Historic cultural capitals-Isfahan

- its history can be traced from the beginning of the Stone Age (the Paleolithic age). Since the Sassanid era Isfahan had remained an important military center. Later, in the XVI century this magnificent city was turned into a capital by Shah Abbas I. In those times one really could see all the wonders of the world there. Even nowadays Isfahan remains the most popular tourist city of Iran.

Naghsh-e Jahan Square in its present form took shape in the 16th century, when Isfahan was the capital of the Safavid Empire and the main city attractions are located around it.

The Imam Mosque (Masjed-e Emam) is located on the south side of the square,   the Sheikh Lutfollah Mosque (Masjed-e Sheikh Lotf-ollāh) is standing on the eastern side of the square and it is the most famous mosque in Iran. Ali Qapu Palace (Ali Gate) that was built in the early XVII century by the orders of Shah Abbas I is in opposite site. Not far from the Grand Bazaar is Jameh Mosque (Masjid Jame e). This mosque is one of the oldest in Iran. Its construction was completed in 8 th century. It was built by Seljuk Turks at the site of the old Zoroastrian temple. There is another Zoroastrian temple in the mountains, which became popular during the Sassanids, but it was there even at the time the of Elam dynasty.

Isfahan is famous for its palaces.  The most popular of which are Chehel Sotoun (40 columns) and Hasht Behesht (Eight Paradises) that still standing.

The bridges over The Zayanderoud River include some of the finest architecture in Isfahan. These are Si-o-se Pol (the bridge of 33 arches), "Pol-e Shahrestan" (Shahrestan_bridge), “Pol-e Khaju” (Khaju Bridge). All of them were built during the reign of the Safavid.

There are many Christian churches in Isfahan, the most important one is Vank Cathedral, which was built by Armenians ( 1606) in Julfa (Armenian quarter of Isfahan).


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