You do not always need historical and cultural sites to enjoy a trip! Sometimes walking in a street can make such a beautiful memory in your mind that none of the historical places can. There are many such streets all over the world. Streets where you can enjoy the tranquility for a few mornings. But in the meantime, Chaharbagh Street in Isfahan shines like a beautiful diamond; a diamond that you will stare at and you can not take your eyes off it. Some may compare it with Valiasr Street in Tehran and others may consider it similar to 30 Tir St. But Isfahan’s Chaharbagh Street is just like itself and has no counterpart. So let’s get to now this amusing attraction of Isfahan city.
In the travelogues of foreign tourists, this street is sometimes compared to the Champs-Elysées of Paris, Ponte Hume and Populo of Rome, Pogorel in Naples and Honarel of Palermo. Even the Italian Peter Delavalle writes:
“None of them can reach the Chaharbagh of Isfahan!”
One of the historical and main streets of Isfahan is Chaharbagh. The street divideds into two parts: 1.Chaharbagh Safavi and 2.Chaharbagh Abbasi. Chaharbagh Abbasi, also known as Chaharbagh Paein (down), is one of the historical streets of Isfahan, which is located between Darvazeh dowlat and Si-o-Se Pol. And the other part of this street, known as the upper Chaharbagh, or Chaharbagh Safavi, starts from Si-o-Se Pol and continues to the south of the city to Shiraz Gate. In fact, it is Si-o-Se Pol that connects the main street of Chaharbagh Safavi and Chaharbagh Abbasi.
Chaharbagh was built during the reign of Shah Abbas to connect the palaces, the royal gardens, the aristocracy between Darvazeh Dowlat and the Si-o-Se Pol, in the heart of the surrounding gardens. But it was not just a connecting street, It was a public promenade with lots of trees to relax in their shadows; and not just for the nobility but for the “general public.”
At that time, people used to go to Chaharbagh to relieve the fatigue caused by daily work. In the words of the travel writer Kempfer:
“Innkeepers put mats and rugs on the steps so that people can rest on it. People sit on them and have hookahs and a drink while watching the performances of narrators and poets, and having the best time. And they only go to cool rooms inside tea houses when the weather is very hot.”
Chaharbagh translates as “four gardens“. Now you might have this question that is there four gardens alongside this street or there was another reason for this naming? And if there were four gardens here, why “four”?
Well, if you do a little research on the history of Iranian architecture, you will see that the number four was very important in this art. The ancient architects of Iran used the number four many times in their architecture. This issue was so obvious that you can even see it in the architecture of Taj Mahal, which was influenced by Iranian architecture. Chaharbagh street is also a monument of architecture of that period. An era that we can consider it as the golden age of Iranian architecture. Unfortunately, there is no more news about the garden which once surrounded the street; but it is still known as Chaharbagh Street.
This popular and famous street of Iran, no longer has it’s alluring gardens but there are still lots of great monuments to visit in this street. And there are lots of fun stuff to do while walking in Chaharbagh; such as tasting new foods, especially specific Isfahan foods and desserts such as doogh and gusfil! So in the rest of this article we introduce you places to visit and to eat in the gorgeous Chaharbagh street.
The most famous and beautiful hotel in Isfahan is adjacent to this street. Behind Chaharbagh school and at the beginning of Amadgah street, there is a hotel with luxurious architecture, amazing mirror and plaster works, drowned in a world of color and light. Actually if you are looking for a nice lace to stay at in Isfahan, Abbasi hotel can be a very nice option. But what made us to put Abbasi hotel on our article in actually the space in front of the Abbasi Hotel. In the 1970s, a space and a landscape were created for the use of people in front of this hotel.
The “Abbasi Complex” has been and is a hangout for young people and families on three floors for many years. A space to stay, sit, write, draw, play, gather and even be alone. The lower floor of this space is decorated with ponds and gardens; and nowadays various bookstores are sitting around it.
One of the most popular stores there is the Tumba Music Store which is now part of the memories and delights of serious music audiences in the city. The ground floor of this complex is a space for endless meals, meetings and conversations with the a cozy cafe in the corner called “Yesterday and Today“.
The upper floor, which is separated by circular stairs from the ground floor and goes up, is also a good place to watch the moonlight of the Abbasi Hotel and the dome of Chaharbagh School. It is possible to sit in the open air outside a cafe and weave stories and fantasies for the people in the hotel.
