Esfahan Things to Do

  • School group huddle
    School group huddle
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    Marshalling the troops
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    C h a a a r g e!!
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Most Recent Things to Do in Esfahan

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    Masjed-e imam

    by call_me_rhia Updated Jun 28, 2008
    Masjed-e imam

    Imam Mosque - Masjed-e imam - is definitely the most beautiful mosque you can see in Isfahan - its location (right off Imam square) and its stunning architecture make it just perfect. There's a huge gate covered in tiles of all hues of blue and green, and two turquoise minarets - one on each side of the gate... then you enter the open-air prayer hall and see the main dome. The general impression is that of total harmony, but if you look closely at the decorations, you will notice that they were made in two completely different styles.

    This mosque was built in 26 years in the early 17th century, under the Shah Abbas I od the Safavid dinasty - and it took such a short time to be completed because the original decorative style was abandoned. Let me explain: at the beginning the green and blue floral decorations were complex mosaics that took one artist and a long time to make - then, to save time, it was decided that ornate tiles (that looked like mosaics) would be used - so that more than one artist could be employed.

    This mosque is referred to - occasionally - as the male mosque of imama square.

    Masjed-e imam appears on the cover of the 4th edition of the Lonelt Planet guide on Iran.

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    Masjed-e ali

    by call_me_rhia Updated Jun 28, 2008
    Masjed-e ali, minareth

    Masjed-e ali, Ali mosque - which we could see constantly from our guesthouse, Dibai house... a tall delightful minareth opposte the Mausoleum of Haroun Vilayat - both closed when we visited. Ali mosque is a very old one buit under the reign of built under Sultan Sanjar.

    Don't expect arabesques or stuning tilework - what dominates this small mosque is some really exquisite seljuk brickwork (basically prominent bricks laid out in patterns) - very elegant in its geometrical forms but easy-to-miss as it is not as eye-catching as blue and green tiles.

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    Masjed-e jameh

    by call_me_rhia Updated Jun 28, 2008
    Masjed-e jameh
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    Masjed-e jameh - the Friday mosque... a stunning mosque in Isfahan, which allows you to see 400 years of Iranian art and architecture when you visit it. In the oldest part, as you enter to the left, you can see how earthquakes have damaged the structure and some of the walls and pillars are now leaning.

    The mosque has 4 large and decorated iwans and many little rooms to visit - but what really is different is that fact that in the middle of the courtyard there's a little building wanting to resemble the holy Kabba in Mecca... the reason is simple: people leaving on their haji pilgrimage could come here and practice their ritual prayers correctly before setting off for Saudi Arabia.

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    Madreseye Chahar Bagh

    by call_me_rhia Updated Jun 26, 2008
    Madreseye Chahar Bagh

    Madreseye Chahar Bagh is located on Chahar Bagh street, which means “Four Gardens” - but it is also known as Shah school. It was built in the 16-17th century during the reign of the Safavid King Hossein - of course as a theological school. This school was free of charge - but money was needed to run it - so King Hossein's mother had a brilliant idea: she built a large caravanserrail right nearby and used the income from it to finannce the school.

    The school is still in use today - as a school; and the caravanserrail, too - but not as a caravanserrail: it's the 5 star Abbasi hotel, which doesn't belong to the madrassa anymore (and that's why you pay 30000 rials on entrace). The madrassa is very beautiful and interesting to visit - although you can only visit the central courtyard and obviously not the students' rooms: You enter though a monumental gate and pass under a domed octagonal vestibule - both decorated with colourful tiles; then you reach the central court with its pool and garden, and can see where the students' rooms are - in the two-levelled arcades.

    Shah Abbas avenue
    Madreseye Chahar Bagh is located on Chahar Bagh street, which means “Four Gardens” - but it is also known as Shah school. It was built in the 16-17th century during the reign of the Safavid King Hossein - of course as a theological school. This school was free of charge - but money was needed to run it - so King Hossein's mother had a brilliant idea: she built a large caravanserrail right nearby and used the income from it to finannce the school.

    The school is still in use today - as a school; and the caravanserrail, too - but not as a caravanserrail: it's the 5 star Abbasi hotel, which doesn't belong to the madrassa anymore. The madrassa is very beautiful and interesting to visit - although you can only visit the central courtyard and obviously not the students' rooms: You enter though a monumental gate and pass under a domed octagonal vestibule - both decorated with colourful tiles; then you reach the central court with its pool and garden, and can see where the students' rooms are - in the two-levelled arcades.

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    Bazar-e Bozorg

    by call_me_rhia Updated Jun 26, 2008
    colourful spices
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    The Bazar-e Bozorg turned out to be one of my favorite sights in Isfahan - and no, it's not the touristy vaulted bazar that runs around Imamps square. It's the one around the Jameh Mosque - where local people go shopping... for spices, for food, for clothes and even for 2living" birds and chickens.

    Some parts of this bazar are older than 1000 years - and it's great to get lost in there... narrow lanes, madrassas, caravanserails and a lor more... in particular friendly people and helpful salesmen and saleswomen. The bazar is laid out in areas - so you'll need to find the area you're interested in, in my case spices and nuts - and then just savour the atmosphere.

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    Chehel Sotun

    by call_me_rhia Updated Jun 25, 2008
    painting, Chehel Sotun
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    Chehel Sotun is a beautiful palace surrounded by a large garden which used to be a reception hall during Shah Abbas I and II of the Safavid dinasty. There's also the usual typical Iranian long pool right in front of the palace - and this fountain is very important as it has to do with the palace name: Chehel Sotun - 40 colums. The palce, in fact, boasts only 20 of them, while the "missing" 20 are those reflected in the pool.

