Top 10 Esfahan Tourist Attractions
The vicissitudes of history could not bury the significance of Esfahan. This outstanding past created the arts of Esfahan, an achievement that is the pinnacle of Islamic-Iranian art. A high point that is evidenced by its bridges, mosques, palaces, and gardens, inspired during the Seljuk and Safavid eras.

1-Chahar Bagh Avenue
Once Esfahan was chosen as the capital, the king ordered Maadies to be made in the area of Naqsh-e Jahan Square and the neighboring quarters. They played an important role in keeping the climate pleasant. Chahar Bagh Avenue located amongst the royal gardens with fountains and ponds has for centuries been a favorite visitors' excursion. It was a long street starting at the Jahannama monument in Darvazeh Dolat Roundabout (currently Imam Hossein Roundabout) to the north and heading to the outskirts of the Sofeh Mountain in the south. It was called Chahar Bagh because it was said to have had four vineyards endowed to the mosque along its sides. Shah Abbas paid a perpetual lease for this land at a cost of 200 Tomans each year. (Toman is Iran's currency at the time of the Safavids which nowadays is equal to 10 Rials in the present currency).

Chahar Bagh Avenue

Chahar Bagh Avenue was constructed in 1592 by the fifth Safavid king, Shah Abbas the Great. It was one of Shah Abbas's favorite places in Esfahan to the extent that he would attend the planting of every tree. With a width that was originally 48 m, it was constructed among four rows of trees with stone-made streams. Arches and shops were built along the sides of the street reminding one of the great Naqsh-e Jahan Square. These arches and shops were the walls of the royal gardens such as Bolbol (nightingale), Miveh (fruit), and Behesht-e Barin (Paradise). Beside these arches, there were pavilions and palaces such as the Sarpushideh, Jahannama, and Nastaran, each ornamented with a glorious portal facing Chahar Bagh Avenue. The street was a three-way route; the central stone-paved passage was for caravans and those on horseback. The sideways were decorated with flowers and streams. On Thursdays, the street was closed to the public so that the Shah's harem could enjoy the beauty of the street. Chahar Bagh today has kept its greenery and freshness, although it lacks the atmosphere of Safavid times. Chahar Bagh is the main street of Isfahan today surrounded by shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, and cinemas. It has expanded from both ends and it is now 6 km long in the north-south axis.

Chahar Bagh Avenue - Isfahan

Chahar Bagh has been compared with Champs-Elysees in Paris. The Safavid Chahar Bagh was made up of three sections Chahar Bagh Bala (from Azadi Roundabout to Enghelab Roundabout with a length of 2.3 km), Chahar Bagh Abbasi (from Enghelab Roundabout to Darvazeh Dolat of 1.4 km), and Chahar Bagh Paein (from Darvazeh Dolat Roundabout to Shohada Roundabout of 1.6 km). Chahar Bagh divides the city into eastern and western parts along with the Zayandeh Rud, which naturally divides the city into southern and northern districts creating four districts all of the almost similar size.

2-Naqsh-e Jahan Square
Esfahan had a troubled history but, by the best efforts of Shah Abbas the Great and his skilled artisans, was transformed into the glorious and dignified capital city of the Safavids. The existence of Chahar Bagh Avenue, the Si-o-Se Pol, and Khaju Bridges, and the great square of Naqsh-e Jahan show the majesty of the fifth Safavid king, Shah Abbas the Great. Esfahan was officially chosen to be the capital of the Safavids in 1592, the main reason for this change was the pleasant climate compared to the two former capitals of Tabriz and Qazvin.

Naqsh-e Jahan Square

Square. The rest of the area up to the river Zayandeh Rud was not inhabited. Shah Abbas and all the people in charge, including Maestro Ali Akbar Esfahani changed the urban city structure and expanded the city to the river. The Seljuk fortified city with eight gates was converted to a twelve-gate city in the Safavid era. Along with all these expansions, a symbolic square with representatives of the four main pillars of power was designed and built with integrity and artistic diversity.
It has two axes, the royal (East West) and the popular (north-south), and each axis connects with the mosque. Along the royal axis, Ali Ghapu Palace faces the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, which was reserved for royal households. The longitudinal (popular) axis has the economical pole, namely Gheisarieh Bazaar on one side (north) and the religious pole of this Islamic City, Masjed Jame Abbasi (Emam Mosque), on the other. So monuments of the state, commerce, and religion are encompassed on all four sides of the square.

