The historic bridges of modern Esfahan are of course Safavid, like the Maidan. Each bridge coincides with a straight avenue running through the city from north to south. The best-known is the 132- m long Pol-e Khaju (Khaju Bridge), some 1.5 km downstream (east) of Sio Seh Pol, which is slightly smaller but even more attractive, with two levels of terraces overlooking the river. From bank to bank, and on the foundations of an earlier structure by the order of Shah Abbas II in 1650 AD, this magnificent bridge has been constructed with two purposes in mind: to be used both as a roadway and a dam (by means of sluices, the level of the river may be raised or lowered at will). The original purpose of this dam was to form an artificial lake for some distance upstream, in front of the numerous palace buildings and kiosks that stood on either side of the river. It is now used to raise the level of the river sufficiently to fill irrigation canals on either side.
But its most fascinating features are the pavilions set into the 12-meter width called Shah Neshin (Royal Parlors) and once decorated with faience and inscriptions. The famous tea-house under the bridge is currently closed but may be reopened soon: this used to be one of the most atmospheric places in Iran to sit and drink tea or smoke the ghalian (hubble- bubble), surrounded by slumbering Esfahan manhood.
Favorite thing: Zayandeh River flows through Esfahan from west to east. It is nice to stroll along the river between the many bridges (many of them very old) in late afternoon or in the evening when the bridges are illuminated. There are good footpaths along the river.
Mausoleum of Baba Qassem
Located to the north of the Friday Mosque, is the Mausoleum of Baba Qassem (Aramgah-e Baba Ghassem. an Iranian theologian) built in 1340 AD by a theological student named Suleiman ibn el-Hassan Talut Damghani in memory of his teacher. The entrance gateway is decorated with attractive stalactite ornamentation, beautiful tiles and an inscription executed by the well-known calligrapher Mohammad Reza Imami in 1634, the date when the renovation works of the site were completed. The pyramidal brick cupola of the mausoleum, with attractive mosaic tile decor, ranks among Esfahan's most remarkable historic re. Inside the mausoleum, under the cu, there are numerous inscription frieon a background of urquoise- ctiles. An inscription in white Thought characters set on an azure tile background, is seen on the crescent above the mehrab, which gives the name the person by whose order it was built.
For Madraseh lmami next to the mausoleum, see under MADRASEHS OF ESFAHAN
Mausoleum of Shahshahan
As a famous mausoleum, this is the burial- place of a mystic named Shah Ala' od-Din Mohammad who lived in the 15th century AD, and was killed by the Timurid king Shahrokh, according to the inscriptions found there. The original building is of Timurid period and has later been repaired under the Safavids. Its tile work, plaster ornamentation, as well as the interior stucco inscriptions (in Persian and Arabic) are very remarkable as regards their magnificence and charm. The cupola of the mausoleum has been reconstructed in recent years and is planned to be decorated with tile work in near future. It has an ivan and a carved door bearing the date 1446 AD. The latest repair of the mausoleum was carried out during the reign of Safavid Shah Abbas I in 1604 AD, according to a plaster inscription inside the mausoleum.
Fondest memory: Mausoleum of Pir-Bakran
Located in Pir-Bakran 30 km to the southwest of Esfahan, the tomb of Pir- Bakran, together with a gallery and courtyard date back to the 14th century AD, and have been constructed in the reign of the Mongol Ilkhan Oljaitu. This complex of structures bears two dates, namely 1303 and 13 12 Ad, and possesses excellent stucco decorations and tile work inscriptions in Thlllth and Kuffic styles, and a series of inscriptional plaster works add considerably to the grandeur and charm of this monument. The mausoleum is that of an eighth-century pious man, Mohammad ibn-e Bakran, and consists of a gallery, a courtyard, a portal, and the tomb itself. The name of the constructor and decorator of this superb building, given in the inscription, is Naqqash (the painter), and his work ranks among the masterpieces of the decorative art in Iran. The cemetery of the Jews of Esfahan can be seen in front of this complex. The Shrine of Esther Khatun is visited by the Jews of the region.
Tomb of Harun Velayat
The construction of Harun Velayat or Harunieh, is composed of a cupola, a tomb-box, two courtyards and two portals beautifully ornamented with mosaic tiles delicate scrolls, and complex designs. It was erected in 1523 AD, in the reign of the Safavid king Shah Ismail I, by the order of one of his reputed military commanders named Dormish Khan, and repaired under other sovereigns of the same dynasty. Innumerable inscriptions in different calligraphic styles, set on mosaic tile background, including the inscription of its ancient stone trough, are found in this monument. Some lines of verse from Safavid and Qajar periods can also be seen in the mausoleum and the porch. The superb tile-decorated cupola of the monument also bears an inscription in Kuffic around its base.
The magnificent talar or verandah, is the dominant feature of the palace and the slender columns, over 40m tall, which support it are cut from single chenar trees (platanus orientalis). The roof is also made from chenar tree beams and inset with complex decoration. The surface of much of the throne room is still covered with mirrored glass and this probably also was used on the pillars, as it was in the palace of Ali Qapu, so as to give the appearance of a roof floating in the air.
