How did I do it?

After we perfected rope-measuring on the flat, we also tried it out up and around hills. Along the Khurasan highroad, between two extant buildings where the Shah is known to have stopped on his 1601 walk, I have also compared the tanab with several other measurement systems.

How did I do it?

A lecturer in (modern) building metrics at the Islamic Azad University in Isfahan (standing to right) helped me get a rope-measuring team together. Near the Sardahan Caravanserai we soon found a simple and fast way of working. One person leads off at the front then, when the rope is fully extended, signals to the back-marker …

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How did I do it?

In Isfahan, the master craftsman currently in charge of renovating the Safavid buildings in New Julfa explained the different types of traditional rope to me and also described how the maximum length for any rope was determined by the size of buildings, and therefore by the standard size of Safavid bricks. He then helped me …

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How did I do it?

Munajjim Yazdi, Shah Abbas’ astrologer royal, accompanied the Shah along the 1601 walk and produced day-to-day records, itemising the stopping places and recording the distances between them using a tanab – a rope measuring 39.9m. I found Yazdi’s tanab measurements extremely useful when I was searching for Abbas’ stopping places, and was keen to investigate how easy it was …

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