The Role of Innovative Design in Creating City Identity and Tourist Attraction: Investigating Sheikh-Zahed Monument as a Case Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Design, Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, University of Bergen, Norway.

2 Department of Industrial design, Kish International Campus, University of Tehran, Iran.


This paper is concerned with the investigation of the elements that make a landmark long-lasting, shape the city identity, and attract tourists. First, a vast literature review was carried out on monuments and their geometries, meaning of design in Islamic Architecture, tourists’ attraction, and land policy. Then Sheikh-Zahed dome, which is a significant landmark was selected as a sample for this study. This monument was studied through three different methods. First, a traditional method, used in Islamic architecture, was chosen to analyze the geometry and the color of the dome. Then a comparative study was conducted to analyze the differences in geometry, form, and color between Sheikh-Zahed and three other famous domes. Finally, to gather information about the land value, city identity, and tourists’ attraction, five real state agencies were interviewed. The results showed that the association of factors such as climate, culture, structure, and hidden meanings in this monument attracts visitors. The comparison of Sheikh-Zahed with three other monuments showed this monument is a unique architectural symbol due to several aspects such as complex geometry, the dome's shape, climate adaptation, its placement, and being surrounded by nature. Also, this landmark has an impact on land value and tourist attraction. Therefore, it was concluded that the design which is based on comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the user, climate, cultural and spiritual aspects, regional material, and structure would lead to a significant urban landmark building. Understanding the factors which are common between landmarks will give a clearer vision to designers.