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Activities in Isfahan

Accommodations

Atigh Hotel Isfahan

Atigh Hotel Isfahan

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isfahan traditional hotel Esfahan

Isfahan Traditional Hotel

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kianpour residence house

Kianpour Historical Residence

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khan neshin lodge

Khan Neshin Hotel Isfahan

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ghasr monshi esfahan

Ghasr Monshi Hotel

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Things to Do

Naghsh-e Jahan Square

Naghsh-e Jahan Square

“Naghsh-e Jahan” Square or King square, is one of the most beautiful and precious historical monuments of Safavid dynasty at the heart of Isfahan with the area of plus 8 ha. It is registered in UNESCO World Heritages list.

Naghsh-e Jahan Square

The historical edifices around this square are: “Ali Qapu“, king mosque, “Sheikh Lotfollah” mosque and “Qeysariyeh” arch. Naghsh-e Jahan square was first a huge garden which was constructed and developed as the vantage of “Shaah Abbas Avval” monarchy by “Sheikh Bahayi”- the prime minister about 420 years ago. “Ali Qpu” at the west, King mosque at the south, Sheikh Lotfollah mosque at the east and Qeysariyeh arch is located at the north of it.

Naghsh-e Jahan Square

The names of two head architects of Naghsh-e Jahan Square (grand masters: Ali Akbar Isfahani & Mohammad Reza Isfahani) are inscribed at the entrance arches of King and Sheikh Lotfollah mosques. In 17th century,it was considered as one of the biggest and most important squares in the world and was also used as polo arena.

King square Isfahan

The comprehensive explanation about this square is done by some famous globetrotters like Sir John Chardin and Jean-Babtiste Tavernier. At the moment there are about 200 traditional stores all around the square full of Isfahan Craftsmanship industry.

Naghsh-e Jahan Square Isfahan

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vank cathedral

Vank cathedral

Vank cathedral or the The Holy Savior cathedral is not only a church of amazing paintings and architecture but also a unique museum of precious artistic works. It is located in Julfa quarter of Isfahan with the area of plus 8700 sq.m. During 1604 to 1606, The Armenians of Iran living at the northwest borders were settled in Isfahan (Julfa quarter) as the result this church was set up for them. The church was small so it was destroyed and reconstructed in 1655 by mayor David.

vank cathedral

vank cathedral

The interior architecture of Vank Cathedral is Armenian whereas the exterior is Iranian with a dome ceiling. The whole structure is made of bricks and adobes. All the interior walls an ceilings is plastered and pictures of different topics of Bible are painted on them. The artist of these paintings are master Minas, priest Estephanus and Hohanes Mercuz.

vank cathedral

 

The tombs of Khachatur Gisaretsi (pioneer of printing industry in Iran) and mayor David are at the scene of the church. The bell tower was constructed in 1716 by Hohanjanian Jamalian with total height of 10.5 meter. There is also an old printing house next to the church founded by Khachatur Gisaretsi.

The museum was established in 1905 by Tatavous Honanian in 2 storeys with about 850 artistic objects and 710 manuscripts. The objects consist of amazing plastered portraits and paint works of Armenian and European artists, jewelries and precious metal objects, fabric craftsmanship, ceramics and potteries, wooden arts, coins and many other beautiful objects.

Every year thousands of tourists come to visit Vank cathedral, a christian church in a Muslim country.

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Chehel Sotoun palace

Chehel Sotoun palace

Chehel Sotoun palace is one of the most beautiful monuments of Safavid era in 1636 with 2120 sq m area. It has 3 entrance gates and a large traditional pool in front of the edifice. The flora consist of Persian Pine, Elm, Maple, Plane and Tree of Heaven.

Chehel Sotoun palace

The building is a composition of Persian, Chines and European architecture and has large terrace (38x17x14 m). This terrace consists of two parts: one with 18 long wooden pillars which four of them are on top of 4 lion statutes (in the past the water came out of their mouths) and the other one which is a little bit higher as the entrance arch with 2 pillars. The pillars are made of Pine and Plane wood. The palace pool, in addition to its beauty makes the weather cool. There are 4 stone statues that belong to other destroyed palaces (by Zell-e Soltan) and have been brought here.

