Now an anthropology museum in Iran, Rakhtshooy Khaneh was a place for women to be more in ease doing the washing.

Built in 1926, by the first modern style mayor of Zanjan, Rakhtshooy Khaneh (wash-house, lavoir), was somehow unique in Iran. Ali Akbar Khan-e Tofighi, the first mayor of the city, ordered constructing this 850 square meters edifice as a public wash-house for women, to let them have better conditions for laundry and washing the dishes, in a roofed area, preserved from the cold climate the city could go through.


Ali Akbar Khan-e Tofighi, Zanjan’s first mayor

Rakhtshooy Khaneh is consisted of two main parts; one is the court yard and the administration area, and the main roofed wash-house with 2 symmetric rows of 11 columns each side, and four water ponds and small channels connecting them.
The water used to flow to the first pond and then overflow to the second pond. Then the water moves through two long channels to the other side of wash-house. The dirtiest cloths were washed in the last pond, which was the exit way of the water from the building. The channels between the second and the third ponds were used for less dirty cloths or pre-washed ones. The third one was used for washing the dishes and the last one which is actually the first pond water enters into the building was used for drinking as it was supplied by the fresh water of qanat (underground water channels from distant springs and wells).


Rakhtshooy Khaneh wash-house

There had been no other comparable wash-house like Rakhtshooy Khaneh of Zanjan anywhere in Iran, although a European traveler may have seen some samples from the 18th and 19th centuries at least in the painting if not for real. However, the specialty of this laundry house is not only for its historical application, but also for the wax sculptures of early 20th centuries women in colorful local dresses, giving visitors a good insight how it really used to be back in days.
This act of washing was really time consuming for the laundresses and so this roofed wash-house was a perfect house for women to gather and socialize with each other, especially in the cold winter days. So it was really more than just a washing place, but a vivant community.
There is also a small collection of antique artifacts in the museum. You can visit Zanjan by car, bus or train, 333 km to the west of Tehran and also visit the Saltmen museum and world’s third biggest historical dome or simply book Spiritual Iran 10-Day Tour, Impressive Iran 14-Day, and Iran World Heritage Trail 14-Day Tour or contact us via or +98 21 88 17 08 99 for more information.


Rakhtshooy Khaneh wax sculptures
Baback Khademi

Baback Khademi

Webmaster & Web Developer for Inbound Tours

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