A 2,500-year-old city and Persia's capital from 1598 to 1722. Although the elevation is 4,900 ft/1,500 m, the terrain is relatively flat. Population (1991) 1,127,050.
Esfahan was renowned in former times for its architectural grandeur and the beauty of its public gardens. Esfahan is a city for walking, getting lost in the bazaar, dozing in beautiful gardens and meeting people. Isfahan is filled with old gardens and some of the best sights in Iran.
Esfahan's golden age began in 1598 when Abbas I, shah of Iran, made it the national capital. Under his patronage the city attained the peak of its growth, commercial prosperity, and architectural splendor. According to an unofficial estimate the population then numbered at least 500,000. Invading Afghans captured Esfahan in 1722. The Afghans were expelled in 1729.
The city's stunning blue-tiled mosques are some of the most beautiful in the world. Especially notable are the colorful Chahar Bagh Mosque, the 17th-century Friday Mosque, the Shah osque (intricate tilework) and the Sheikh Lotfullah Mosque (spectacular 140-ft/43-m dome).
The city is known for its silver filigree, metal work and (within Iran) dishonest merchants (be sure to count your change).
In the predominantly Armenian section (New Julfa), visit the Vank Cathedral, a camel mill, the interesting Jewish Quarter and a covered market/bazaar (Quaisariyeh) -- all set amid numerous streams. Other sights include the Shah, or Royal, Square (Maidan-i-Shah); Zoroastrian Fire Temple; 16th-century Ali Qapu high gate; palaces (the Great Palace of Shah Abbas, in particular); and bridges (especially the Shahrestan, Khaju and Seeyo-So-Pol). The enormous "Flower Garden of the Martyrs," a cemetery for soldiers killed in the war with Iraq, gives an idea of the incredible toll that war took on the country.
manufacturers of Gazz (Persian Nougat): shiringazz.com
Universities: ui.ac.ir - Isfahan University of Technology (iut.ac.ir)
Esfahan is about 400km (250mi) south of Tehran (Iran).
Major Cities near Isfahan:
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