Introduction to Isfahan Half of the World
According to tourists who have traveled to Isfahan, the beauties of the whole world have shone in Isfahan. From the Blue turquoise domes to the unparalleled Naqsh-e Jahan Square, historical monuments, scenic attractiveness of nature, various rural and urban traditions, a variety of sweets unique to Isfahan, even more than ten types of specific foods along with unique handicrafts makes Isfahan specializing in the eyes of the world. Historical monuments passed down from generation to generation in different parts of the province for centuries and are now available as a precious heritage turned the city into an art, natural and historical museum. These are the reasons that people call the city as Isfahan Half of the World.
Isfahan Half of the World Monuments
Isfahan Half of the World Blue Turquoise Domes in Naqsh-e Jahan Square
Who has heard the heartwarming name of Isfahan once but has not known Gaz, cashmere, engraving cloths (Ghalamkari), pottery handicrafts, and the inlay of Isfahan or has not known Naqsh-e Jahan Square that has no parallel in the world?!
From the lovely handicraft bazaars to the Ali Qapu Palace and the mosques of Sheikh Lotfallah and Imam, all are in this place, where is the second-largest square in the world and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Such a unique historical square has intelligently connected spiritual and worldly affairs by embracing the four mentioned buildings on the four sides of the Naqsh-e Jahan square.
The Polo or Chogan (the Persian sport) gates founded by the Persians are once again a reminder of the Persian mind’s intelligence.
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque
Meanwhile, the different colours of tiles in Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, related to the Safavid era, plus the lack of a minaret and an entrance courtyard, have distinguished the mosque from other ones in Isfahan.
The extraordinarily delicate mosaic tiles and muqarnas in the altar of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque are unique architectural masterpieces.
Imam, or Shah, or Abbasi Mosque, in the south of Naghsh-e Jahan Square, is one of the significant buildings of Islamic architecture in Iran, representing the pinnacle of a thousand years of mosque construction in Persia. The Imam mosque is an eternal masterpiece of architecture, tiling, and carpentry, built during the reign of Shah Abbas I Safavid, containing seven Sangabs (A container where rainwater collects). Its architectural phenomenon is in one of the southern naves; If a person stands under that nave’s dome and shakes even a banknote, for instance, the voice will be loudly amplified and will be heard by everyone.
Ali Qapu Palace
Ali Qapu Mansion is located on the west side of Naghsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan and is the entrance door of the Safavid Government House. Aali Qapu Mansion is an exclusive example of the Safavids palaces’ architecture, in which you can hear the sounds naturally and without reflection in its music room, just like today’s specialized studios.
The exterior embellishments of the building are in crescent-shaped parts, above each entrance, with seven-colour tiles, Islamic stripes, and ornaments. The interior design includes exquisite compositions of flowers and paisley, hunting, animals, and birds on plaster or Persian and foreign pictorial miniatures.
Shahrestan Bridge is the oldest bridge in Zayandeh Rud (The largest river of the Persian Plateau in central Iran) and one of the ancient ones in Iran. Although its construction dates back to the Sassanid period, according to some researchers, it has Achaemenid roots and grounds based on natural rocks of the riverbed. The bridge, also known as Jey Bridge, was repaired during the Deilamians and Seljuks dynasties.
Khajoo Bridge (Khaju Bridge) is one of the Shah Abbas II Safavid era’s monuments, one of the most stunning bridges in the whole world, containing picturesque painted ornaments in its arches. It is still more prominent than other bridges of the Zayandeh-rud River due to the architecture and tiled decorations; There is a building between the east and west sides of the bridge, including several rooms decorated with paintings. The place, called Shahneshin, was the seat of seniors and emirs who used to watch swimming competitions and boating on the lake.
Si-o-se Pol Bridge
Si-o-se Pol Bridge, known as Allahverdi Khan Bridge, is a masterwork of architecture in the Safavid era and one of the well-known bridges in Isfahan with 33 spans that divides the water of Zayandeh-Rud, connecting Chahar Bagh Abbasi to Chahar Bagh Bala. The middle road of the bridge was for pedestrians, and the two sides, which have arched corridors, were dedicated to sidewalks, but today the whole route is dedicated to pedestrians.