Naghsh e Jahan the world's oldest polo field

Naqsh-e Jahan or Imam Square

Throughout its history, the square has been used for performing numerous festivals and ceremonies, some governmental and some popular. Polo, fireworks, parades, and national celebrations have taken place here. No trace is now left of the polo field, except for the stone posts which still stand at the north and south ends. The night-time square was once lit by thousands of lanterns and was the haunt of jugglers, fortune-tellers, magicians, and storytellers. Even though it was built from 1592 to 1629 it still functions as the most useful urban square in terms of economic, religious, and governmental affairs. It is a square with a world of patterns and designs of numerous arts wherever the eye alights. UNESCO has recognized Naqsh-e Jahan Square as a world heritage site of culture.

3-Masjed Jame Abbasi
On the southern side of the square stands the magnificent portal of the Masjed Jame Abbasi with its twin flanking minarets. Even after four centuries, this unique phenomenon of fine, delicate art has the power to strike the viewer with awe. The 27 m high portal is predominantly blue and embellished with Haftrang tiles and faience mosaics. The two minarets soar to 42 m in height having decorations of spiral turquoise tiles and Bannaei (masonry) inscriptions. On the portal, there are some inscriptions on the dark blue tile. One of them praises the fourteen immaculate ones. Another inscription reveals the date of the end of the portal's decoration and construction as 1616. The construction of Masjid Jame Abbasi started in 1611 during the 24th year of Shah Abbas's rule and was not completed until after his death.
Under the main arch of the entrance portal and in the middle elevation and left and right sides, are three pairs of peacocks on the faience mosaic. At the base of the portal are two high-relief marble vases from which raised spiral turquoise tiles (symbolizing the Tuba tree of paradise) draw the eye upwards to the apex and infinity.
To reach the courtyard of the mosque the visitor passes through the main door (made of wood from plane trees) and through one of the two cloistered lobbies on the left or right. Only then is it apparent that the architect has not aligned the mosque with the longitudinal axis of the square but at an angle of 45 degrees? The passages cleverly conceal the change in direction that allows the mosque to face Mecca. In the eyes of the visitor, the Masjed Jame Abbasi is clad with a garden of tiles on walls, domes, minarets with an endless variety of heavenly foliage and floral designs. Four centuries of autumns and winters have failed to extinguish the freshness of the eternal spring of this garden.

Masjed Jame Abbasi

It is a four-porch mosque. This is a pattern derived from ancient Iranian architecture that was employed in mosques, caravanserais, and Madresehs, to take the maximum advantages of natural temperature in all seasons, based on Iran's climatic diversity. Porches are constructed in the middle of each side creating spaces in all seasons of the year and in four geographical directions. The most important section of the mosque is in the southern part, and as such presents itself with a unique and matchless glory.
Upon its top stand two minarets with a height of 48 m. One can enter the main dome chamber through the southern porch. The chamber is connected to two (east and west) hypostyles, each including high-rise vaults held up by columns made of unified blocks of stones joined together by molten lead. The dome chamber is the most significant part of the southern section, 22.5 m in diameter and with walls 4.5 m thick, supporting a turquoise high-rise double layer dome on top. The 52 m high heart-shaped external dome shell is built over an internal 38 m hyperbolical dome with a 13-meter gap between them. The structural logic behind the two shell domes lies in the way their weight is transferred to the cylindrical structure beneath. Since each shell has a different shape and section, the action forces go inwards and respectively away from the center. The proportions, shapes, and thicknesses of the two action forces (eccentric and concentric) balance each other and enhance the balance and functionality of the dome. One of the most interesting characteristics of this dome is acoustics. Standing under the dome (especially in the center) all sounds produce an echo. The reflection of the sound made at a distance from the center will be 18 times greater, whereas, in the center, the echo decreases to 7 times more than the original sound.