Chehel Sotoun palace

The entrance hall of Chehel Sotoun palace is decorated with artistic mirror works and wooden geometrical frames. The main hall used for foreign gusts is full of paintings about historical events.

Chehel Sotoun palace

The arts in the main hall describe the party of King Abbass(I) and king Tahmaseb with Turk and Indian rulers, and also King Abbass(I)’s war with Uzbeks. Two more pictures in front of the entrance door are about “Chaldoran” war in king Ismail time and king Nader in Afsharid time. Most of these arts were concealed under plaster by command of “Zell-e Soltan” (the idiot savage governor of Isfahan in Qajar era) which were revived in Second Pahlavi time by many experts and art-masters.

Chehel Sotoun palace

Chehel Sotoun palace

Chehel Sotoun palace

Chehel Sotoun palace

Chehel Sotoun palace

Chehel Sotoun palace

Generally, the amazing art works of this palace has made it the toppest among the all Safavid architectures. Chehel Sotoun name signification is that there are 20 pillars on the main terrace and 20 reflections of them on the pool’s water as a result the total becomes 40 (chehel) pillar (sotoun).

Chehel Sotoun palace

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sheikh lotfollah mosque

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque

Sheikh Lotfollah mosque is situated in Nagsh-e Jahan square and was constructed by master Mohammadreza Isfahani by order of first king Abbass for the honor of “Sheikh lotfollah Jebel Ameli”, the king’s father in law. It was actually the private mosque for the king and his family and there was a hidden way from it to Ali Qapu in the past.

As Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque has no towers and no entrance yard, its architecture is strange and different with other mosques. The calligraphy of entrance framework is by master Alireza Abbasi, in “Sols” and the inside calligraphies are by Bagher Banna, an infamous calligrapher.

Sheikh Lotfollah mosque

The entrance two-part door is wholly made of Plane wood which is quite well after 400 years! one of the master architectures of this mosque is that the entrance has 45 degrees to the main building but you can’t recognize this angle difference from outside! This angle difference is compensated with a corridor full of amazing blue and green tiling arts.

Sheikh Lotfollah mosque

Sheikh Lotfollah mosque

After this corridor you will arrive to the main hall under the dome with height of 32 meters from ground. This dome due to its elegance and master arts is one of the best and most beautiful domes in Iran architecture. The masterpiece of this dome is a peacock feathers stencil forming a bright peacock picture at its top center at mid days!

 

The walls are so thick especially at the base (2 meters) to tolerate the weight of this edifice and as it goes higher the thickness reduces. There are 16 lattice windows around the dome base to bring light into the mosque hall. Louise I.kahn, the famous Swiss tourist says about this mosque: ” I can only create this art with ink of gold and silver in my dreams!”

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque

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Ali Qapu Isfahan

Ali Qapu

Ali Qapu edifice which was called “Dolat khaneh” (Government House) in Safavid era was built in 1598 on the west of Naghsh-e Jahan square across from Sheikh Lotfollah mosque.

It is decorated with amazing miniature and acoustic arts. It had 5 doors in the past which one of them is remained now. Ali Qapu is actually the name of the main door towards the Naghsh-e Jahan Square. It is 38 meters high and used to be a hub for hosting important officials of Iran and foreign governments.

The signification of Ali Qapu is from Turkish word of Qapu (door) and Persian word of Ali (Supreme). Ali Qapu,the same as what we can see in Ottoman Emperor, had a high dignity; in the way if a criminal could escape and settle there, nobody could arrest him unless in order of the king.

The amazing point about architecture of Ali Qapu is that; it has 2 floors from east view, 5 floors from west view and 7 floors from the king private staircase. There is a big terrace at the height of 28 meters with a copper pool in it. After entering the palace we will see a 64 sq m hall with a very beautiful dome above it full of Eslimi and Khotayi patterns. The acoustic masterpiece of this hall is that if you stand at one corner and whisper something, the person at across from corner can hear it easily and clearly.

 

There are 94 steps to the roof top, but there is a balcony in each floor that let people rest and watch the square view. At the toppest floor there is a big hall which was used for watching the polo games, fireworks, etc by king family or their guests. Another amazing amenity of this palace is music hall at 6th floor full of hollow plasters with form of musical instruments that not only give this place an astonishing beauty but also the acoustic effect.

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