Isfahan is another main touristy city of Iran with large number of beautiful attractions. It is the third largest and most populated cities of Iran and also one of the world's oldest cities. Due to its good geographical and historical situation, it was paid attention during different eras but Shah Abbas I, the rules of Safavid dynasty, liked Isfahan so much because of its beautiful nature and so selected it as his capital after the astronomers informed him that if he stays in Qazvin (his first capital), he will be killed and Isfahan Golden age started. There is high abundance of historical structures, monuments, mosques, bridges and beautiful tree-lined boulevards and it is the reason Isfahan is known as "Nesf-e-jahan" means half of the world.
So, Isfahan is a must see city because has much more to offer:
- It has been nominated as the cultural capital of Islamic world in 2006 and so there are several amazing numbers of Islamic architectures.
- In 2015, Isfahan joined The UNESCO Creative Cities Network for its crafts and Folk Art. It is the first city of Iran that is included in this list.
- Due to having good level of humidity, fertile grasslands and vast forests, Isfahan province is one of the main provinces for visiting nomads.
Top Isfahan Attractions
Naghsh-e-jahan Square or Imam Square: A big enough Square to be nominated as one of the largest squares of the world with two storeyed arcades on four sides and again other series of shops behind them. In fact, there is nothing that you can't find here. Silver and copper works, carpet, spices, sweets and etc. It is also a nice place to walk, relax especially in pleasant weather of spring or If you like, ride around in horse drown coaches. Naghsh-e-jahan Square or Imam square is located in the heart of Isfahan but has some other historical attraction in its heart that all are a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. Highlights such as Sheikh Lotfollah and Imam Mosque, Ali Qapu palace and Qaysariyyeh portico and Isfahan grand Bazaar. Although in past years, here there was a very beautiful garden that redoubled the beautifies of this square but now there is no remains of it.The square and attractions around it are designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1979 and is one of the largest squares in the world with an astonishing Islamic architecture.
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque: Sheikh Lotfollah, Sadr or Fatholah Mosque is one of the most visited highlights in Iran. A truly unique mosque that without doubt is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. There are lots of beautiful and dazzling calligraphies, tiles, elegant Muqarnas and Moaragh that is ready to astonish every visitor. Apart from its breathtaking tiles and intense colors, another interesting point about this mosque is that in spite of all other mosques, it has no Minaret and entrance Shabestan (Yard). This mosque was built in Safavid era by the order of Shah Abbas I and took long around 18 years.
Imam mosque: Isfahan is the city of beautiful cyan dome. This mosque, too, was built in Safavid era and considered as the most important structures of Islamic architecture. May be someone says all mosques are the same, but we believe each one has its own beauties and worth to visit. The beautiful entrance of this mosque with Moaragh and seven-colour adobe tiles, entrance door covered by silver decorations and Persian poet calligraphies are the characteristics of this mosque. But what is more interesting and amuse many visitors is that if you stand at the central point under the dome and say sth ,your sound will be reflected due to the acoustic properties of this mosque dome .
Ali Qapu: Ali Qapu had been the main entrance and central portal to all of the palaces that were built during safari period in Naghsh-e-Jahan square. It has six floors that each one has its own specific decorations. Beautiful wall paintings and miniatures, carved stucco and Muqarnas especially in six floor that is known as "Music room" beside its acoustic feature are some beauties of this palace that have distinguish it from other palaces.
If you like to see Naghsh-e-jahan square and specifically Imam mosque from its most beautiful view, don’t forget to spend some times in Ali Qapu Terrace.
Chehel sotoun: A large garden in 6700 square meter with a structure in the center of it which with Its Splendid miniature paintings, mirror works, 20 great columns that is reflected in the water of the pool in front of it and has made more 20 columns, lion stones and beautiful golden decorations, is a real sample of a royal palace in Safavid era. The same as sheikh Lotfollah mosque, the building of it started in Shah Abbas I and completed in Shah Abbas II. It had been where the Safavid kings receive ambassadors and governmental officials and during the past half century has been converted to museum.
Vank Cathedral: Another beautiful attraction that was built during Safvid era is Vank cathedral. It is located in Julfa quarter of Isfahan and is considered as one of the must-see sights in all of Iran tours. It is the largest and most beautiful and historical church in Isfahan with a simple appearance but gorgeous interior. A combination of Islamic and Armenian architecture with and Flowery patterns, astonishing paintings and intense colors on the wall and ceiling. There are also some differences between this church with other Armenian churches. For example, it has been built of adobe while others have been made of stone. It has two domes and very similar to Iranian mosques of Safavid era. A beautiful garden, a graveyard, a printing house - that is believed as the first one in Iran and even middle east, library and museum are other parts of this complex. Surely, the beautiful- a library and a museum are others parts of this complex.
Apart from this, wandering in Julfa district, you can enjoy the cozy and quaint atmosphere of this part of Isfahan.
Si-o-se pol & Khaju bridges: Si-o-se pol was built on Zayandeh rood (river), the largest river of Iran central plateau that has had an important role in fertility, beauty and also agriculture of Isfahan – during Shah Abbas and is considered as the largest construction on the water in Iran with a nice architecture. It is a double deck arch bridge with 33 spans in either side. If you like to meet locals and enjoy its nice architecture, spend a time to walk over it . Don’t lose the chance of visiting it at nights. It has a spectacular perspective.
Another bridge over Zayandeh rood (river) is Khaju. It had been a multi -purpose bridge that in addition to connecting two quarters of the river bank for facilitating transportation, was used as weir and also a place for public meetings. Furthermore, it was a place that Safavid king and his family chose it as their temporary residence. Because of this, it has beautiful decorations and tile-works.
Music museum: Although it isn’t a long time that this museum has been opened but has attracted many visitors. A place in which you can find a nice collection of Iranians and local musical instruments. It is the first music museum in Iran that two of important music professors have launched it. It is a very good place for those who like to know more about Iranian music. By choosing this private museum, you will have an interesting tour of traditional Iranian musical instruments that is worth visiting for both music and non-music lovers.