Kashan and its surrounds have been home to human settlements since at least the 4th millennium BC. However, much of what is known of Kashan’s history is interwoven with legend. What is certain is that Kashan was twice destroyed by invading armies. The city walls were rebuilt, and during the Seljuk period (AD 1051–1220) it became famous for its textiles, pottery and tiles.
Shah Abbas I was so enamoured with this delightful oasis city on the edge of the Dasht-e Kavir that he insisted on being buried here rather than in Esfahan. Much of Kashan was destroyed by an earthquake in 1779 but the subsequent Qajar period saw building on a lavish scale. The most notable survivors are the fine covered bazaar and several meticulously restored mansions that have become synonymous with the city. The bazaar is deceptively large and has an enchantingly lethargic atmosphere that serves as the perfect counterfoil to the frantic bustle of Tehran and the sightseeing intensity of Esfahan.