Imam Mosque Isfahan

The beauty of the dome hall is enhanced by an exquisite marble pulpit with 12 stairs found next to the mihrab. There are two theological schools flanking the mosque and referred to as the Naserieh and the Suleimanieh Madresehs. They were built in the Safavid era but the tile work of the Madreseh Naserieh dates back to the Qajar period. In the Madreseh Suleimanieh, there is a stone sundial indicating the exact position of noon throughout the year. It is unassuming and appears, at first sight, to be simply a step; however, a protruding stone edge causes one face of the step to fall into shadow at noon. At the base of the step is indicated the Kiblah. It is the work of the great mathematician, Sheikh Baha ed-Din Mohammad Ameli, otherwise known as Sheikh Bahaei who was involved in the design of the whole building. The Masjed Jame is an eternal masterpiece of the 17th century from the viewpoint of architecture, tile work, and stone carving. The decoration was completed after the death of Shah Abbas I in 1629, with various works being dated between 1666 and 1684. The mosque consisted of 11 mihrabs and had several exquisite stone water vessels.

4-Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque
This mosque is another precious Safavid gem built between 1602 and 1619 upon the order of Shah Abbas the Great. It is found on the eastern side of the square. The mosque was named after Sheikh Lotfollah, a great Shiite clergyman, who encouraged Esfahan from his home in Lebanon to boost the Shiite cause. A tile inscription in the portal indicates the end of its construction dating back to 1604. Above the latticed window, this sentence is written, “The essence of greatness is to be at the service of the descendants of Imam Ali". The succession of the Imams is core to the Shiite code and the kings of this period claimed descent from Imam Musa Ibn Jafar (the 7th of the twelve Shiite Imams). It can be fairly said that Shiites reached their zenith under the Safavid rulers.

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque

The portal hides a small part of the magnificent and splendid dome of this mosque. The color of the dome changes throughout the day, being pink at dawn, beige at noon, and ochre at dusk. It is as if the sun gives different colors to the arabesque designs as the day progresses. The mosque portal sits back from a row of two-story shops on each side. It is decorated with ceramic tiles making blue floral designs and additional ornaments. The mosque's main feature is only revealed when one passes through the entrance. There are no minarets and there is no courtyard, this is a place of perfect peace. Its access was limited to the royal family.
At the entrance, one faces a half-dark corridor and it takes some moments for the eyes to slowly accommodate and uncover the beauty and elegance of the blue ceramic tile designs. The visitor follows the corridor through two right turns directly into the dome chamber. As with the Masjed Jame Abbasi, this allows the orientation of the mihrab towards Mecca instead of the north-south axis of the square. Looking upwards the first impression of the dome is that of a peacock displaying its tail, an effect cleverly achieved using round and lozenge-shaped designs. A further examination may suggest the appearance of a shining sun. The patterns repeat and repeat getting gradually smaller as the diameter of the dome reduces towards the apex, finally fusing into the central decoration. The single dome itself is 22 m in diameter and reaches a height of 32 m. It is supported by the walls of the dome hall that are 1.6 m thick. The square plan of the hall is ingeniously converted to an octagonal shape and then squinches round the corners to support the dome. There are 16 latticed windows of two-layered stucco around the base of the dome, decorated with inlaid mosaic allowing subdued light into the dome chamber.

Perhaps the most difficult concept for the visitor to grasp is the sheer amount of extraordinary effort gone into this building. The walls and ceilings are not covered by tiles but by mosaic. Each piece is shaped and fitted individually, the dome hall is 18.8 m across, imagine the commitment and imagine the expense and the dedication of the chief architect, Maestro Mohammad Reza Esfahani, who was constantly pressured by the Shah for a completion date. In the mihrab, there is a tile inscription from the chief mason the deed of a poor and humble man seeking God's Mercy, Mohammad Reza the son of Ostad Hossein Banna Esfahani” and dated 1619. The masterpieces of calligraphy in the mosque are the work of Maestro Alireza Abbasi, a master of the Safavid era, and of Maestro Bagher Banna. Prof. Arthur Upham Pope, an American historian of Persian art, and highly respected in Iran, said of this mosque, “One can hardly believe that this work is the product of the human being". It is generally recognized today that the architecture and mosaic tile work of this building constitute the pinnacle of Safavid artistry.