Looking out over the pool from the Verandah, one is able to appreciate the importance attached historically by Persians to the concept of "talar" which fulfilled their love of sitting in the garden while they were protected from the light and heat.
Behind the verandah there is a small raised throne room which leads into a spacious audience chamber. This is richly decorated with paintings celebrating the heyday of the Safavid dynasty, including a particularly celebrated one of Shah Tahmasb receiving the Mughul Emperor Homayun at a banquet. There are also some paintings of a more secular nature, depicting ladies lying in gardens and hunting scenes, although these have been badly defaced. On the outside of the building there are some particularly interesting pictures of european figures, presumably based on the ambassadors and their retinue who would have stayed in the palace from time to time.
The royal palace of 'Ali Qapu dominates the south eastern side of the central square in Isfahan, formerly called the Meidan-e-Shah. Its name means "The High Gate" and its impressive entranceway was no doubt intended to symbolize the strength and authority of the Safavid monarchs who ruled the country, and, as the posters on the verandah show, this significance is retained even in present times when the square has been renamed Meidan-e-Imam.
The talar or verandah formed an ideal place from which to watch the games of polo which took place in the square and is richly decorated with designs painted on the external plaster at the rear and elaborate tracery in the ceiling. The columns, like those of Chehel Sotoon, were originally encased in mirrored glass to give the impression of a roof floating in the air, and like them are cut from single chenar trees (Platanus orientalis). The lower floors are uninteresting and were clearly used as quarters for guards, and the security of the upper apartments was further enhanced by the uncomfortably steep and narrow stairways which lead up and down within the building.
Esfahan is a city for walking, getting lost in the bazaar, dozing in beautiful gardens and meeting people.
Fondest memory: walking by the zaiande River or visiting bazaar , sitting in the naghshe jahan square and looking to the buildings and the sight is an experience that I can't forget.
As with every othe place I have visited in Iran I have been struck with the friendliness of the people. Esfahan is even more of a jewel with the cultural and architectural wealth it has.
Fondest memory: Visiting the Bird Garden outside Esfahan the same time I was there was an elementary school. That group was simply amazing. Well behaved, happy in singing and dancing and into the exhibits... You had to be there and hear them cheer the owls. The memory just blows me away.
. Ali Asghar 222148.
2. Edalat, Chahar Bagh-e Bala Ave 244606
3. Emdad, Ferdowsi Ave 227713-4.
4. Esfahan, Amadegah St 223511.
5. Hakim Shafa 265846.
6. Kushesh, Sheikh Bahai Ave 234494.
7. Markazi, Masjid-e Seyed St 230036.
8. Sajjad 224197.
There are several hospitals in Esfahan. The former Anglican Hospital is next to the Church of St Luke in Abbas Abad Street. Somc ofthc hospitals arc as j()llows:
I. Askarych 250041-9.
2. I;ciz 259031-5.
3. Ha?rat-e Qa'em 616001-9.
4. Sadoghi 282031-7.
5. Shahid Bcheshti 267001-3.
For just 7000 rials I got a pot of tea and a water pipe (ghaliyan) with banana flavoured tobacco (!).
I could sit forever and smoke water pipe, take a sip of hot tea and see the water running just beside me...
This is a must when you are in Esfahan!
Favorite thing: The bridge itself is 295m long and 13.75m wide. The thirty four piers on which it is constructed are 3.49m thick and the arches are 5.57m wide. The southern side of the bridge, where the waters of the Zayandeh run more swiftly has supplementary arches, and it is this that makles them suitable as a tea house. The bridge acted as a springboard for the development of the Khajou Bridge some 50 years later.long and 13.75m wide. The thirty four piers on which it is constructed are 3.49m thick and the arches are 5.57m wide. The southern side of the bridge, where the waters of the Zayandeh run more swiftly has supplementary arches, and it is this that makles them suitable as a tea house. The bridge acted as a springboard for the development of the Khajou Bridge some 50 years later.
Favorite thing: The above mentioned took its foundation in the late Teimooride period, and was constructed according to what it is currently in 1060 AH, under the orders of Shah Abbas II. Its cubicles, adornments and tile work are interesting aspects of this constructions. There is a structure in the center of the bridge, known as the Beglarbegi construction. The same was used as a temporary residence for the royal family. The name of this bridge is a distorted version of the word 'Khajeh' which was a title for great personalities in the Safavid era. It was constructed on the Zayandeh Rood River.
PHOTO : CITY GARDEN.
ESFAHAN is not like the other cities in Iran. The comparison between Esfahan and other cities in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India is a great far. Not because scenery, ancient artifax or people only, the great differance is weather. Since the industries area are very far from Esfahan, the air and scenery always fresh.
PHOTO : ESFAHAN'S CITY VIEW FROM FAR.
THE topography of Esfahan can be seen from this photo. Even located at high plateu and serounding by mountains it's nicely situated on the flat valley. During the ancient time, this mountains act as a natural deffence to the local here.
PHOTO : ZAYANDEH RIVER AT ESFAHAN.
THIS city having their water supply from this river. If you have a time there, move upper north to the mountainous area to see the beginning of this river. The Zayandeh river run through Esfahan is typical of waterways which are born from the melting snows of the high peaks and die away in the desert before they can flow away into the sea.