Jolfa is the Armena quarter of Isfahan - a small city within a city. The fact that this quarter exists is an historical one: Shah Abbas I in 1618 - after a war with the ottoman turks - gave a piece of land in the city to the displaced armenian refugess, allowing them to create their own community and to practice their own religion.
To give you an idea of how may refugees there might have been, think in terms of churches: there were 24 in origin. Most of them came from the Armenian city of Jolfa (hence the name). Today, if you visit Jolfa, you can still see 13 of these churches - and most restaurants and shops in the are are still owned by armenians.
The heart of this area is Jolfa Square - and it is located on the south bank of the Zayandeh river. You ca walk there from Imam's square in about 30 minutes.
Mubaraka is quiet residential town an hours drive from Esfahan. Taxis will probably charge you about $20, but you will have to haggle very hard. Locals would pay about $8. I did, but I had local friends. The main employer is the large steel works, but the city is very pleasant, if not very quiet. There are some amazing old earthen forts and fortified houses that are sadly fading with time. There is also a lovely park where families go and cook on portable gas cookers. A really great place to visit if you want to really see life in Iran. I really enjoyed my stay here.
About Bagh-e-Fin (Fin Garden) in Esfahan province
The Bagh-i-Shah of Fin is a palace that combines the architectural features of the Safavid, Zandiyeh and Qajar periods.
It is famous for its abundant water-supply (Cheshmeh Sulaimani), a garden thick with trees, a pool with numerous spouts, and an old historical bathing-house (where Amir Kabir was murdered.)
The original construction of the park and the Suffehs are attributed to the reigns of Shah Safi and Shah Sulaiman, the Safavid monarchs, which later on have been expanded and repaired under other Safavid kings.
The present remains consist of two suffehs known as Shah Abbassi and Fath Ali Shahi, a structure called Karim Khani, and its famous bathing-house
In a part of the park, a building has been museum is housed.
The Shah Abbassi suffeh is actually a two-story building which is situated almost at the centre of the park facing the impressive portal.
At the center of the suffeh, there is a beautiful pool. Upon the walls and on the ceiling of the suffeh, traces of Safavid color paintings can be seen.
These paintings include views of hunting-grounds, portraits of princes, etc
The frieze of the suffeh is of marble, of which only some fragments have survived. The other covered suffeh, known as Fath Ali Shahi has been constructed in A.H. 1226 (A.D. 1811), and in the interior of this structure, these exist some paintings depicting different sceneries as well as a plaster inscription in Nastaliq script. Most of the verses included in it have disappeared.
About Ali Mosque in Esfahan province
The minaret of Masjid-i `Ali is also one of the minarets of the Seljukid period, built entirely of brick and bearing four inscription friezes in the Kufic calligraphic style. Of these, one is of brick and the rest, of enameled blue tiles. The minaret is over 40 meters high.
The original construction of the mosque dates back to the Saljukid epoch, having, later on, been repaired under the Safavid.
The portal inscription of the mosque is in (thulth) style with golden characters, and is by Shams al-Din of Tabriz.
It indicates that the Seljukid Masjid-i Ali had fallen in ruins and had remained so until the reign of the Safavid Shah Ismail who ordered and completed its reconstruction by a certain Mirza Kamal al-Din (929 A.H. = 1522 A.D.).
In the eastern and western ivans of the mosque, there are also two more inscriptions dated 974 and 1013 A.H. (1566 and 1604 A.D.) respectively. As regards the construction of the mosque, its architectural techniques, superb ornamentation, numerous ivans, impressive prayer hall, brick cupola with stalactite decorations inside, beautiful tileworks, and multi-styled inscriptions, make it one of Isfahan`s important and rare historic mosques.
About Agha Bozorg School in Esfahan province
This ancient structure has four porches and a beautiful dome with two tile worked minarets. Its courtyard and chambers that are on a lower level display an attractive aspect. Below these chambers are is the pool and nocturnal area made use of in summer.
The dome is built on an octagonal platform and is doubly covered. The lower covering bears the weight of the ceiling, conducting it to the pillars, and the other is the outer covering which aids in making the dome look larger. Skylights have been affixed to the dome, along with religious versus around the dome have provided a harmonious connection between the different sections of the structure.
The ceilings of the western and winter nocturnal areas are of plaster, which have been designed on simple lines besides which is the library.
The porches display intricate tile work, indicating the traditional art and culture of this land and the tombs of several trustees can be noted in the western porch. This structure was constructed in the year 1268 AH
About Abyaneh in Esfahan province
Abyaneh is a beautiful village 70 km. to the southeast of Kashan. This is a village of living traditions, architectural styles, and probably the most interesting example of human adaptation to nature.
The village is compact, with narrow and sloped lanes, and houses located on the slope as if placed on a stairway. Here, the roofs of some houses used to serve as the courtyard for other houses higher up on the slope. There are a good number of Islamic and Zoroastrian buildings in the village, all worth a careful visit.
Located on the northwestern slope of Karkas Mount and 28 km distant from Natanz, Abyaneh enjoys a mild climate. The customs and traditions of the people as well as the buildings in Abyaneh afford a good picture of old Iran. The UNESCO has registered Abyaneh as a historical village.
About Chehel Dokhtaran tower in Esfahan province
Built in A.D. 1107-8, this is the only remians of an old mosque that nowaday is vanished.
Don't visit only the Emam Square. If you take a back exit from one of the bazaars there, you will suddenly end in a completely other scenery. It's the real old town, where only few people live.