year 4, Issue 1 (Spring & Summer 2018)                   CIAUJ 2018, 4(1): 1-14 | Back to browse issues page

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Pirbabaei M T, Nejad Ebrahimi A. Representing the Meaning of Urban Spaces in Ardabil in the Safavid Era Through Hall’s Cultural Approach*. CIAUJ. 2018; 4 (1) :1-14
1- Tabriz Islamic Art University ,
2- Tabriz Islamic Art University
Abstract:   (152 Views)
The culture of a city is the pattern that at once repre­sents the city as a whole and the semantic atmos­phere or context in which it develops and evolves. In this respect, a city’s culture is nothing other than its system of meanings – of meaningful symbols or sym­bolic meanings – and their formal/physical patterns. An essential strategy to identify an urban culture is to take account of the various types or forms of urban spaces as well as their meanings and concepts. Therefore, it seems necessary to gain a comprehen­sive understanding of the stages of develop­ment/evolution of urban spaces as well as the relation between representations of meaning and culture in a given period. With a cultural approach to the research subject and an exploration of the city from a cultural point of view, we aim to categorize the effects of cul­ture on the formation of urban structures and forms. By analyzing the meanings and concepts of structural urban elements, we intend to present a reading of the formal/physical concepts and meanings of the case, i.e., the city of Ardabil. Urban spaces are thought of as influential cultural environments that may be effec­tive in shaping community infrastructure. Throughout history, there have been many cities across the world that used to be important for short or long periods due to political, social or cultural reasons, thus, rank­ing high among cities. One of them is Ardabil, which used to be of special importance for its political and cultural status and reached its culmination in the Sa­favid era. Ardabil was deemed a sacred place by the Safavid Dynasty.  Because of Sheikh Safi al-Din’s Shrine, the religious status of the city was multiplied. It should be noted that Ardabil acquired a new and quite unprecedented significance in the Safavid era. The present research addresses the conceptual posi­tion of the city of Ardabil during the Safavid era, which is considered by many Iranians as the era of the resurgence of Shiite Islam. The main question is: How did culture manifest itself in the formation and devel­opment of the city of Ardabil in the Safavid era? To answer this question, we represent the meanings of culture in three major urban spaces of Ardabil, in­cluding Sheikh Safi al-Din’s Shrine, the Bazaar and Jom’e (Jame’) Mosque. The main purpose of this study is to analyze the meanings of prominent spaces in Ardabil city from a cultural perspective, in particu­lar, through representing the meanings and concepts of the city’s culture in the Safavid era. The study uses an exploratory method and literature review proce­dures to present an analysis based on Stuart Hall’s “Circuit of Culture” for representations of meanings. The findings indicate that the holy concept of Sheikh Safial-Din’s shrine as Safavid governance origin; ba­zaar as a main part of urban life and city magnificent; and Jom'e mosque as a religious center conceptually consolidating urban spaces represent the meaning of urban spaces. Representation of spatial meanings in the Safavid-era Ardabil was closely linked to power relations and, thus, the city’s culture reflected the re­ligious system, which was based on the legitimacy of the Shiite Safavid rule.
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