Americ Hotel was the first hotel in the modern sense in Isfahan that was built in Chaharbagh. In 1307 (1929), a man named “Monsieur Tony”, built this hotel. He was the son of a poor family and worked for a German businessman named Geier. Years later, he built the first hotel called Americ Hotel in Chaharbagh, which was later renamed Ferdowsi Hotel and then Jahan (translates as world) Hotel. If you like to stay in a beautiful place but not as expensive as Abbasi hotel, you can consider Jahan hotel as an option.
At the corner of Amadgah and Chaharbagh streets there is Chaharbagh School. This place is one of the last monuments of the Safavid era and one of the architectural masterpieces, tiles and paintings of this period. The magnificent colors, patterns, designs, and drawings of the tiles and the entrance of this place, themselves take you by the hand and pull you in!
Inside Chaharbagh school you’ll see a large pool of water with the sound of material water passing and ancient trees. The combination of these elements have created a wonderful space for relaxing and just existing!
These days, the exterior booths of this mansion, which is a good platform to sit and watch, are full of people who want to breathe in Chaharbagh under any pretext. For me personally, there are similarities between these pavilions and the pavilions of Si-o-se Pol and it’s people. They seem to be a continuation of each other. Just remember that only on Thursdays and Fridays there is an opportunity for public to visit this school.
Adjacent to Chaharbagh School, there is a large art market, which is actually a historical monument; and is now the gold market of Isfahan. As we cross to our right, the Hasht Behesht Park begins. Two hundred meters ahead, we enter the large entrance of the park on our right (East) and behind it, through the dense trees of the park, we can see the mansion of Hasht Behesht, showing it’s beauties intelligently. And even if it is night, you can see the mansion’s charms with it’s light.
Si-o-se pol is a bridge with 33 carters and 295 long built in 16th century on Zayandeh roud. A beautiful bridge that is a kind of the main symbol of Isfahan. This bridge is the turning point of Chaharbagh Street in Isfahan. As we mentioned before, during the reign of Shah Abbas I, Chaharbagh Street started from this bridge and continued to the North of the city. But during the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi, Chaharbagh Street stretched from Si-o-Se Pol to the gate of Shiraz.
Now that you know where to visit, it’s time to have some tasty food! You can almost find any kinds of edibles in Chaharbagh street! There are lots of cafes, van cafes and various restaurants along side this street. So keep reading and find out abut them.
Car rides aren’t allowed in Chaharbagh street. So sitting in the street and having something to drink will be very enjoyable. Most cafes of Chaharbagh are both indoor and outdoor; so you’re the one to choose! But we recommend you if you are visiting Isfahan in hot seasons or the cold doesn’t bother you, choose to sit outside and enjoy the great atmosphere, specially at luminous nights!
If you want to watch people and Chaharbagh without being too much in the middle of the square and in the eye, there is a cafe on the balcony of “Chaharbagh mall” which is a good cozy place for a lively view. But if you want to have a quiet and secluded place away from the hustle and bustle and the corners of passers-by, there are some good cafes in the streets connected to Chaharbagh and next to you. “Radio”, “Mr. Cup” cafes in Sepahan Cinema alley, “Patio” and “Story” cafes in Kazeruni alley and “Yesterday and Today Cafe” in the open space in front of Abbasi Hotel are very good options.
And if you want to take the new experiences to another level, there is a traditional Iranian tea house in Forouhar alley; so you can keep it in mind and enjoy the atmosphere!
If you like new experiences and are tired of usual cafes you can find everywhere, there are no worries! Van cafes on Chaharbagh can probably amaze you. Most of them start working at night and they are really popular. So we recommend you to visit them!
Slightly above Chaharbagh School, not far from the entrance to Hasht Behesht Park, there are four or five van cafes with different appearances. Occasionally there is a residual odor on coffee and tea on the sidewalk. You can sit there under the trees on metal or wooden benches and drink a sip while watching the conversations and the coming and going of bicycles and skates.
The whole street may be full of different delicacies; but we’re referring to a few that have a history and a fan base. You can’t visit a new place and don’t try new foods! The most famous food of Isfahan is Berian. To have a tasty dish of Berian, you have to turn to Taleghani street from Chaharbagh street; then there is a dead end at the beginning of the street where the restaurant named “Shad” (translates as: happy) is.
If you are a fan of sandwiches, there is a very famous sandwich shop in the the middle of Chaharbagh. And if you are looking for a restaurant with a traditional atmosphere, mirror work and colorful windows that scatter colored lights on your head and face in Isfahan, Shahrzad Restaurant welcomes you at the beginning of Abbasabad Street connected to Chaharbagh street.
Was our article about Chaharbagh street interesting for you? Which part of the street did you like the most? Let us know by commenting your opinion. And if you like to read more about Isfahan, click on the picture below and find out about the famous and popular Naghsh-e Jahan street.