Isfahan Half of the World

The famous adage in European travelogues “Isfahan is half of the world” expresses the peak of development in Isfahan during the Safavid period (1501-1736). This adage came to be when Shah Abbas, the Safavid king, expanded Isfahan by creating large immigrant settlements known as Jolfa and Tabrizian neighborhoods. In the late 17th century, the French jeweler and traveler John Chardin maintained that the population of Isfahan almost equaled that of London, the largest city in Europe. The origin of the name of Isfahan attests to its antiquity, “Aspadana” which means “Army base” in Greek, which was named in the 1st AD in Ptolemy’s history.

 

Isfahan also became the great capital of the Seljuks in the 11th and 12th centuries, when it was called the “spirit of the world”.  Based on historical records, Isfahan consisted of two areas, “Jay” or “Gay” (Shahrestan) and Judea, and the earliest relics of Isfahan are in the “Jay” region, which date from the Parthian period to the Islamic period.  Isfahan’s Sassanid Fire Temple, situated on top of a beautiful mountain, belongs to the pre-Islamic era. Isfahan expanded during the early Islamic period around the Jameh Mosque and the Atiq Square. According to Italian archeologists, Isfahan’s Friday Mosque (Masjed-e-Jameh), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is considered a museum of a thousand years of Persian religious architecture.

 

During the Safavid period, the development of Isfahan continued further around the Naghsh-e-Jahan Square, another UNESCO site. Shah Abbas the Great’s intention was to create a place reminiscent of the Garden of Eden and Paradise. The Naqsh-e-Jahan Square became the center of this utopic city, and the beautiful Zayandeh-Rud River played an essential role in this development and its Chaharbaghs (the four gardens of heaven mentioned in the Quran). Around this square, three crucial components of the Safavid dynasty are embedded: the Imam Mosque (formerly known as Shah Mosque) and the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, which were the symbols of religion; the Ali Qapu Palace, which represented the Safavid government; and the Qeisarieh Bazaar, which epitomized the strong economy of Iran during the Safavid reign. Isfahan’s stunning architecture impressed European travelers such as Jean-Baptiste Tavernier of France and Don García de Silva Figueroa of Spain and many others have praised the Isfahan of the Safavid period  which was full of beautiful gardens and palaces such as Hasht Behesht pavillion and Chehel-Sotoun Palace (UNESCO World Heritage Site).

 

The unique combination of markets, mosques, baths, inns (caravanserai), and houses in the traditional fabric of Isfahan have created a captivating cultural landscape which draws tourists from all over the world. The beauties of Isfahan have enchanted famous people such as Arthur Upham Pope, the American scientist who wanted his burial to be in Iran. Today, the Pope’s Tomb is next to the Allah Verdi Khan Bridge (Sio-se-pol), which has become a monument in Isfahan.

Isfahan

The famous adage in European travelogues “Isfahan is half of the world” expresses the peak of development in Isfahan during the Safavid period (1501-1736). This adage came to be when Shah Abbas, the Safavid king, expanded Isfahan by creating large immigrant settlements known as Jolfa and Tabrizian neighborhoods. In the late 17th century, the French jeweler and traveler John Chardin maintained that the population of Isfahan almost equaled that of London, the largest city in Europe. The origin of the name of Isfahan attests to its antiquity, “Aspadana” which means “Army base” in Greek, which was named in the 1st AD in Ptolemy’s history.

 

Isfahan also became the great capital of the Seljuks in the 11th and 12th centuries, when it was called the “spirit of the world”.  Based on historical records, Isfahan consisted of two areas, “Jay” or “Gay” (Shahrestan) and Judea, and the earliest relics of Isfahan are in the “Jay” region, which date from the Parthian period to the Islamic period.  Isfahan’s Sassanid Fire Temple, situated on top of a beautiful mountain, belongs to the pre-Islamic era. Isfahan expanded during the early Islamic period around the Jameh Mosque and the Atiq Square. According to Italian archeologists, Isfahan’s Friday Mosque (Masjed-e-Jameh), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is considered a museum of a thousand years of Persian religious architecture.

