Travel to Isfahan

Isfahan, half of the world
What does it mean, when you say Isfahan, “half of the world”?

Isfahan, known as “half of the world” is one of the most popular touristy cities of Iran. So many people from Iran and from all over the world come to visit Isfahan each year.
Isfahan is a historic city in center of Iran. The capital of Isfahan province is Isfahan. It is the third biggest and most populous city of Iran after Tehran and Mashhad. It is also the one hundred and sixty-fifth most populous city of the world and the ninth most populous city of western Asia.
Isfahan metropolis is also considered as the eighteenth most populous metropolis of the Middle East. Isfahan became the capital city of Iran between 1050 to 1722.AD when Safavian was ruling the country. Since then, Isfahan developed a lot. There are so many monuments in Isfahan some of which are recorded in UNESCO as Iran cultural heritage. The city is famous for its beautiful Islamic architecture, indoor bridges, unique mosques and minarets. Because of having all these attractions, Isfahan is known as “half of the world”. Isfahan and Rasht joined the words creative cities network in december2015 under the supervision of UNESCO. According to UNESCO Standards a creative city is defined as a city which applies its resident’s creativity and abilities in Sustainable Urban Development. Naqsh-e Jahan Square is an outstanding example of Islamic architecture in Isfahan.
Esfahan has 15 urban areas. Among other historical monuments of Isfahan we can mention:
• Menar Jonban
• Si-o-se-pol
• Khaju Bridge
• Chehel Sotoun
• Ali Qapu
There are also many other historical monuments in Isfahan.
Among the active industries in Isfahan are the big factories:
• Mobarakeh Steel
• Isfahan Steel Company.

The gold industry in Isfahan has the largest workshops and largest gold mill of Iran. Isfahan’s numerous handicrafts have long been one of the foundations of Isfahan’s economy.

Naqsh-e Jahan Square is one of the biggest and most beautiful squares of the world. With 160 meters wide and 560 meters long Naqsh-e Jahan Square has four historical monuments in:
• Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque
• Imam mosque
• Qeysarie Gate
• Ali Qapu
There are 200 two-floor chambers in Naqsh-e Jahan Square and travelers come to visit this square and do some shopping meanwhile. When Safavian chose Isfahan as the capital city, Naqsh-e Jahan Square was built. It was on that time when imam mosque, Sheikh Lotfollah mosque and Qeysarie Gate were also built. On that time, competitions and matches such as polo and Qapvqandazy were held there. Soldiers were also marching in this square. In Qajar time some parts of this square were neglected and destroyed. But in Pahlavi time and after the victory of the Islamic Revolution of iran the Naqsh-e Jahan Square was repaired. This square was registered in Iran’s National Heritage List in 8 Bahman 1313.

