Howzak is a small and cosy house built more than 90 years ago in the historic neighbourhood of Esfahan, a short distance away from the UNESCO-listed Masjed-e Jame, the city’s magnificent Friday mosque. Before opening its doors to tourists and city visitors, Howzak House, had been privately owned by two generations of the Khanoum family: Goli Khanoum, who was the neighbourhood’s girls’ teacher, and Malek Khanoum, who had lived with her five children in this house.

We, Nassim and Babak, a young couple are now taking care of this precious house and in order to preserve and protect this historic dwelling, we decided to try and make it self-sufficient. Howzak House dates back to the late Qajar period (1796–1925) and it is clear from its simple architectural style and ornaments, that it is not an aristocratic but a working-class residence. Yet, Howzak House exudes the charm and magic of traditional Iranian architecture, meaning that this perfectly symmetric building on the inside was built on a very asymmetrical land. Most importantly, however, it has over many decades preserved the cordial spirit of a family house.

With various restoration projects, we aim to make as little intervention as possible, taking into consideration the needs of cultural travellers interested in experiencing traditional Iranian lifestyle in a big city. We respect our cultural and natural environment, which has inspired us to make use of recycled materials when making creative additions to the house: hand-made coloured tiles collected from back yards of the tile factories to decorate walls, wooden pallets collected from paper factories to create standing garden shelves, fences and even some beds inside the rooms. We used our creativity and heart to preserve the integrity and authenticity of this historic dwelling and avoid any unnecessary changes.

You are welcome to be our guest, our mehmoon, as we say it in Persian. You are welcome to share your stories with us, to hear ours and to add a new page to Howzak’s history book.

Howzak Family

Babak is a both a musician and an engineer. He is also an experienced climber, having started when he was just 12 years old. Babak has excellent knowledge of Iran’s mountains and cliff-climbing. He introduces Persian music and its importance to Iranian daily life to Howzak House guests. It is no surprise that this moustache man, not unlike the rest of Iranian male population, is also a big football fan. Besides cheering for the national team, Babak also does coaching and plays the game himself. If you are interested in nature trails and tours, Babak is the man to ask.
Babak

Founder

Nassim is a trained architect and conservationist. After twelve years of studying, living and working in Iran, Belgium and Uzbekistan she has found her peace in the magical Howzak House, tucked away in the historic neighbourhood of Esfahan, next to her favourite moustache man, Babak. “Tangible and intangible cultural heritage are two of my dearest life puzzles,” she confesses. Along with taking care of Howzak House, she runs UNESCO initiated cultural heritage projects both at institutional and local level.
Nassim

Founder

Esfandiar, aka Grandpa, is our friendly housekeeper who has been taking care of Howzak Guesthouse from the very beginning. He would always welcome you with a smile on his face and a cup of tea! Grandpa cannot speak English, but you can ask him anything in any language, and he would effortlessly understand. He also enjoys being photographed. You can count on at least one photo with him when reviewing your Iran trip pictures back at home.
Mr. Rahnama

Team Memer

Bahar is an architect with passion for travel and especially backpacking in the nature, setting her tent up and taking unique and creative shots. Listening to her adventure stories all over Iran will be worth your while. Not to mention her interest in other people’s travel accounts. You will also enjoy Bahar’s explanation about the making process of traditional Iranian music instrument – setar.
Bahar

Team Member

Sajjad is our ‘backgammon’ guy! He is into all kinds of board games, and takht-e nard (backgammon in Persian) is particularly his thing! If invited to play with him, watch out for his bluffing, the main asset of this (or perhaps his?) game. And not to forget, Sajjad is doing cinema studies and you can count on interesting and informative talks about Iranian movies with him.
Sajjad

Team Member

Sara is our Shirazi joy, always in good humour and extremely talented in drawing and doodles! A trained urbanist, she knows a lot about Esfahan and Shiraz and you are welcome to ask her about the urban development in these two cities. Sara is also very much into DIY projects, which makes her invaluable during out ‘handicraft walks’.
Sara

Team Member