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A Safavid Royal Bathhouse Uncovered: Re-evaluation of the Sa‘ādatābād Garden of Qazvin With New Archaeological Evidence

Sean Silvia

In 2019, archaeologists broke ground at the site of Shah Ṭahmāsp I’s Sa’ādatābād in Qazvin, a royal garden and palace complex finished in 1557. There they discovered remains of a Safavid bathhouse. There have been many recent efforts to reconstruct Sa’ādatābād as it originally was, but none of them include the recently unearthed baths in their models. The archaeological team’s dig reports also do not perform this sort of analysis. This paper will consider historical and archaeological evidence to incorporate the bathhouse discovery into the reconstruction of Sa’ādatābād. It will situate the baths within the context of a garden city, connect historical evidence which refers to baths at the royal complex, and reconstruct the bathhouse’s location and layout. Finally, this paper will explore the implications of this bathhouse, including its location in relation to the palace structures of the garden, how it symbolizes the Shah’s power and prosperity, and reconcile the baths with the most famous piece of literature on Sa’ādatābād, Jannat-i 'Adn.