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There is no doubt that one of the most impressive historical sites of Shiraz is Khan Theological School which dates back to 17th century and has been built Allah Verdi Khan who was the rule of Shiraz, in order to provide a place where MollaSadra teaches different sciences to his students such as Philosophy, Wisdom, Literature, Astronomy, Mathematics, Geology, Botanical study as well as chemistry.
In 17th century when the whole country was governed by Safavid rulers, Shiraz was ruled by Allah Verdi Khan as an independent province due to having several political and religious issues with Mullahs of Esfahan and Qom. They condemned Allah Verdi khan for his actions and didn’t allow him to come back to Esfahan nor Qom. It was considered a he was exiled to Shiraz for the rest of his life. Hence Allah Verdi Khan decided to build the theological school by his own budget, in order to have a stronger place where he could compete with the rest of country.
Before finishing the whole construction, he noticed it might take longer than what he was aiming. This was his reason to complete the school in 2 fases and as soon as he finished the necessary parts, he invited MollaSadra to return to Shiraz. It is well noted that in most of schools in Esfahan and Qom, entry condition for students was, not to learn wisdom science but Allah Verdi khan made learning Wisdom Science mandatory for those who were willing study in his school as his promotional tact for studying in his school. He also mentioned in his endowment that MollaSadra was permitted to choose any kind of courses or science to teach to his students.
In this period MollaSadra was able to provide several compilations, however, people are of the opinion that the most important result of his works is founding Hekmat Al Mote’aaliyeh. This was the reason that Allah Verdi Khan who was originally a Christian Georgian, converted to Shiite.
The unique construction of this school made it very fascinating by being surrounded with 4 gardens and having almost 100 rooms around the main court yard for student while they study as well as gardens around the main building. One of most beautiful elements of Iranian architecture is having a central court yard with a pond in the middle and 4 quarters of gardens around this pond and all rooms were facing toward this fascinating garden.
According to history of Shiraz in late 17th century, this school had 4 towers in corners that two of them are half remained. There was a tiny gap before changing the dynasty from Afsharid to Zand for few years and of course there were some tribal battles everywhere. In one of these battles which was between Karim Khan who founded Zand Dynasty and Mohamad Hassan Khan Qajar (the father of Founder of Qajari Period), two minarets of this school was taken off completely, however, in about 200 years ago the front construction of this school was damaged twice by earthquake very badly that were renovated by king’s brother and merchants.
Back and forth this school was renovated several times by rulers and merchants especially the Moqarnas decoration on facade has been added in 19th century by Naser al Din Shah who was the 4th king of Qajari Period and his name is recognizable on facade as well.
It is well noted that architectures combined Muslim’s believes in their own plans and made such a fabulous architectural codes. For example there were 92 rooms at the beginning which can be encoded to name of Mohamad the prophet in Jamal secret codes, or there were 5 studying halls which led to 12 corridors that represent the 5 holy prophets and 12 Imams.
we would highly recommend to take “Shiraz Walking Tour” to get acquainted with this school and enjoy better the atmosphere as well as our guide’s first hand info.