Once the glorious capital of Safavid dynasty and a true jewel of Persian culture, Isfahan fell victim of neglect. However, it came to notice once again and new generation hopes to rebuild its fame and popularity. In spite of being ages away from old capital’s glory days in 17th century, some of the monuments still retained their former splendor.
When is the best time to travel to Isfahan?
If you have time on hand, we recommend a trip out of the season. You can get the most out of your stay in Isfahan; while traveling in-season may lead to hours of wasting time in lines and missing the real feeling of the place due the pile of visitors blocking your way. In the 17th century, the city’s rich art works and wealth gave rise to the Iranian saying that “Isfahan is half the world”.
In order to revive the national economy, Shah Abbas I, made the decision to move the capital from Qazvin to Isfahan. He effectively re-routed the Silk Road through Isfahan and made the city his capital so that his empire would enjoy a trading monopoly.
The city’s modest river of Zayanderud is a vital to Isfahan’s vibrant nights. It flows slowly in city’s veins and doubles the beauty of its lavish bridges Si-o-Se pol and Khaju, two very important old bridges not only in Isfahan but in Iran.
Naghsh-e Jahan square
How many squares can you name to resemble a masterpiece in art, architecture, mathematics and creativity? They may be less than one hand’s fingers. If you get the chance to travel to Isfahan, will manage to visit one of these masterstrokes, Naqsh-e Jahan square. From four sides, four monuments embraced the vast yard which was once a great arena for polo; players to show and boast about their ability before Persian empire, shah Abbas.
Mind-blowing mosques, meaningful architecture decorated intricately by colorful textiles, Sheikh lotf-ol-lah and Shah (Imam) mosques together with the 5-story residential palace of Aliqapu and a magnificent entrance to a vast bazaar brimmed with unique and lavish Isfahan handicrafts, leave you speechless. Designers of Acoustic walls of Aliqapu tried to respect the others privacy whenever Shah had a gathering in which music was a necessity. Admiration is the only thing every person can express after visiting this man-made wonder.
What to see in Isfahan?
You should visit the city in a relaxed pace in order to fully absorb enough dose of Persian art and culture and get inspired by them. Chehel Sotoun palace and Jameh Mosque are another examples of this glory and majesty of art, meaning and inspiration.
Safavid dynasty’s footprints are obvious everywhere in the city. According to historians he relocated the Armenians from the city of Julfa; who controlled much of the Persian end of a bustling international silk trade route, to a neighborhood in Isfahan called New Julfa and gave them the monopoly on silk exports. Jolfa district still kept its own distinctive lifestyle. Streets are lined with cafe shops and restaurants and some of the most important churches in Iran such as Vank cathedral host many pilgrims from in and outside of Isfahan.
Where to stay in Isfahan?
If you intend to unpack your luggage in Isfahan in your next travel destination; you have to shake a leg and book your hotel as soon as you made up your mind. Unlike other big cities in Iran, Isfahan hotels are less available most of the time specially 4 or 5 stars; specifically, when you have a taste for hotels and are going to stay in spectacular Abbasi Hotel. If you spend enough time searching, you can pick cheap flights to Isfahan. You also can find hotels in a cost effective prices.
What to eat?
You can buy crafts and find gourmet restaurants in Isfahan. You have to be an Isfahani to understand the real joy of eating Dough and Gooshfil together (a mixture of sweet and sour tastes). Don’t miss their local Sweets such as Gaz and Poulaki or traditional foods like Beryani and Khoresht Mast.
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