IRAN Tour Packages | Isfahan, the third populated city of Iran, is located in the center of Iran. The city is full of historical monuments, and many of them are in the UNESCO Heritages list. Isfahan is famous for Naghsh-e Jahan square; and is full of ancient buildings, beautiful mosques and minarets. There are plenty of bridges covering Isfahan city, such as: “si-o-se-pol” and “Khaju”. As Isfahan is full of amazing monuments, people also call it “Half of the world“!
There is no certain evidence about the formation of the city, but stories and myths attribute it to Key Kawad, mythological figure of Iranian folklore and oral tradition.
Because of the existence of “Zayandeh Rud” in the city and good regional conditions, we can see signs of humans choosing this place a residence fro 6000 years ago.
Before Islam, and specially during Sassanid dynasty, Isfahan was a place for troops to prepare themselves. And this is why the original name of the city was “ESPAHAN“; the name changed to “Isfahan” during time.
In 16th century, Shāh Abbās I chose Isfahan as the capital of Iran. Keeping the center of power from borders, Reducing the power of Qizilbash tribes and improving trade were the main reasons of the king for transferring capital from Qazvin to Isfahan.
Isfahan was the best city among all eastern cities, during Shāh Abbās I and Shāh Abbās II‘s monarchy.
We can call Safavid dynasty the flourishing era of architecture of Isfahan. By the order of Shāh Abbās, some new parts added to the city. Chaarbagh street, Naghsh-e Jahan square and Ali Qapu building all were built with making little changes to the old parts of the town.
Safavid architecture was very miscellaneous and efficient.
The most glorious mosques, biggest schools and caravanserais, huge squares and the most beautiful streets and bridges in Isfahan date back to this dynasty.
The most important architectural compelx left from the Safavid period and it is one the most complete squares in terms of geometric proportions.
In the past people used to play polo in Naghsh-e Jahan square and that’s why people also call this place “polo square” too. The oldest polo goals were located here.
some parts of “Naqare Khaneh” building disturbed during Qajar dynasty because the lack of attention.
Buildings around the square are:
A garden named “Naghsh-e Jahan” was disturbed during the building process of this square. They used the materials of Naghsh-e Jahan garden in the square; so it got the name of Naghsh-e Jahan in the memory of the garden.
In my opinion, Naghsh-e Jahan is the most beautiful square in the world. I remember, over 50,000 lights were lighted when it was a celebration.“Jean Chardin”
The main entrance of Isfahan’s bazaar named after Qeysarieh city, because the structure was similar to a building in the city. The bazaar includes four other gates and a pond, which was used as a small yard during some years in the past.
The gate originally had three floors; but the third floor, “Naqareh khaneh“, disturbed during Qajar dynasty. The use of “Naqareh khaneh” was announcing different hours of the day with music.
Dir Hurmoz’s bell and Portugal castle’s clock was brought to the city after conquering Hormuz island and was set on the top of the gate. You can also see spectacular paintings by Reza Abbasi, on the top of the gate.
Sheykh Lotfollah mosque, named after the shiaa theologian, Lotfollah Hebli Ameli. It was Shāh Abbās’s personal mosque and built for the use of royal women of the family.
The main difference between Sheykh Lotfollah mosque and other mosques in Iran is that this mosque doesn’t have a yard, minaret or iwan.
You can see introspection along the corridor-entrance of the mosque which wants to say all the prayers have to enter the shabistan from the back of mihrab entrance. There was a tunnel under Naghsh-e Jahan square from Ali Qapu building to the mosque in order to prevent woman from being seen by other men.
There is a epigraph on the top of the gate, written by Alireza Abbasi in Sols. There is also two another epigraphs in the mosque, under the dome written with white color on azure tiles.
The first one with the content of how the religious leader, Muhammad explained the formalities of entering to a mosque and the second includes all the signs of Jom’eh and Nasr Surahs.
The inner part of the dome has Toranj motifs on blue background, and on the outer surface you can see blue and white arabesque on ecru color.
All the tiles in Sheikh Lotfollah mosque, are seven color tiles or mosaic. We can see mogharnas and mosaic tiles in mihrab.
We can say Sheykh Lotfollah mosque, is a balance between a world of enthusiasm and passion with a flourishing silence and peace.
Ali Qapu, masterpiece of nonreligious architecture of Isfahani style, also known as Naghsh-e Jahan’s State house.
The word “Ali Qapu” has changed from “Ala Qapu” during time, Ala Qapu is a Turkish word means light brown door, which we can say the building got the name of it’s door which belongs to Timurid era.
The big iwan of the construction was built in order that the king can sit in and watch Chowgan (polo). Shah Abbas celebrated Nowruz for the first time here.
Ali Qapu was built in 6 floors (including the ground floor), gradually in 5 stages, and this is the reason that the building gives you a different view from each side. It seems to be a 2 floor building when you look at it from the front, 3 floors from the sides and 5 floor from back!
The most famous floor is the last floor, musicians hall, embellished with beautiful stuccos called “Tong Bori“. The use of the stucco was to give an acoustic use to the room and reflect the sound of instruments.
Ali Qapu is also famous for it’s spectacular miniatures painted by famous artist Reza Abbasi, on the walls and ceiling.
Abbasi mosque (Shah mosque – Imam mosque), the most important historical mosque in Isfahan, built by Ali Akbar Isfahani. The mosque’s plan is so close to a four porch mosque. Shah mosque includes two sabistans, one in the east side of the yard which is bigger but with less embellishment and the other in the west side of the yard, smaller but with a magnificent mihrab and decorated with seven colored tile. on the both sides of shabistan you can see two schools in the name of “Naseri” and “Suleymani“.
The entrance of the mosque is completely towards south. But because the mihrab had to be in the direction of kiblah, there is a circle auricle to the yard. When the auricle finishes, you are in front of the magnificent tall vault of the northern iwan.
Shah Abbasi mosque is the embody of the peak of thousand years of mosque construction in Iran.
The dome of the mosque is 52 m tall and built on a steam. The dome is also one of the most perfect Nar two discrete shelled domes in Iranian architecture history.
“Sangab” is a big stone container, placed in mosque yards used for ablution or drinking water.
Shah mosque includes seven Sangabs all belong to Safavid era.
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