A visit to Isfahan in Iran

With some spare time I made a quick visit to Isfahan in Iran .

Isfahans - Jameh Mosque - Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque - Shah Mosque
Visit to Isfahan in Iran – Jameh Mosque – Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque – Shah Mosque

Landing in Shahid Beheshti International Airport at Isfahan it was obvious that it had not been modernized for years, perhaps since the Iranian revolution.

A relatively quick drive of some 30mins took me into Isfahan’s town centre, where I stayed a short stroll from Naghsh-e Jahan Square. The famed square is a classic Persian ‘garden of paradise’ an enclosed formal space based on a grid, usually sunk and with water features; a descendant of the first formal gardens at Persopolis.

Arlington Row Bibury England in Isfahan Bazar Bozorg
Arlington Row Bibury England in Isfahan Bazar Bozorg on a visit to Isfahan in Iran

Enclosing the square is an elegant bazar, with identically planned shops having an entrance onto the square and into the covered interior of the Bazar Bozorg; which held a little piece of England. The bazar also has three separate major buildings from the early 17thc .

Ali Qapu Palace Isfahan
Ali Qapu Palace Isfahan while I made a visit to Isfahan in Iran

The Ali Qapu Palace appears to be a pavilion from which to see and be seen. Inside a series of often elaborately decorated rooms rise above the square. In the early 17thc Robert Shirley arrived in Isfahan from England, eventually marrying Teresa an Iranian Christian.

Two Europeans in stucco Ali Qapu Palace Isfahan
Two Europeans in stucco Ali Qapu Palace Isfahan

In Ali Qapu Palace Isfahan a stucco portrait shows a man and a woman in European style dress, perhaps the Shirleys.

Isfahan Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque
Isfahan Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque during my visit to Isfahan in Iran

Opposite Ali Qapu Palace is the much admired Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque which was designed to have access by tunnel from Ali Qapu Palace and itself is an enclosed space.

Looking up to Interior Dome Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque Isfahan
Looking up to Interior Dome Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque Isfahan

The mosque was renovated in the early 20th c. by Reza Shah Pahlavi who also permitted non-Muslims to visit this previously private royal mosque, to visitor’s great benefit.

Isfahan Restaurant
Isfahan Restaurant

On the square’s south is the Shah Mosque a traditional open Iwan style mosque from the early 17thc, with a series of substantial courtyards.

Shah Mosque Isfahan
Shah Mosque Isfahan

The Bazar Bozorg connects Naghsh-e Jahan with an even earlier public square about a 2-kilometre walk north through the amazing arched brick walkways.

Isfahan Jameh Mosque
Isfahan Jameh Mosque

These eventually lead to the 8thc Jameh Mosque that is next to this earlier square. Like many public buildings in Isfahan this mosque is under renovation. Happily, visits are still possible and this enabled me to see the massive paving stones used for the floors, presumably similar stone is used in the other mosques.

Isfahan Chehel Sotoun
Isfahan Chehel Sotoun

To the west of Naghsh-e Jahan Square is another palace Chehel Sotoun, set in an elegant garden.

Isfahan Chehel Sotoun Interior
Isfahan Chehel Sotoun Interior

As with so many palaces in Isfahan this has beautiful paintings which portray court life.

Street Art Isfahan
Street Art Isfahan

South of this impressive area of historic buildings, boulevards extend toward the river.

Khaju Bridge Isfahan
Khaju Bridge Isfahan

The mid 17thc Khaju Bridge leads to the Bidekhem Church Isfahan.

Khaje Petros founder Bidekhem Church Isfahan
Khaje Petros founder Bidekhem Church Isfahan

Isfahan deserves more time than a couple of days,

Oman Air Maharlu Lake
Oman Air Maharlu Lake

perhaps the sight of Oman Air on its way into Tehran means that I will be on a future flight into Iran.

Tony Walsh Isfahan
Tony Walsh during a Visit to Isfahan in Iran

 

Author: Tony Walsh

Book author including the current Bradt guide to Oman – edition 4

5 thoughts on “A visit to Isfahan in Iran”

    1. Thanks Mike
      its a fantastic place and very walkable with no hassle at all
      Hotels are overpriced (shortage of choice) but not outrageous
      and with cheap flights rapidly expanding – overall relatively affordable.
      Take a diversion next time you fly to India

        1. A great reason to go – Isfahan’s period may be a bit late – but there are cities that will fit. Air Arabia offers a good choice. Do note the visa requirements. Send me an email (contact page) if you want

Comments are closed.