Integration of Monuments in their Urban Context: The result of a predisposition to standardize, generalize, homogenize.
Polyvalence of Forms: No specific form for a specific function.
The Importance of the Interior: The ephemeral nature of matter.
The Predominance of Decoration:
Qubba: Literally "dome", but the word often signified the mausoleum of an amir or a pious man, which was usually, but not always, a cubical structure covered with a dome.
Mashhad: A complex term that means either a memorial for a shahid (witness of the greatness of God, but later exclusively meaning martyr) or a memorial for a true vision, which mostly involves the Prophet or members of his family.
Hazar-baf: a textile term borrowed in Persian brick architecture to designate the woven-like, checker-board quality of brick decoration that appeared in the ninth century.
Chahar taq: a term referring to the form of the pre-Islamic Zoroastrian fire temples of Iran; a domed square with an opening on each side and no doors
Dihqans: the landed nobility of pre-Islamic Iran and Central Asia
Sasanians: dynasty which ruled Iran from 226-651; capital was Ctesiphon.
Sogdians: Central Asian people who inhabited and ruled the land roughly corresponding to the modern country of Uzbekistan up until the Arab invasion in the 8th century.
Ziyarids: dynasty which ruled part of the Caspian provinces of Iran from 932 to c. 1075; nominally Islamic but holding to pre-Islamic Persian traditions and claiming descent from the Sasanians; responsible for several tomb towers, including Gunbad-i Qabus and Pir-i Alamdar.
Samanids: dynasty which ruled part of former Sogdian territory from 819-1005; capital was Bukhara; patrons of New Persian literature, science and architecture.