5-Ali Ghapu Palace
The palace is located one-third of the way down the western side of Naqsh-e Jahan Square. Ali Ghapu Palace can be considered as the entrance to the royal palaces. The name in Turkish means "lofty door" and according to historic books, it was built at the site of a 14th century Timurid Palace. Pietro Della Valle, a famous Italian traveler, a guest of Shah Abbas I records that the door of this palace was brought from the holy mausoleum of Imam Ali in Najaf (currently in Iraq) and was installed in the palace entrance.

Ali Ghapu Palace

The monument may well have been named after these tall gates were installed. One of its unique peculiarities is the fresco decoration of its internal walls with beautiful and delicate paintings that are unique to the Safavids. These paintings are a harmonious collection of floral designs, birds, and European scenes. Reza Abbasi, the most famous painter in the era of Shah Abbas I, produced most of them. Each of the six floors has a large central room which served as reception halls, banqueting rooms of great splendor, a royal chamber, and a music room. The monarch would receive foreign kings, ambassadors, and other high-ranking authorities in these rooms. Rugs of the highest quality and price decorated each of the 52 rooms of the palace. Only dishes of gold and silver were used and had either been presented to the king or purchased from Europe or India. The palace was built between 1592 and 1598, with the addition of the columned balcony and music hall in 1648 during the reign of Shah Abbas II. The king would come to this balcony to watch activities in the square. Silk and gold woven fabrics were used as curtains to cover the columned balcony. The balcony has 18 wooden columns each made from the trunk of a single plane tree, 10 m high and now over 400 years old. The columns support the double-layered ceiling decorated with inlaid work and fresco. In the middle of the balcony sat a marble pool covered in copper. It must have been a majestic place. After climbing four floors and arriving at the balcony, the visitor has a breathtaking view of the splendor and beauty of the square.

Ali Ghapu Palace

It is easy to imagine the life of the Safavids on this balcony, listening to the sound of water running in the pond whilst feasting and being entertained by the marches, celebrations, local plays, and even games of polo in the square below. What a glorious dulcet atmosphere they must have enjoyed. In contrast, the king did not rely on the sophistication of his court to impress his foreign visitors. He ordered 40 cannons captured from the Portuguese in the Persian Gulf, to be set up in front of the palace and visible from the balcony. Behind the balcony is the throne hall, which is full of delicate and unique paintings. One can find a harmonious high-relief floral design on stucco along with beautiful patterns of birds. At the back of this hall, there are two spiral staircases of 94 steep stairs leading to the other late addition, the music hall. This is the most beautiful part of the palace, it is impossible to describe adequately its varied and attractive patterns and the fretwork stalactites, which are hollow pendentives with 20 different patterns. The reason for naming this part the music hall is these pendentives, which were made intentionally for their acoustic properties rather than as decoration. The central part of the music hall is cross-shaped and above the center, the ceiling is a beautiful pattern of stalactite squares transforming into circles providing great harmony with the other parts of the hall. The music hall has been built with such delicacy and precision that the artists involved have been highly praised.

10 monuments of Isfahan that complete your trip to Isfahan

6-Gheisarieh Bazaar
The northern end of the square features the great portal of the Gheisarieh Bazaar. It is full of faience mosaic work and on the spandrels, there is a hunter with a human body, a tiger's legs, and a dragon's tail, which represents the zodiacal sign of Sagittarius. Historians say this is the month that Esfahan was founded. In the middle of the portal, there is a painting of Shah Abbas at war with the Uzbeks and another hunting fresco with some Europeans. The bazaar's structure consists of roofed corridors with shops aligned on either side. These corridors meet at points called Chahar suq where the dome is higher and is equivalent to squares where streets meet. In addition to the corridors, there are Timchehs, Saraas, and Caravanserais. In addition to the shops, there are mosques, handicraft workshops, Madresehs, and public places as well. Nowadays, most of the bazaar's activities are based on big businesses, which are located in the Timchehs and Saraas.

