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Shokatieh or Shokati School was the third modern school opened in Iran after Dar ul-Funun in Tehran and Rashidieh in Tabriz. Originally built by Amir Mohammad Ebrahim Khan, Shokat al-Molk (1880-1943) as a Hosseiniyeh (congregation hall of religious ceremonies) in 1890, the structure was turned into a school in 1903. Shokatieh was built by architects from Yazd in the historical texture of Birjand and has the four-season design of Persian desert structures.

The two-story building has a spacious Iwan (a vaulted hall, walled on three sides and open on one side), a central courtyard, numerous corridors and rooms, a dome chamber, Howz Khaneh (pool house), Hashti (vestibule), façade, Shahneshin (large room where guests are entertained), and bathhouse.      

Shokatieh has two entrances in the south and west of the building. The façade of the southern entrance has stucco Muqarnas (ornamented vaulting) decorations. Several lines from a poem by Shokat al-Molk have been inscribed on a stone tablet placed over this façade.

The ceiling of the Hashti has Rasmi Bandi (interlocking patterns, arches and geometric shapes) decorations and connects to other parts of the structure via corridors. There is a large pool at the center of Shokatieh’s brick courtyard. There is a 30cm-high platform in the middle of this pool. There are two corridors, one Panjdari (five-door or –window living room) and two Sedaris (three-door or –window bedroom) on the northern side of the courtyard.

The Iwan has a square arch and is raised 70cm above the courtyard level. This Iwan which is located on the southern part of the building has stucco relief decorations. There is also a hall in this part of the structure which was used as an auditorium. This hall has decorative arches and stucco Rasmi Bandi decorations. The Howz Khaneh is an octagonal yard behind the eastern wing of Shokatieh. The rest of the structure has striking brickwork and stucco relief decorations.

Shokatieh initially became an elementary school but quickly expanded to include a high school. In the beginning, the founders of the school granted student’s scholarships and gave low-income families cash and food handouts to entice students to enroll in this modern school. The school was run by Shokat al-Molk until 1937 when the Ministry of Education of the time took over. The school was registered as a National Heritage Site in 2016. 

Shokatieh School

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