Rostam Guiv reservoir; A masterpiece of desert architecture

The benevolence and generosity of Arbab Rostam Guiv, one of the great benefactors of Zoroastrian society, has left many works in the city of Yazd, the hometown of Arbab Guiv. One is the water reservoir, considered a masterpiece of “water reservoir construction”.

The late Rostam Guiv was born in 1267, solar; he was the head of the Zoroastrian Association of Tehran for 27 years and was a member of the National Assembly and the Senate for several terms. He founded the Rostam Guiv foundation in 1337 (1958). Arbab Guiv’s good works are not only in Yazd but also in Tehran, Kerman, Shiraz, and even outside Iran (in North America). He founded many buildings for charity purposes through his generous nature.  He passed away in Mehr 1359 (1980).

As we mentioned, one of the many benefactions of Arbab Rostam Guiv in Yazd is the water storage structure. This structure was built in the Dasturan section of Yazd city, but the time of its construction varies in different records, and confusion can be seen in them. Some have considered it a reservoir built in the Qajar period in 1281 solar! Some have attributed it to the solar year 1320, and others have counted it as 1323. Anyway, the construction of this structure lasted for two years, and the exact date of its construction goes back to the 1323 solar year (although this date needs more investigation).

Rostam Guiv water reservoir is domed, and four spectacular windmills can be seen around it. Its dome is made of brick. The tank of the reservoir is cylindrical and has a capacity of nearly 2300 cubic meters of water. The depth of the tank reaches 15 meters. The entire structure is made of Saroj mortar and its entrance portal has remarkable framework. In structural terms, the bricks used in it is called “ajor farsh”, meaning flooring bricks, which were used in the construction of reservoirs.  Two openings of the reservoirs face two sides of the neighborhood.

Who was the architect of Guiv reservoir? Again opinions are different. Some have considered this structure to be the first work of architect Ali Akbar Akhundi. Others have named Mohammad Ebrahim Khorramshahi as the architect who designed the reservoir. In any case, this beautiful and well-used structure was registered in the list of national works of Iran in Dey 1375 (1996).

In the beginning of the year 1397 (2018) revitalization and reconstruction of the road that stretched from Rostam Guiv reservoir to the fire temple was carried out with the help of Yazd municipality, which included plastering the walls with straw and clay, brick plinths at the foot of the walls, sanding, and other related works. Improvement and revitalization of the reservoir was also completed in August of the same year. Before that, news had spread about hand-drawings and writings on the walls of the reservoir. Immediately the cultural heritage activists of Yazd demanded follow-up on this issue and to erase the writings on the body of the Guiv reservoir. At that time, the cultural heritage activists of Yazd demanded to follow up on this work and erase the writings (Report of the website of Payam Sagban). With the national registration of Arbab Rostam Guiv Reservoir, its maintenance, and protection gained more importance, and it was recognized as a symbol of cultural and historic heritage of Yazd.

Rostam Guiv reservoir

Few more mentions about the water reservoir of Arbab Rostam Guiv: One is that this structure is built on clay soil. Another thing is that its dome design is in the shape of a cypress tree, which is known as a symbol and sign of immortality in Iranian culture.

All these have caused Iranian and foreign tourists who go to Yazd city to see the oldest adobe city of the world from close, not to miss the Guiv reservoir. Thus, this structure can be considered as the symbol of Yazd reservoirs and a manifestation of the tourism potential of this city. The surrounding atmosphere of this reservoir is traditional and very spectacular; However, before revitalization, improvement and landscaping, its beauty remained out of sight, but now, the renovations in an area of nearly 1.,600 sqm around this structure have made the traditional art of the architects of Yazd and the fine art used in construction of this reservoir more outstanding.

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June 8, 2023