Eskandar Beyk Turkman gives a completion date for the bazaar as 1619. The bazaar finally leads to the old Masjed Jame and even up to 50 years ago, there were some branches reaching Toghchi Bazaar, Ghaaz Bazaar, and Mir Square. The beautiful Madresehs of Kasehgaran, Mullah Abdullah, Nimavard, Jadeh-Kuchak and Jadeh-Bozorg, and Sarutaghi Bazaar, Chaharsuq and Caravanserai, Jarchibashi Mosque, Mokhles and Golshan Caravanserais, Shahzadegan Hammam, and the Gheisarieh Assarkhaneh are amongst the historical buildings dating back to the Safavid era inside the bazaar. Other splendid structures like the Madreseh Sadr and Timcheh Malek are from the Qajar period. On top of the Gheisarieh Portal, not so long ago, there used to be a structure called “Nagharehkhaneh", where according to Iranian ancient custom, music would be played at sunrise and sunset. Some European tourists from the Safavid and Qajar period have mentioned these structures in their travelogues

7- Zayandeh Rud and its bridges
The most important river in the center of the Iranian plateau is the Zayandeh Rud. Its source is Kuhrang in the Zardkuh Bakhtiari Mountains from where it runs to the east and has created numerous rafting capabilities, finally vanishing in the Gavkhuni Marshland. It is a meandering 420 km long, but from source to end covers only 270 km in a straight line. Numerous springs and smaller rivers (Dimeh, Abzari, Chamdar. Abkhorbe, and Na'leshkanan) join together at Shurab Village in the Tang-e Gazi district (Gazi Strait). The river at this point then becomes known as the Zayandeh Rud. Another branch originating at Kurang is soon added. After Tang-e Gazi the waters of three further rivers (Kagunag. Khersanak and Plaskan) contribute to the Zayandeh Rud. After Zayandeh Rud Dam Lake no further additions are found.
Barrages were built to allow irrigation of farmlands wherever it was necessary. The most important of these barrages are Marvan Barrage from the 9th century in Ruydasht, Allah Gholi Barrage in Jondich which dates from the Afsharid dynasty (18th century), Shanzdah Deh Barrage built by command of Shah Suleiman the Safavid in the 17th century (the last of these is near the end of the river where it disappears into the Gavkhuni Marshland). Abshar, Asiab, Goli, Shakh Miyan and Shakh Kenar are the other notable barrages along the route.

Si-o-Se Pol  or Thirty-three-arch Bridge

-Si-o-Se Pol (Thirty-three-arch Bridge)
Si-o-se Pol is a unique masterpiece from the era of Shah Abbas I and was built at the expense of his famous commander, Alaverdi Khan (after whom this bridge is altered- natively named). It was built over six years (1592-1598) by the well-known master architect, Hossein Banna Esfahani. It is 295 m long and 14.75 m wide and links the upper and lower halves of Chahar Bagh Avenue. On the top part of the bridge, there are two covered corridors with arched walls on both decks and on either side of the upper part, there are false arches. On the lower storey, there are 25 rooms of different sizes. On the southern and northern foundations rooms have been converted into teahouses. During the Safavids, the Abrizan or Abpashan celebrations were held at this bridge. The Safavid king would add to the grandeur of these celebrations by taking part himself. Since the Armenian Quarter of Jolfa is close to this bridge, the Armenians also held their own Khajshuyan celebrations by this bridge.

Juie Bridge

- Juie Bridge
Juie Bridge is also from the Sa- favid era, built-in 1655 during Shah Abbas II's reign. It was specifically built for the royal family, connecting the royal gardens on either side of the river. Sadly the gardens such as Haftdast. Aeinehkhaneh, Namakdan, Kashkul, Baghdaryacheh, and Sa'adat Abad no longer exist. Of course, ambassadors, commanders, and special guests could also use this bridge. The Juie Bridge is also known as the Sa'adat Abad Bridge and has 21 arch-shaped sluices. It is 145.7 m long and 4.1 m wide, but at two points shahneshins have been added under the bridge increasing the width in these places to 13.8 m. These Shahneshins were used for special seats during celebrations, especially when they blocked the Khaiu Bridge and the water level on the eastern side of the Juie Bridge rose. So as the king and his guests viewed the celebration from the Khaju Bridge alcoves, the royal ladies would watch from the Juie Bridge pavilions.

