Four hour drive away from Tehran, lies Isfahan in
the center of Iran. The city's golden age took place when Shah Abbas the Great
made it the capital ofSafavid
Empire in 17 centuriy. From that era, there has remained many magnificenthistorical monuments. Iíve taken the pics in March 2003, Norooz
Imam Square : It's is one of the
largest squares in the world (500m x 160m), twice
as large as Moscow's Red square. It was the symbolic centre of the
Safavid Empire and was used for holding festivals, markets and games of
polo. The square is surrounded on all four sides by long walls with the Imam
Mosque in the south, the Mosque of Sheikh Lotfollah in the east, the Ali
Qapu Palace in the west and the entrance of the great Bazaar in the north.
Imam Mosque : In the south of the
Imam Square is one of the most stunning buildings in Iran, the Imam Mosque.
Two turquoise minarets flank the huge gateway (27m high) Which are shown in
the below picture. The mosquewas
built over a period of 26 years and was eventually completed in 1638. The
mosque is decorated with glazed tiles which take on a different hue
according to light conditions.
Behind the Imam Mosque gatewayand
slightly to the right ,is the main dome of the prayer hall. Itís
a double cupola38 meters high
on the inside and 52 meters on the outside leaving a 12 meter empty space
which serves as an extraordinary " echo chamber".Consequently the speaker in the mehrab (alter) can be distinctly
heard in all other parts of the mosque. In the center of the great prayer hall
there are a few black paving stones underneath the dome, which stamped upon
create seven clear echoes.
Lotfollah Mosque: This small mosque was built during Shah Abbasí
peroid and dedicated to his father in law, Sheikh Lotfollah. The pale tiles on the
dome change colour from cream to pink, depending on the light condition,;
and the mosque is unusual because it has no minaret or courtyard. The mosque
was once called the Womenís Mosque, because there is apparently a tunnel
between this mosque and the Ali Qapu Palace, allowing women from the old
dynasties to attend prayers without being seen in public.
Qapu Palace :It's
a magnificent palace builtin
the reign of Shah Abbas to be used as a reception center for guests, foreign
envoys and courtiers. The palace which is six floors tall, the tallest in
the time,has a tiled staircase
and a remarkable plaster-work,and
much of its interior is covered with frescos and miniature paintings.
Pol Bridge: "Si-o-Se Pol" or bridge of 33 arches is the most
magnificent bridge over Zayandeh Rud, the main river of Isfahan. Built
during the rule of Shah Abbas the Great in 1632,
it is by far the longest bridge in Isfahan at 295m.
Abbasi Hotel : This hotel was originally built as a caravanserai by the
mother of Shah Sultan Hossein, the last the Safavid ruler. The old
caravanserai was restored in the 1960ís as a luxury hotel.
To stay at the Abbasi Hotel is to walk through history. The first picture
shows its courtyard and a veiw of Madrassah
Chahar Bagh's magnificent yellow and turquoise dome which is beside it.
masterpiece of Iranian art and architecture, the Abbasi Hotel, while
enjoying all the facilities of a modern hotel, gives you the opportunity to
see authentic Persian miniatures, paintings and tiles, gilt ornaments,
mirror, inlaid and plaster works.The second pic shows its expansive
courtyard where guests can dine, enjoy tea and relax.
Behesht Palace: The palace of Hasht Behesht was completed in 1669. 'Hasht
Behesht' translates as 'Eight Paradises' and refers to a Timurid style palace
which consists of two stories of 4 octagonal corner rooms around a
central domed hall. The
garden aroundHasht Behesht
Palace has been beautifully restored in recent years.
Chahar Bagh: Madrasah Chahar Bagh ( Four Garden School) is a religios school which is built beside Caravanserai Abbasi. The construction of this Madrasah marked the end of a sustained and brilliant period in the history of architecture. The Madrasah was built on the initiative of Shah Sultan Hussein's mother between 1706 and
Madrasah Chahar Bagh
tile decorations are really wonderful. As tiles are monochrome to create these
colorful decorations, hundreds of thousands of tiny tiles in different shapes and colors are put side by
side like a great puzzle.