Cemetery as a Sociocultural Space in the Persian Cities


1 Graduate Student in Research Master's Urban Studies, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

2 M.A. in Urban Planning, Department of Art and Architecture, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

3 Associate Professor, Department of Art and Architecture, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.


Examining the planning of cemeteries in the urbanism system of Iran does not show a good
condition. In fact, cemeteries in the most Persian cities have become large-scale open spaces outside the city. This could
cause irreparable damage to the cities because of the partial and/or improper use of the capacity of urban lands. Along
with this, historical cemeteries within the cities have been abandoned. However, it seems that urban space with function
of the cemetery has a specific sociocultural potential. Cemeteries can be very effective elements in the symbolic network
of the city. As a result, it is also an essential element which must be associated with the structure and organisation of the
city and the neighbourhoods, not as a waste and marginal element. In addition, examining this symbolic space achieve
a symbolic dialogue which will result in exploring the beliefs, emotions, dreams, and imaginations of ancestors which
means these urban areas need a specific attention. This paper, by using descriptive-analytical research method, attempts
to explain sociocultural functions of cemeteries as an urban space, and to scrutinise its pathology through reviewing its
position in the urban plans in Iran. In the following, via an emphasis on the sociocultural role of the cemetery, a series
of strategies will be expressed for promoting its position within cities.


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