 

During the Safavid period, the development of Isfahan continued further around the Naghsh-e-Jahan Square, another UNESCO site. Shah Abbas the Great’s intention was to create a place reminiscent of the Garden of Eden and Paradise. The Naqsh-e-Jahan Square became the center of this utopic city, and the beautiful Zayandeh-Rud River played an essential role in this development and its Chaharbaghs (the four gardens of heaven mentioned in the Quran). Around this square, three crucial components of the Safavid dynasty are embedded: the Imam Mosque (formerly known as Shah Mosque) and the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, which were the symbols of religion; the Ali Qapu Palace, which represented the Safavid government; and the Qeisarieh Bazaar, which epitomized the strong economy of Iran during the Safavid reign. Isfahan’s stunning architecture impressed European travelers such as Jean-Baptiste Tavernier of France and Don García de Silva Figueroa of Spain and many others have praised the Isfahan of the Safavid period  which was full of beautiful gardens and palaces such as Hasht Behesht pavillion and Chehel-Sotoun Palace (UNESCO World Heritage Site).

 

The unique combination of markets, mosques, baths, inns (caravanserai), and houses in the traditional fabric of Isfahan have created a captivating cultural landscape which draws tourists from all over the world. The beauties of Isfahan have enchanted famous people such as Arthur Upham Pope, the American scientist who wanted his burial to be in Iran. Today, the Pope’s Tomb is next to the Allah Verdi Khan Bridge (Sio-se-pol), which has become a monument in Isfahan.

Isfahan

The famous adage in European travelogues “Isfahan is half of the world” expresses the peak of development in Isfahan during the Safavid period (1501-1736). This adage came to be when Shah Abbas, the Safavid king, expanded Isfahan by creating large immigrant settlements known as Jolfa and Tabrizian neighborhoods. In the late 17th century, the French jeweler and traveler John Chardin maintained that the population of Isfahan almost equaled that of London, the largest city in Europe. The origin of the name of Isfahan attests to its antiquity, “Aspadana” which means “Army base” in Greek, which was named in the 1st AD in Ptolemy’s history.

 

Isfahan also became the great capital of the Seljuks in the 11th and 12th centuries, when it was called the “spirit of the world”.  Based on historical records, Isfahan consisted of two areas, “Jay” or “Gay” (Shahrestan) and Judea, and the earliest relics of Isfahan are in the “Jay” region, which date from the Parthian period to the Islamic period.  Isfahan’s Sassanid Fire Temple, situated on top of a beautiful mountain, belongs to the pre-Islamic era. Isfahan expanded during the early Islamic period around the Jameh Mosque and the Atiq Square. According to Italian archeologists, Isfahan’s Friday Mosque (Masjed-e-Jameh), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is considered a museum of a thousand years of Persian religious architecture.

 

During the Safavid period, the development of Isfahan continued further around the Naghsh-e-Jahan Square, another UNESCO site. Shah Abbas the Great’s intention was to create a place reminiscent of the Garden of Eden and Paradise. The Naqsh-e-Jahan Square became the center of this utopic city, and the beautiful Zayandeh-Rud River played an essential role in this development and its Chaharbaghs (the four gardens of heaven mentioned in the Quran). Around this square, three crucial components of the Safavid dynasty are embedded: the Imam Mosque (formerly known as Shah Mosque) and the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, which were the symbols of religion; the Ali Qapu Palace, which represented the Safavid government; and the Qeisarieh Bazaar, which epitomized the strong economy of Iran during the Safavid reign. Isfahan’s stunning architecture impressed European travelers such as Jean-Baptiste Tavernier of France and Don García de Silva Figueroa of Spain and many others have praised the Isfahan of the Safavid period  which was full of beautiful gardens and palaces such as Hasht Behesht pavillion and Chehel-Sotoun Palace (UNESCO World Heritage Site).

 

The unique combination of markets, mosques, baths, inns (caravanserai), and houses in the traditional fabric of Isfahan have created a captivating cultural landscape which draws tourists from all over the world. The beauties of Isfahan have enchanted famous people such as Arthur Upham Pope, the American scientist who wanted his burial to be in Iran. Today, the Pope’s Tomb is next to the Allah Verdi Khan Bridge (Sio-se-pol), which has become a monument in Isfahan.

You can share this with :

Comments

Related Tours

Design by Ali Moghadas / 2020