Isfahan, half the world
Isfahan is one of the ancient cities of Iran, which has many historical and cultural monuments due to its rich history, most of which are included in the list of historical monuments of Iran. This city, which has always attracted” the attention of kings and has been the capital of Iran in different periods, is a home to numeral famous attractions and well said to be “half of the world.
Naghshe Jahan Square in Isfahan
Naghsh Jahan Square is one of the largest and most beautiful squares in the world. With a length of 507 meters and a width of 158 meters, this square houses four historical monuments of Isfahan, including Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Imam Mosque, Qeysarieh Bazaar and Ali Qapu Palace. Around Naghshe Jahan Square, there are 200 two-storey rooms, and tourists come to visit this square both for sightseeing and shopping.
The square was registered as a UNECSO World Heritage site. When the Safavids chose Isfahan as their capital city, Naghsh Jahan Square was built. Before Safavid times, there was a beautiful garden square called “Naghsh Jahan”. Later, with the expansion of the square during the reign of Shah Abbas II and its enlargement, the new shape of the square was built.
Naghsh-e Jahan Square is still one of the largest squares in the world today, and from the point of view of foreign travelers, the description of its beauties cannot be described. In the past, this square was the place of royal celebrations, polo games, army parades, Friday bazaars and many other shows, and during these days, it was lit all over. For ordinary people, the space inside Naghsh Jahan Square was the best place to walk and shop. Two polo stone gates are also remained in this square, which are the oldest polo gates in the world. The foreigners have modeled polo fields from Naghshe Jahan map.
Each of the historical monuments built in this square was a symbol of urban life and community and national solidarity. Abbasi Grand Mosque or Shah Mosque or Imam Mosque on the south side of the square was the social center of the city and was built for large gatherings of people on various occasions. Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque on the east side was the religious center, Ali Qapu Mansion on the west side was the Government Center and Qeysarieh Bazar for trading and shopping was other monument located on the north side of Naghshe Jahan Square. The square is surrounded by historical rooms (called Hojreh) that are the main center of Isfahan handicrafts today. Reconstruction of the square, in order to preserve the art and expand the handicrafts of this city, has been done in recent years. We will introduce these outstanding historical monuments as follows.
Imam Mosque or Abbasi Grand Mosque or Shah Mosque
Imam Mosque Also known as Shah Mosque and Abbasi Grand Mosque, was built during the Safavid period in the southern part of Naghshe Jahan Square. Imam Mosque can be introduced as a masterpiece of architecture, tiling and carpentry of the 11th century AH. Several inscriptions can be seen in its main entrance and in two corners of the courtyard of the mosque, two schools, Soleimani and Naseri, attract attention. Both schools belong to the Safavid era and because one of them was renovated during the reign of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar, it was called the Nasseri school. In this mosque, several rules of Shah Abbas have been installed on stone slabs. The large southern dome is constructed in such a way that sound is reflected in it. Imam Mosque is a feature of Safavid architecture and the shape of the minarets and domes are designed with very artistic tiles. The reflection of sound under the dome is one of the specific features of this beautiful Mosque.
Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque
Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque with its colorful pea dome was built by Mohammad Reza Isfahani and is a unique masterpiece of tiling and architecture. It is one of the most beautiful historical mosques in the world which was built by the order of Shah Abbas I for the exclusive use of the Shah. Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque is located in the east of Naghshe Jahan Square. During the Qajar rule, the main building and the decorations of the mosque were severely damaged; But Reza Shah Pahlavi rebuilt it. The construction of 32-meter dome of this mosque took 17 years. The tiles of the dome of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque are the result of its reconstruction in 1315. Unlike other mosques in the Safavid period, this mosque does not have a courtyard or minaret. The use of beautiful colors and natural light go hand in hand to make this mosque famous and popular among domestic and foreign tourists. This gentle mosque is called as Ladies Mosque due to its gentle interior design.
Ali Qapu Palace
Ali Qapu Palace is one of the most beautiful historical monuments left from the Safavid era in Isfahan. Ali Qapu Mansion is located on the west side of Naghshe Jahan Square in front of Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque.
The entrance to the Ali Qapu mansion during the Safavid period was the gateway to all royal buildings in Naghshe Jahan Square. In order to show the power and glory of his government, Shah Abbas I, the Safavid king, ordered the construction of the Ali Qapu Palace. Important government meetings, welcoming foreign guests and holding government ceremonies were held in this palace; Also, the balcony of this mansion was a place for Shah Abbas and his entourage to leave during the polo and equestrian competitions in Naghsh Jahan Square and watch these competitions.
The Palace is also known as the tallest palace of the Safavid era, which reaches the upper floors with a narrow staircase. Climbing these stairs is a bit difficult due to their high height; But then there is a beautiful porch with wooden columns that reaches a height of 20 meters and watching Naghsh Jahan Square from above is very enjoyable.
With the expansion of Isfahan and the increase of the population living in this city and the migration from the surrounding villages to the capital, the importance of the government headquarters was increased and for this purpose, the number of floors of Aali Qapo mansion was increased and a high porch overlooking Naghsh Jahan Garden was added to the palace. After that, they decided to increase the amenities of Ali Qapu Palace for the accommodation of the guests, and a music hall was added to the mansion on the top floor. The music hall is architecturally different from other parts of the palace and has very beautiful decorations inside.