Khaju Bridge

- Khaju Bridge
Khaju or Royal Bridge was built over the foundations of the Has- san Abad Bridge of the 15th-century Timurid period. The existing Khaju Bridge was built by the order of Shah Abbas II in 1650. It is the only bridge in Iran with haft-rang tile decoration. Khaju is derived from the word Khajeh which is a title for courtiers and those close to the royal family and since they lived near this bridge, the area and the bridge itself are called Khaju. It is a double-decker bridge. The top storey was used for caravans to pass over with covered corridors for pedestrians on both sides and the lower storey was specifically for pedestrians only and a place for leisure and recreation.
This bridge is a multifunctional structure. Obstructing the lower sluices caused the water level to rise upstream allowing it to be used as a lake for boating during festivals. Fireworks were also enjoyed at this bridge with the reflections enhancing the spectacle. Khaju Bridge is 137 m long and 12 m wide. Its 21 sluices had stone grooves and could regulate a water flow by placing wooden panels in these grooves. When closed, the water level would rise on the western side of the bridge which could also fill the underground reservoirs saving essential water for the hot seasons. There are two alcoves called Shahneshin in the middle of the eastern and western side of the top storey. Each has a large room overlooking three balconies. The rooms and balconies are decorated with mural paintings mostly from the Qajar period (19th century) overpainting those from the 17th century Safavid period. Looking down on the stone foundations and the flowing water gives the impression of being on a moving boat. During a flood, these conical-shaped structures on the upper and lower storeys help water to pass through the bridge and avoid damage to the bridge itself.

Shahrestan Bridge

- Shahrestan Bridge
Shahrestan Bridge is the oldest bridge on Zayandeh Rud, across the historical quarter of Jey and near the ancient Ashraf or Saruyeh Teppehs. The foundations are from the 3rd to 7th-century Sassanid era, but the top was renovated by the 10th-century Deylamids and finally during the 11th-century Seljuk period. However, the architectural style is totally Sassanid. The bridge was built in two parabolic shapes. The vertical parabolic component means that the middle point of the bridge is the highest part. The horizontal parabolic produces a bend to the west strengthening it against the flow of the river. This bridge is 107.8 m long and an average of 5.2 m wide. It has two levels of arches, 13 on the bottom and 8 on the top. The higher sluices quickened the passage of water during floods, thus taking pressure away from the structure. About 100 m away from the bridge, the Zayandeh Rud has recently been diverted towards the south and an artificial lake has been established around the bridge to protect it from further damage.

8- Jame Atiq Mosque
The Jameh Complex is a true museum of Islamic architecture while still functioning as a busy place of worship. The Jameh Mosque of Isfahan, the oldest in Isfahan, rebuilt and renovated from the 8th century to the end of the 20th century, is a true masterpiece of Islamic architecture. Various in design and size, they can illustrate the style of the period or geographic region, the choices of the patron, and the expertise of the architect. The Jāmeh Mosque of Isfahān or Jāme 'Mosque of Isfahān was the great congregational mosque in the city of Isfahān, in the province of Isfahān, Iran. The Jameh Mosque of Isfahan is one of several hundred religious monuments in Iran that has been preserved for half the world since the Seljuk era and still gloriously retains its authenticity.

Jame Atiq Mosque

Isfahan Jame Mosque, also known as Atigh (old) Jame Mosque of Isfahan Jom-e Mosque, is one of the greatest landmarks in the city of Isfahan dating back to the second century AH. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2012. This mosque has been continuously built, rebuilt, and renovated for almost 1,300 years.
The oldest complex of religious architecture in Iran! The Atiq Jameh Mosque in Isfahan comprises an endless series of Islamic architectural types, the most important of which date back to the Seljuq era. Carrelage Read and learn the following article for free: The Great Mosque (or Masjid-e Jameh) of Isfahan. The Jameh Mosque in Isfahan, Iran is a true museum of Islamic architecture and still a working mosque. It is considered to be one of the masterpieces of Persian architecture during the Islamic era. Located just over a kilometer northeast of the magnificent Naqsh-e jahàn Square, this mosque, which covers an area of ​​over 20,000 square meters, is a masterpiece of Iranian religious architecture. . Isfahan Friday Mosque, also known as Old Jameh Mosque, is located on Qiyam Square, Allameh Majlis Street in Isfahan.

