Safa Mahmoudian is an architectural historian with an interdisciplinary academic background focusing on Western Asia from the early Islamic to early modern periods. Safa received her DPhil (2021) at the Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies of the University of Vienna, where she took part in several research projects and thought undergraduate courses on the history of architecture in Western Asia. In her first monograph (Tehran 2017), Safa explored the riverine landscape of a main water canal—Fadan Mādī—in seventeenth-century Isfahan from various aspects and scales. Her investigations demonstrated the important role that the water system of Isfahan played as a backbone in the morphology, architecture, and daily life of this city. In her current book project, which builds on her doctoral thesis, Safa examines palace gardens built during the period of Abbasid rule in their Lower Mesopotamian heartland, which have hitherto received very little scholarly attention. The research incorporates a wide range of previously un- or underutilized primary source materials to create a comprehensive picture of these gardens in their historical, architectural and environmental contexts and to examine various factors that influenced their design and placement. Because of its innovative approach, her research received the 2022 Grete Mostny Prize of the Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies of University of Vienna.
2023 (forthcoming). Palace Gardens in Lower Mesopotamia: 8th to 11th Centuries. Edinburgh Studies in Islamic Art series. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
2017. Dāstān Mādī Fadan: Miʿmārī wa Zindigī wa Shahr dar Kinār Jūy dar Iṣfahān Ṣafawī (The Story of Fadan Mādī: Life, Architecture and Urban Spaces along a Canal in Safavid Isfahan). Tehran: Rawzana.
2022 (forthcoming). “The Fourfold Garden of Balkuwārā Palace, Revisited”. In Jardins, pouvoir et société entre Orient ancien et mondes musulmans, de la Méditerranée à l'Inde. Edited by Anna Caiozzo and Harit Joshi, 85-114. Collection Jardins et Société. Valenciennes: Presses Universitaires de Valenciennes.
2021. “Bahw in the Architectural Vocabulary of Third/Ninth and Fourth/Tenth Century Mesopotamia”. Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 111:153-194.
with Amirhusayn Karimi. 2018. “Miʿmārī Ruzgār Ṣafawīyān (Architecture during the Safavid period)”. In Majmūʿa-yi Hunar dar Tamaddun-i Islāmī. Miʿmārī, vol. 2. Edited by Mehrdad Qayyoomi Bidhendi. Tehran: Samt, 257-277.
with Mehrdad Qayyoomi Bidhendi. 2017. “The Norm of Mādī: Water Management System in Safavid Isfahan”. In Beiträge zur Islamischen Kunst und Archäologie, vol. 5. Edited by Markus Ritter, Ilse Sturkenboom, and Fernando Valdéz Fernández, 5:57-69. Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag.
with Mehrdad Qayyoomi Bidhendi. 2013. “Hanjār Mādī: Niżām Mudīrīyat Āb dar Iṣfahān Ṣafawī (The Norm of Mādī: Water Management System in Safavid Isfahan)”. Research & Scientific Journal of Architecture and Urban Planning/ Nāma-yi Mi‘mārī wa Shahrsāzī 5/10:141-153.
2023 (forthcoming). “Samarra”. Dāʾirat al-Maʿārif Buzurg Islāmī/ Encyclopaedia Islamica. Edited by Kazem Musavi Bojnurdi, Wilferd Madelung, Farhad Daftary. The Centre for the Great Islamic Encyclopaedia/ Brill.
2022 (forthcoming). Rante, Rocco, Djamal Mirzaakhmedov: The Oasis of Bukhara. Population, Depopulation and Settlement Evolution. Volume 1. Edited by Marcus Milwright, Mariam Rosser-Owen, and Lorenz Korn. Art and Archaeology of the Islamic Word. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2019. Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 112.