Sheikh Bahaee Bath
The Sheikh Bahaee Bath is made by the great scientist Sheikh Bahaee, who for many years occupied the minds of the world with his two riddles; heating the bath’s water with a candle and its constant light. In recent years, different people have made various claims of discovering the thee Shaykh Bahai hammam’s secret, but none of these cases have been confirmed.
The Manar Jonban is one of the prominent minarets in the world, and its incredible secret is that by shaking one of the minarets, the other minaret and the whole building move. You can see it by the placed glass of water on the tomb of a mystic, known as Sufi Amu Abdollah Soqla, but the secret of this technical knowledge has not yet been fully discovered. Many years ago, one of the minarets was manipulated to reveal the mystery, and for this reason, the minaret now shakes less than the other one.
Qeyssariyeh Bazaar is one of the largest and most lavish shopping centres in the Safavid era and one of the most magnificent gates in the world; there is a symbol at the top of the Qeyssariyeh portico representing the constellation of Esfahan or the Arc Tower. This bazaar connects Imam Square to Atiq Square.
Some consider The Jameh Mosque of Isfahan a museum of artworks and architecture of the Islamic era; The mosque consists of different parts, each representing the Islamic architecture in a particular period.
The Takht-e Foulad in Isfahan, after Wadi Al-Salam (the historic Islamic cemetery in Iraq), is the most significant cemetery, where many Shia artists, intellectuals, and scholars have mausoleums. The tomb of the prophet Joshua is also in a part of this place called Lisan al Gaib, dating back to pre-Islamic times. Between each piece of Takht-e Foulad is the tomb of one or more celebrities as the Tekyeh and named after that person; Many of these tombs are architecturally unique.
Hasht Behesht Mansion
Hasht Behesht Mansion is a two-storey, octagonal mansion that is now on Chahar Bagh Street in Isfahan and is one of the most charming buildings left from the pleasing palaces and pergolas that were constructed next to Chahar Bagh during this period.
Vank Cathedral (Church)
After the great migration from Julfa, the Armenians were brought to Isfahan by Shah Abbas’s order. They started to build a place to live; at the beginning, they constructed the Vank Cathedral and other churches. This church, located in the Julfa neighborhood of Isfahan, is the largest centre of Orthodox Armenian science and religion. The historical antiquity of the church and its preservation over the centuries is a sign of the different religions’ coexistence in Isfahan.
Ali Qoli Aqa Historical Bath has the complete architecture of Persian baths and various spaces such as a swimming pool with a foot bath, a place made of a specific marble stone for the back massage, places to rest, eat and drink Isfahani rosewaters, depicting part of a great civilization of Persia in art and architecture. Citizens used the bath until 50 years ago.
Malek Vineyard or The Angoorestan-e Malekotojar is another historical monument in Isfahan, whose seven-coloured Ghajari glass causes light to play on the buildings’ walls and highlights the charms of the historic mansion, dedicated to the mourning of Muharram for many years.
Isfahan half of the World Embraces Kashan Heritages Too
passing from Isfahan province, you can see two marvelous works located a short distance from each other in Kashan; one is the Fin Bathhouse and the other is the ancient Sialk Archeological Hills.
The Sialk Hills, the relics of the ancients in this region of Persia, are the results of historical and cultural existence that dates back to the third millennium BC.
Sialk Hill, made of mud and clay, discovered in 1931 following the archeological excavations, is a place of worship for ancient tribes. Several human skeletons and vessels have been found in the ruins of the Sialk Hill; These objects are maintained in the Louvre Museum in France, the Museum of the Fin Garden, and the National Museum of Iran.
In addition to its reputation as the place of Amir Kabir’s assassination, Fin Bathhouse has now been turned into a museum garden, where surprises visitors with the architectural attractiveness of various sections, including baths and rooms. The garden’s plumbing system, which boils water throughout the green space and in the waterways along its entire path, is one of the strangest historic structures’ architectures, the secret of which has not yet been properly discovered.
All of this invites us to take a lifetime to get to know them all, leading us to believe that a world is hidden in half of the world, Isfahan. Comprehending all these wonders requires a spirit of exploration in the depths of any historical monument.