Qeysarie Gate and Qeysarie Bazar
The entrance of Qeysarieh Bazaar is located in the northern part of Naghsh Jahan Square and in front of Imam Mosque and is one of the relics left from the Safavid era. Formerly the entrance had three floors; But today the third floor, which was a tin house and was a place for declaring the specific times during a day, has been demolished. Rather than being aware of sunrise and sunset, it has been used for various ceremonies and to declare war or peace. Qeysarie Gate leads you to Isfahan Grand Bazaar.
Along the Qeysarie Bazaar, the old architecture of Isfahan can be seen beautifully on its roof, and this type of architecture is unique in its type. Also, you can buy unique handicrafts and other goods in this market.
Chehel Sotoun Palace
Chehelsotoun Palace is one of the most beautiful monuments of the Safavid era in Isfahan. Chehelsotoun Garden is located in the city of Isfahan, east of Chaharbagh Street, south of Sepah Street and west of Naghshe Jahan Square. This garden was formed in the city and among other gardens and was designed in such a way that it could be accessed from other gardens. A collection of these gardens, which were formed along Chaharbagh, was one of the foundations of Isfahan in the Safavid era, and the role of the Chehelston Garden is unique in this respect, because the it was the connecting link between this foundation and another urban foundation, Naghshe Jahan complex.
In the middle of the garden, Shah Abbas designed a pergola-shaped mansion with small rooms around it, which is known as the core of Chehel sotoun Palace. This court garden was used to host guests of the Shah’s court in ceremonies and celebrations. After that, with the beginning of the reign of Shah Abbas II, the seventh Safavid king, the mansion was expanded and halls and porches were added to it. The main porch is based on twenty columns. Many scholars consider the name of the palace to be a reflection of the twenty columns on the beautiful and large pool of the mansion just in front of the building. Of course, the holy role of the number 40 in Persian literature may be another reason for the mansion to be called Chehel sotoun (forty columns).
Jame Mosque of Isfahan
Jame Mosque of Isfahan or Atigh Jame Mosque is one of the most important and oldest religious buildings in Iran. Today, this mosque includes different parts, each of which represents the process of architectural art in different periods after post-Islamic Iran.
The oldest historical building in Isfahan should be considered as one of the most amazing buildings in Isfahan which is rarely known. The current appearance of the mosque is mainly related to the Seljuk period, but its repairs and additions are related to later periods, especially the Safavid era. However, in archeological excavations, works belonging to the third century AH were found. Pre-Islamic artifacts have also been discovered in the same excavations. The various sections of Isfahan Jame Mosque, which were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, have been formed for nearly 2,000 years and have been renovated or rebuilt over the years. The mosque is located in Qiam Square, Majlesi Street and it is highly recommended to be visited during your travel to Isfahan.
Si o Se Pol (33 Bridge)
Si o se pol or Allahverdi Khan Bridge is one of the historical bridges in Isfahan, which is 295 meters long. This bridge was built on Zayandeh Rud River by the order of Allahverdi Khan. Most of travelers know this beautiful city with this historic bridge and actually Si o se Pol It is one of the symbols of Isfahan city. This bridge, in addition to its mesmerizing beauty, is known as the longest bridge over the Zayandeh rud River.
Materials such as stone, brick, mortar and plaster have been used to build the bridge. According to geologists and cultural heritage experts, the foundation of this bridge is built in a way that the humidity will increase its durability and strength, and that is why it has not been damaged in the long time. On both sides of the bridge there are covered arches that overlook the river on one side and the middle of the bridge on the other side, creating a narrow covered passage on both sides of the bridge. The pedestrian way on the bridge has 99 arches in which there were paintings and unfortunately no trace of them can be seen today.
Some experts believe that the number 33 belongs to Anahita, the goddess of water in ancient Persia, and the bridge was actually a symbol of Anahita.
Isfahan Khaju Bridge
Khaju Bridge is one of the historical and beautiful bridges in Isfahan, which was considered as one of the most beautiful bridges in the world in the time of construction. Walking on this bridge, especially in the evening and night, is one of the most enjoyable activities that tourists mostly do during their trip to Isfahan. In addition to its beauty, it has secrets and wonders that make many people step on this bridge with a smart attention and understand it with all their being.
Khaju Bridge is located in the east of Si o se pol and in terms of strength, symmetry and architectural style, is one of the unique bridges in Iran. It is more famous than other Zayandeh rud bridges due to its architecture and tiled decorations.
Shah Abbas, in order to be able to stay on this bridge for a short time with his family, considered a place called Shahneshin in the middle of the bridge. Throughout history, in addition to passing along the Zayandeh River, the bridge has been used to be a place for the king and his companions to watch the sailing championship and other ceremonies and events.
Khaju Bridge plays an important role in the quality of land-water ratio. The position of the bridge is both hydraulically and structurally in perfect harmony with the natural ground; So that the bridge acts as an underground dam in front of Isfahan underground water reservoir lake. In addition, the bridge causes the river upstream to increase the city’s groundwater aquifer and downstream to act as drainage for the city’s bedrock.
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