Ali Qapu Palace
Ali Qapu is in Naqsh-e Jahan Square in front of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque. It can be called a masterpiece of Safavid architecture. When the capital city was move from Qazvin to Esfahan, the king’s important appointments were held there. Ali Qapu has six floors each of that has its specific decorations. Ali Qapu means “the large gate”. We can call this palace the main entrance of other palaces that were built in the Safavid era around Naqsh-e Jahan Square.
There is a hall in the sixth floor of this palace which is called the “sound room”. This room is built in a way that remove any extra reverberation from voices and makes voices clear and audible like what happens in studious. In this place all voices are audible clearly all over the hall. This hall is decorated with so beautiful and eye catching stucco in the forms of cups and different shapes.
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is other memorial of Safavian which was built in Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan. It took 18years to build this mosque. This mosque was built to honor Sheikh Lotfollah Ameli. It is located in the east side of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square in front of Ali Qapu and close to Imam Mosque.
The dome of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is built on several high indented arch. Outdoor and indoor parts of the dome is decorated with tiles. The arches are high enough to be seen from Naqsh-e Jahan Square. The tiles of the dome of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is among the most masterful and most beautiful tilework of Iranian architecture. The Alter of the mosque is another unique and admirable beauty of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque. The door of the mosque is built in a way that can be turned in 45-degree which is called “Pashneh” by architectures.
Imam mosque
Imam mosque of Isfahan is also called Masjed-e Jameh Abbasi. This mosque was built in Safavieh time in south of Imam Square. Imam mosque is a masterpiece of architecture, tilework and carpentry of 11th century. There are some inscriptions on its main door. Soleimanie and Naseri schools are located on two sides of the mosque courts. These two schools were built in Safavieh time. Sine one of these schools were rebuilt in Nasreddin Shah Qajar era, it is called Naseri School. In this school some commands of king Abbas are written on stone slabs. In central part of the south dome voices are reflected. Imam mosque was registered in National Iranian Heritage List in 15 Dey 1310 as number 107.
Qeysarie Gate
Qeysarie Gate is in northern Naqsh-e Jahan Square in front of Imam Mosque. This gate was also built in Safavieh era. In the past, Qeysarie Gate had three floors, but today the third floor which was Naghareh Khaneh (where dates were announced) is destructed. Qeysarie Gate moves you forward to The Grand Bazaar of Isfahan. This gate is built according to the patterns of another building in Gheisarieh, so it is given this name. There are some paintings on the main door of Qeysarie Gate. In these paintings royal and European hunting grounds are drawn. In total, Qeysarie Gate includes courtyard, Naghareh Khaneh, Zarrabkhaneh and royal caravanserai. It attracts so many tourists. Qeysarie Gate was registered in National Iranian Heritage List in 15 Dey 1310 as number 103.
Hasht Behesht
Hasht Behesht was also built in Safavids era. The kings were living in this palace at the end of this dynasty. Hasht Behasht is located in the large and so beautiful garden Naqsh-e Jahan, and was first built by Shah Isma’il I. This octagonal palace is made up of two floors and has four views, none of each are like the other. It seems that the north view is the main view of the building, but the pool on the eastern side shows that the main view is on this side. In the middle of the hall of the palace, there is an octagonal marble pool, called the pearl pond. The windows and doors of the building are well furnished and makes the building so beautiful. Hasht Behesht palace was registered in National Iranian Heritage List in 22 Azar 1313 as number 227
Chehel Sotoun
Chehel Sotoun garden is one of the most beautiful attractions of Esfahan and almost everyone knows this place. This garden comprise an area of 67000m2 and it took many years to build it. On past time this garden was called “the garden of the world”. At first, Shah Abbas built a palace in a form of pergolas which was the initial form of the Chehel Sotoun. This garden is located on the Imam Hossein square in Ostandari Street of Isfahan.
Chehel Sotoun has twenty pillars, but the reflection of the pillars on the water of the pond in front of it has made the building known as “Chehel Sotoun”. Some historians believe that the palace that King Abbas II built had forty pillars, but only twenty pillars remained in the fire of 1118 AH. Mirrors, wall paintings and wooden columns are among the most beautiful beauty of this palace. The windows and doors are also inlaid and decorated in a way that represent the authentic Iranian art. The Safavid rulers welcome guests and foreigners in the palace’s central hall.
Jameh Mosque of Isfahan or Jāme’ Mosque of Isfahān
Jameh Mosque of Isfahan is one of the oldest religious architectural complexes of Iran. This mosque is regarded as the oldest historical building of Isfahan. The present appearance of the mosque is mainly related to what was made in the Seljuk period, but its repairs and extensions are related to later periods, especially the Safavid era. Though archaeological excavations return to the works of the Albury period and the third century AH. In these excavations, pre-Islamic works have also been discovered.
Jameh Mosque of Isfahan, which is also known as Atigh Jame’ Mosque of Isfahan, is located on Ghiam Square, in Allameh Majlesi Street in Isfahan. In other words, it is located in the old part of Isfahan, in the West Side of Hatif Street and at the end of the Great Bazar. Generally, as Naqsh-e Jahan and the surrounding historical buildings reminiscent of the architecture and art of the Safavid era, Jameh Mosque and the neighborhoods around it describe the myth of life in the Seljuk era and its predecessors.
Menar Jonban
Menar Jonban is also one of the other monuments that attracts tourists to Isfahan. Amou Abdullah Karladani who was a mystic is buried in Menar Jonban. On his grave stone is written “died in 716 AH. This date coincided with the reign of Sultan Muhammad Khodabandeh Al-Ja’ito Ilkhan. The Shape of Menar Jonban is in the form of a tombstone and it has two minarets; each of these minarets is 7.5 meters high, and what makes them distinct from other minarets is that they shake. As one minaret shakes, both the other minaret and the whole building shake. The reason for this phenomenon was long unknown, but one reasons may be the physical phenomenon called “exacerbation” or “Doppler effect “. Because the two minarets are similar and very light, so if one of them shakes, the other one shakes too.
The researchers attributed the existence of this building to the Ilkhan era, but the shape of the minarets is in a way that it seems they were installed to the walls during the Safavid period. It was registered in the National Iranian Heritage List in 20 Khordad 1321 as number 349.
Chaharbagh School

