Isfahan (Esfahan)

Florence of Orient, Persia's masterpiece, the Intrigue of Iran and the half rhymed famous adage "Esfahan Nesf-e Jahan" (Esfahan is half the world) all are to describe the splendor of a city shining along its life-giving river at the heart of Iran.

 

When you tread into the city it seems as if it has been preparing itself for an impromptu royal visit. It is a city of inspiring architecture, elegant mosques, churches, graceful palaces, beautiful gardens and gorgeous bridges, a city made for the refreshment of humanity as Robert Byron says.

 

In Esfahan You can hardly find a street without a wide central pedestrian reservation of trees, fountains and flowers. Behind every corner you stumble upon spectacular remainders of rich past. In its heyday under Safavid dynasty when the city flourished and gave birth to its outstanding Islamic and Iranian architecture, Esfahan was a large city with a population of one million and owned many parks, libraries, public baths, shops and mosques that amazed western visitors, who had not seen anything like that at home.

 

One of the great works of Shah Abass in that period was "The Pattern of the world" or Naqsh-e Jahan Square which is a real jewel in Isfahan's crown. This majestic collection of buildings fits money, worship and aristocratic pleasures together in deliberate visual harmony.

 

Somewhere in the west of Imam Square, a beautiful tree-lined boulevard, offers delightful hours of walking under its cool green shades. Chahar Bagh is the main street of Esfahan and traverses Zayandeh Rud through Si-o-se Pol. Zayandeh Rud is crossed by some of the world's most picturesque covered bridges.

 

Another sight worth spending hours of strolling is the city's four-mile labyrinthine bazaar, with its majestic Qeysarieh Portal in imam square. As Iran's artistic and craft centre and Esfahan's world famous fine carpets, handicrafts and textile, Grand Bazaar of Isfahan would be a charming adventure for shopaholics.

 

Andre Malraux, the famous French author and adventurer says: "Who can claim to have seen the most beautiful city of the world without having seen Esfahan?" therefore, do not hesitate to visit The Florence of Iran whose well-proportioned mosques whose turquoise blue dome and minarets rival the color of the sky.

 

Sites:

 

  • Ali Qapu Palace
  • Imam mosque
  • Chehel Sotun (Pavilion of Forty Columns)
  • Shahrestan Bridge
  • Vank Cathedral
  • Bazaar-e Bozorg
  • Hasht Behesht Palace (The Eight Paradise)
  • The Bridge of Allahverdi Khan or Si-o-se Pol (bridge with 33 arches)
  • The Bathhouse of Sheikh Bahai (Hamam-e Sheikh Bahai)
  • Manar Jonban