 AH), the late ruler of Ghaznavid. In this period, each ruler had built his own Dar-ul-amara (palace of governors). Bayhaqi, the historian and author, has recorded the name and position of many of them. One of these sultans, Massoud III (507-492 AH), built a palace on the hillside in a location between the so-called Rawda and the city of Ghazni, which was revealed by the archeological excavations of the Italian group. Despite of the importance of this monuments in the history of Iranian architecture, studies which have conducted on this palace have not reached to any significant result; its design, structure, and spatial components have not been compared to identical examples; hence, there is no precise knowledge of its origin.
2-Research method and research questions
The present research by making a comprehensive study on the structure of the Massoud III palace, aims to, in particular, represent its image based on the historical sources and architectural findings and in broad-spectrum depict the ceremonial architecture of Iran and its spatial structure in the fifth century AH. In this regard there are two main questions: First, what is the origin of the construction pattern and the special elements of the mansion? And second, how was the Iranian rulers’ mansions in the early centuries of the Islamic era or generally how these buildings were constructed and designed?
The city of Ghazni, the center of Ghazni Province, is located in the eastern part of Afghanistan. Also, it is located in the route which is connecting the two major cities of Kandahar and Kabul. Because of such vital situation, some historical geographers consider it as one of the Khorasan docklands or Indus river deposits. This city and district were among the foundations of the ancient settlements’s formation. Ghazni is the "Zabolestan" of the most famous literary and narrative texts that many Iranian heroes have emerged from. Due to its location on the hill side of the Hindu Kush Mountain (2300 meters above sea level), it has a moderate climate and has been used continuously throughout the pre-Islamic period until the middle Ages of the Islamic era as a summer residence. After being destroyed by Ya'qūb-i Layth-i Saffārī in the second half of the third century (256 AH), The city was rebuilt by Amr Lith. Its zenith was during the Islamic era when The Ghaznavid rulers chose it as the center of their government. Its position alongside the commercial highways led to call it as the "great Indian market". However by the attack of the ruler of the mountainous land of Ghor in 546 AH and burning the center of the Ghaznavids' rule, the situation of the city had weakened. The Mughal invasion in 618 AH was the final blow to the city and its architectural monument. Since then, although the Ilkhans and Timurid have been trying to rebuild the city, it had never reached to its magnificence situation of the Ghaznavid era.
The Masud III palace is located on the north-east of Ghazni. As some scholars have said, it is located in a district of the Ghazni area which other Ghaznavid rulers had built their palaces too. In the neighborhood of this location, the historical sites of "Shabhar" and "Afghanshal" are located.
Some special elements were identified in this palace which seems to have been their first appearance in a ceremonial design; the new experience is how cluster access around the middle class into this space is through a prehistoric one. This way of communicating, which later became typical of the spaces surrounding the Safavid period schools and caravansaries, had previously been seen only in the inn of Sangi in Natanz which is belonging to the early Islamic era. But it seems to be an innovation in the architecture of ceremonial buildings. The palace court by marble arrays arranged in its outer walls is one of the most valuable memorials of Iranian architectural history. These marble blocks carry an inscription in the Persian Dari language in commemoration of Sultan Massoud III and his family.
The significance of these arrays is that an architectural monument for the first time experiences a long, epic non-Arabic scripts. This issue can be undoubtedly attributed to the movement that had come about with the advent of Ferdowsi and the creation of his gracious work of Shahnameh.
The overall findings of the research show that, despite the researchers' emphasis on the effect of the Umayyad palaces specially the palace of Mashatte in the design and pattern of the Masud III palace, the palace's body has more than any other known examples of the Ghaznavid era benefited from the Iranian architecture pattern.
Aside from the castle structure of the palace which like Lashkar Gah, can be compare with the Umayyad and Abbasid palaces, many special elements of the palace have Persian origin and can be traced back to the pre-Islamic era in Iran. If we refer to the four-dimensional plan of the intermediate land to Mesopotamian origin, other special elements of the mansion such as the nine-hall pattern of the Chamber of Guardians and House Guardians, the multiple entrance vestibules, the spatial structure of the bar and the flat room and its inscription with the epic theme, express the Persian origin of the palace.
The palace's socio-cultural structure is also more Iranian than most other examples. Two common parts in the Iranian architectural culture, namely, interior and exterior, clearly can be identified in the palace. The small and independent architectural unit of the southwest corner is Indoor and a large spatial elements and the related elements to it was the official reception of the court.
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