Chaharbagh School of Isfahan is one of the historical schools in Isfahan, also known as the Soltani School or the Madar Shah School. This building could be called the last historical monument of the Safavid era (the era of the last king of Sufi, King Sultan Hussein). This school was for religious scholars. It took 10 years to build this school (from 1116 to 1126 AH). It is located on the eastern side of Chaharbagh Street.
The Chaharbagh School, which is said that was a mosque in past time, comprise an area of850m2. The school has a very beautiful tile, and is decorated with gold and silver, and it is a masterpiece of its kind. On the eastern side of the school, there is a caravanserai. About three centuries ago, it was a place for passengers to stay. The caravanserai’s name was “Maadar Shah Caravanserai”. But today it has become a guesthouse called Abbasi Guest House and it can be regarded as one of the best and most exclusive resorts in Isfahan. This building was registered in Iran National Heritage List in 15 Dey 1310 as number 116.

Bird Garden of Isfahan

the birds garden of Isfahan is one of the most spectacular bird gardens of Iran. It comprise an area of 55000 m2 and contains about 4000 parts. Around 130 species of birds are held in this beautiful garden. This garden is located 4 km away from west of Vahid Bridge of Isfahan. It was built in 1375.SH by the municipality of this city. The beautiful interior side of the garden, in addition to meet the environmental requirements of the birds, has also created a spectacular environment for visitors. A lace ceiling of 40,000m2 is made on this garden, it is installed on 16-pillar columns with a height of 22 to 25 meters.
There are 4 lakes in the bird garden of Isfahan, where they hold birds like ducks, swans, geese and etc. there are also some rocks to host mountainous and desert birds. You can find Quebec there. In this garden, birds depending on the type and their living conditions, are fitted with glass and iron cages, and some birds are also free to live in the greenery of the forest throughout the garden.

Fire temple of Isfahan

Fire temple of Isfahan, or Atashgah Mountain of Isfahan, is another historical monument of Isfahan which is left from ancient Iran. Its original name was “MehrBin” or “MehrBin Castle” or “Mehrbin Fire temple”. Located in Atashgah Street in the west of Isfahan and 8 km from central part of the city. It is in the mountains near Zayanderud. Its hills are made from sedimentary rocks. The building is earthen, and a thin layer of straw is placed between the two rows of clay to strengthen the building.
On the basement of this building, in the past, there were rooms that are destroyed today. On top of the hill, it is said that Zoroastrian priests placed sacred fire inside. In Pahlavi dynasty, the fire temple have been repaired and restored. Atashgah mountain of Isfahan was registered in Iran National Heritage List in 11 Azar 1330 as number 380.
Isfahan, with its ancient history, has always been considered very important by the great rulers of the country. It has therefore many historical monuments. Zayandehrud is in the heart of Isfahan, and it caused the construction of many places such as Si-o-se-pol and Khaju Bridge.


