1) a narrow alleyway or an alleyway between 1 to 3 meters wide;
2) the length of a koochehe varies from some 20, 30 to 200 or more meters;
3) a koochehe must be bordered by tall, clay walls of the traditional buildings. Therefore, a narrow footway or an alleyway, from a street to a house, or a lane in a garden, that exits in western cities is not a koochehe. The width of a koochehe is bordered by the tall walls of the traditional houses;
4) koochehes are irregular in their length; straight, curved, U shape, semi-circular; arc-shaped curve, etc.
5) a koochehe is not a street, nor an avenue, nor a passageway, nor even a footpath as they exit in the western cities. For example, there is a reference to narrow passageways in Caernarfon, north Wales, in a tourist pamphlet by the Wales Tourist Authority. Those alleyways, most likely, are not koochehes similar to the koochehes that exist in Yazd City (-- i.e., the walls on the two sides of the passageways are stone walls; they also may not be a maze of narrow alleyways). There is also a narrow alleyway in the city of Stockholm, Sweden, that can be viewed by a search in Google. This famous alleyway in Stockholm is a narrow alleyway between two tall buildings and in the slope of a hill. Although the alleyway in Stockholm is very narrow and unique ( -- one or two pages of Google are introducing it), it is different than the koochehes in the indigenous structure of the historic cities of Iran.
A typical koochehe is about 1 meter wide and from some 30 to 100 or 200 meters long. In the historic cities of Iran, the koochehes are connected together and form a maze of narrow, corridor-like footpaths bordered by tall walls of the traditional houses ( in Farsi words: koochehe pass koochehes).
Up to about 100 years ago, the koochehes were the main roads in a village or in a town or in a city. When there were no cars in Iran, a rich person usually using a mule to go from his traditional house in a koochehe to his shop in a traditional baazaar.
An important characteristic of this indigenous urban feature is that the koochehes are normally clean and quiet as the residents of the traditional houses in a koochehe sweep and clean the koochehe in front of their entrance doors and as usually the residents of the traditional houses pass through a koochehe. Furthermore, the sound of feet of a person walking in a koochehe, because of the familiarity of the residents with the walking styles of the residents of a koochehe, would tell the residents of the traditional houses whether the walking person in the koochehe is a member of the houses in the koochehe or is a stranger.
Because of a modernization process in Iran and the need for a wide street to allow the passage of cars, many koochehes are widened in the past 50 to 100 years. In the historic cities of Iran, therefore, only limited number of koochehes still exist. But in Yazd City, many are still in good shapes.
Finally, a koochehe is such a unique indigenous, structural feature that best can be defined to people from other countries by a picture ( i.e., this volume). And as a very unique, urban feature among the cities of the world, the koochehes well deserve to be introduced as an independent subject. Therefore, for the first time the koochehes and clay buttresses are selected as a topic for a book by the author so that the visual journey to Yazd province is concluded with a record of the koochehes ( the narrow alleyways or passageways) and clay buttresses.