    This palace is particularly knowns for its fine paintings on the walls - both inside and outside: there are hunting scenes and scenes from war squares and entertainment parties of Safavid Kings. What is really interesting is that fact that these paintings show both animals and men/women - and some are very little "dressed" if not exactly half-naked. - which would be against the Qu'ran's teaching which forbids the portrayal of human forms

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    Cafe Latte in Armenia quarter

    by Sambawalk Written Jun 14, 2008

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    Coffee time IR24,000 (May 08)
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    Why travel so hurry? Sit down and have a cup of cafe Latte after completed sight-seeing in armenia quarter. This Armen coffee shop is quite trendy and I enjoyed this moment. Cafe Latte IR24,000 (May 2008).

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    Picnic in Iman Square

    by Sambawalk Written Jun 14, 2008

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    Picnic

    After a hurry day, there is no place like Imam square where you can sit and rest on the grassland and enjoy some family time. For single traveller, a place to rest and meet the Iranians to have a good chat.

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    THE FIRE TEMPLE

    by DAO Updated Jun 3, 2008

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    The Fire Temple is set on a very steep hill overlooking Esfahan and was built during the reign of Xerxes (BC 465-425) by followers of the ancient Zoroastrian faith. Locally known as ‘Atashgah’ it has commanding views of the area and is quite a hard climb up. Intrepid visitors are rewarded with some incredible walls, buildings and the temple itself on the summit. Fire was holy to Zoroastrians and they ranked fires to their uses. The fires of craftsmen where considered lesser than hearth (warmth & cooking) fires for example. At the summit of fires were 3 ‘eternal fires’ located in different cities to honour priests, warriors, and farmers.

    Admission? The gate was open and I never saw anyone. Go for it. There was a ticket office, but no one was inside.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Study Abroad
    • Historical Travel

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    Imam sq.: Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque (interior)

    by hydronetta Written Apr 21, 2008

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    Behind the entrance starts an unimpressive dim lit corridor which leads to the glorious prayer hall, which is a great contrast made I am sure on purpose to impress. The prayer hall has a square plan and the walls end up to circular dome covering all the area. This resembles the transition from earth to heaven. The dome of the hall is certainly majestic in every term and certainly causes admiration to anyone gazzing the place. With yellow color dominating the tiles take the form of sun, while the rest of the walls are in mainly blue colors. Both interior and exterior surfaces bear calligraphic inscriptions made of mosaic
    The dome is 32m high and 12m in diameter, supported by thick walls. Small windows at the dome bell allows sufficient amount of light to enter the prayer hall in order to create a more magical atmosphere.

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    Imam sq.: Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque (exterior)

    by hydronetta Written Apr 21, 2008

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    This splendid mosque is located in the eastern side or Imam square just opposite to Ali Qapu Palace (from its balcony you can take excellent photos of it). Named after a famous Shiite preacher, it was built during the times of Shah Abbas I the Great (1527-1629)
    What makes this mosque unique is that it doesn’t follow the usual architectural style of a typical mosque: It lacks a courtyard and a minaret. The entrance is elevated. The façade is asymmetrical when compared to dome. The dome itself has a dominant pinkish color (adding extra charm at the time of sunset) with the blue shades found only on the drum and the far top. Throughout the Safavid period it served as a private and not public mosque for the shah’s harem (story telling that there was a secret passage leading from harem to the mosque).
    The entrance to the mosque (see additional photo) is marvelously decorated in mainly blue, green and yellow.

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    Rajai Park

    by hydronetta Written Apr 21, 2008

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    It is a very pleasant and leisure walk from Hasht Behesht Palace to Imam square (and nearby sights) as for most of the distance you walk through Rajai Park which is an oasis of greenery (trees, grass, flowers) mostly appreciated on a hot day. A lot of people come here for a walk or to play a game of chess and it’s a great spot to sit down and observe daily life passing by…

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    Hasht Behesht Palace (part II)

    by hydronetta Written Apr 21, 2008

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    The palace has a square shape. After a while entering the palace you find yourself in a central area dominated by a central pool and above you a marvelous ceiling richly decorated. The rest of the building is a labyrinth of small rooms rectangular or octagonal in shape interrupted by verantas (the northern and the southern boast a pool too). You can discover some areas nicely painted but your sight will be focused mainly on the decorative treasures in the upper floor which unfortunately by the time we were there was inaccessible due to restorations.
    Our guidebook says that the rooms on the upper floor were guarded by eunuchs and each room was locked by double frame doors. All rooms had automatic regulated temperature according to outer conditions!!!
    The most exquisite work could be seen on the upper floor of the palace which unluckily could not be reached for close observation as at the time we visited it there was ongoing renovation

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    Hasht Behesht Palace (part I)

    by hydronetta Written Apr 21, 2008

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    The royal palace of Hasht Behesht located in the garden of Nightngale (Bagh-e Bolbol), nowadays in Rajai park, dates from mid 17th century, during the Shah Soleiman Safavid but was refashioned in the 19th century. Since then holds the present name of Hasht Behesht which means “Eight Paradises”. Stories say that this name derived from the fact that the Shah’s son kept in this palace eight concubines whose beauty could only be compared to that of angels of paradise (…lucky him!) Though at the height of its glory the palace ranked among the most magnificent in the world as it had very exquisite decorations, today little reminds of its glorious past. Zel al-Sultan decided that he wanted to change everything according to his taste. This has left a lot of work nowadays to the archaeologists to uncover the former splendor and carefully restore it.

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    Sunset at Si-o-Se Bridge

    by hydronetta Written Apr 21, 2008

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    One of my fondest memories in Esfahan is the sunset in Si-o-She bridge. Visit it specially on a weekend and you’ll see a lot of people sitting at the edge of the bridge enjoying the sunset colors, watching action taking place around the riverbanks and in the river. A very romantic place for couples as well.

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Esfahan Things to Do

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