Si-o-se-pol, also known as Allahverdi Khan Bridge, has 33 spans and was built on the Zayandehrud River during the reign of Shah Abbas Safavi. The bridge dates back to 1008 AH and three years later from this date, Allahvardi Khan Ondiladze Gorji was ordered to finish building the bridge. During the Safavid period, Si-o-se-pol was the place in which the Abpashan and Khajshouyan (for Armenians) events were celebrated. Si-o-se-pol can be regarded as one of the best bridges in the world and a masterpiece of Iran and Safavid architecture. It is not possible if anyone comes to Isfahan and leave the city without visiting Si-o-se-pol in the heart of Isfahan. Si-o-se-pol is 295 meters long and 14 meters wide. It was registered in National Iranian Heritage List in 15 Dey 1310 as number 110.

Khaju Bridge

The Khaju Bridge, with 24 openings is on the eastern side of Si-o-se-pol, on the Zayandehrud River. It is said that the bridge was built in 1060 AH, during the reign of Shah Abbas II. In the middle of this bridge, there was a special building (known as BigerBiki) for the temporary residence of the Safavid king and his family. The length of the Khaju Bridge is 133 meters and its width is 12 meters. It also has very beautiful architecture and tiles.
Khaju Bridge has also several names, but since it is located in a place with the same name, it is mostly known as Khaju Bridge. In the corners of the eastern side of the bridge, there are two stone lions, and they are said to be a symbol of the Bakhtiari armies who were protecting Isfahan and Zayandehrud. This bridge was registered in National Iranian Heritage List in 15 Dey 1310 as number 111.

Vank Cathedral

The Vank Cathedral or Kelisā ye Āmenāperkičis is located in the Jolfa neighborhood of Isfahan and is one of the Armenian historical churches in the city. The church was built on an area of 8731m2 under the reign of Shah Abbas II. The church building only occupies 3857m2 of the total space, and the rest is the garden and Vank yard. The church bell tower has 3 floors and in the second floor there is a clock of 300kg. The dome of this church is built like a dome of Iranian mosques in contemporary time. On the walls, arch, dome, and inside the dome, are some paintings such as oil paintings and gilding for decorating the church. These decorations and designs are unique among other Armenian churches. The Vanak Church of Isfahan was registered in National Iranian Heritage List in 15 Dey 1310 as number 85.

Flower Garden of Isfahan

Flower Garden of Isfahan is a large recreational, cultural, educational and research complex in the southeastern border of Bozorgmehr Square, near the Zayanderroud River. This garden includes rocky gardens, Iranian garden, medicinal plants garden, Rose Garden, fountains, lakes, Amphitheater in campus, haw collection, Persian Carpet Design and so on. You can see the genuine Iranian architecture in this garden, as the ancient Iranian gardening patterns are used to make this garden. If you want to visit Isfahan, do not forget to visit the Flower Garden of Isfahan and enjoy watching the natural beauty of it.

Sarouyeh Castle of Esfahan

Sariyeh Castle, is also known as Kohandezh and Ashraf Hill, is located next to the city bridge and the northern side of Zayandehrud. It is said that a lot of books were kept in this building. In the Arab attacks to Iran it was destroyed, and today some parts of it remain in form of hills which is called Tapeh Ashraf (Ashraf Hills). Some historians attribute the monument age to Tahmours, the third king of the Pishdadian dynasty. But others believe that this building was built in the Vishtaspa period by kings of Kiani. This castle was registered in National Iranian Heritage List in 26 Aban 1375 as number 1770.

Narvojan Aquarium of Esfahan

Narvojan aquarium tunnel of Isfahan, as the first and the largest aquarium tunnel in the country, has been constructed in partnership with a foreign investor at an altitude of less than 6 meters underground. This tunnel includes 33 aquariums. Different species of aquatic fish, freshwater fish and sea stars from the five oceans of the world are exposed to the visitors in this aquarium. This collection includes 33 aquarium 5 to 10 meters. It contains the 1080 cubic meters of water in it. Visitors can see the most beautiful and rare marine species alongside and above their heads and experience being in the ocean space.

Isfahan Souvenir

Isfahan has many different souvenirs such as:
Sweets: Gaz, Poolaki, Candy, Fereydun Shahr honey, Bareshtook, Rice bread, Sweets, Jose Ghandi, Sohan Asali
Handicrafts: inlaid handmade products, , handmade printed cottons, handmade fancywork, etc.