Jame Atiq Mosque

If we divide the history of Iran into three prehistoric, ancient, and Islamic periods, Chogha Zanbil Ziggurat, Persepolis, and the Jameh Mosque of Isfahan are the best architectural examples of these periods. Masjid Jameh is the oldest mosque in Isfahan and one of the oldest, largest, and most beautiful in Iran. Isfahan Jameh Mosque or Friday Mosque is a building in the historic center of the city. History. The mosque is the result of continuous constructions, reconstructions, additions, and renovations on the site from around 771 to the end of the 20th century.

9- Chehel Sotun Palace
The entrance to Chehel Sotun Palace is in Ostandari Street. The visitor's attention is at first drawn to the garden with a 110-meter long pool on the eastern side. On the four corners of the pool, four statues of angels (guardian's symbol) and lions (power symbol) remain from the Sarpushideh Palace of the Safavid era. Chehel Sotun Palace itself is seen at the end of the pool, in the western third of the garden, and is one of three such buildings that have survived from the Safavid era. This palace consists of the Columned Hall, the Mirror Hall, and the Throne Hall. This palace was built by the order of Shah Abbas II to receive foreign guests and ambassadors.
Chehel Sotun Palace (meaning Forty-Column Palace) has twenty columns each made of a single plane tree trunk, 12.8 m high. The reason for naming the palace "Forty Columns" is that number forty has numerous meanings in all religions:

Chehel Sotun Palace

The palace is 57.5 m long and 37 m wide and there is a one-meter wide aqueduct close to the palace that runs all around it. At the midpoint of each side of this aqueduct is a small pool and fountain, which would have helped in cooling the palace during the summer. The wooden ceiling of the Columned Hall is a double layer with fifty small-latticed windows installed around it for ventilation. Chehel Sotun Palace has 18 columns on the veranda and two more on the eastern side of the Mirror Hall (Talar-e Aeineh). The Mirror Hall is located behind the columned veranda and is made of wood, plaster, and mirror work combined in great harmony. The mirrors are Venetian and their production dates back to the 16th century. Immediately behind the Mirror Hall is the glorious high-ceilinged reception hall. The main decorative

feature of this vast hall is the extraordinary frescoes. The eastern and western walls of this hall are decorated with six large paintings. The two central ones belong to the Qajar era (19th century), and are painted over the original 17th century Safavid frescos. The western wall paintings from right to left are as follows, the first painting is a reception ceremony honoring Vali Mohammad Khan, the ruler of Turkistan who was welcomed by Shah Abbas I in 1611. The next painting is of the Ghahveh-Khaneie genre depicting the historical Chaldoran battle that occurred in the West-Azerbaijan Province of Iran in 1514, which led to the first defeat of the Safavid dynasty. Although outnumbered the Ottoman army was equipped with firearms and defeated the Safavid troops. This battle is of high importance because of the bravery shown by the Iranian army. The last fresco displays the reception ceremony for Humayun, the temporarily deposed King of India in the time of Shah Tahmasb (1543). Humayun was restored to his kingdom with the assistance of the Safavid state. Opposite this painting on the eastern wall is a painting of the battle between Esmaeil, the Safavid Shah, and Sheibak Khan the Uzbek, who was defeated. In the middle of the same wall, a painting depicts the battle between Nadir Shah the Afsharid, and the Gurkanid, Mohammad Shah. This took place in 1736 and the Iranian army entered New Delhi victoriously. This painting is also in the Ghahveh-Khaneie style. The last painting shows Nader Mohammad Khan, the ruler of Turkistan attending the court of Shah Abbas II. The decline in the standard of art from the frescoes of the Safavids to the Qajar eras is obvious.

Chehel Sotun Palace

The style, clothes, musical instruments, and battle scenes in the frescoes of the Safavid era, all attract the viewer to the world of imagination in such a way that one hears a piece of music or feels the brave combat of warriors in a battle. On the contrary, the frescoes of the Qajar era are quite boring and contain no artistic highpoints. The remaining spaces of the hall are filled with various paintings such as arabesque (Arabesque), birds, and animals, or in the lower parts show various banquets, worthy of hours of examination. The rooms around the hall are also rich with frescos belonging to the Safavid era and in one of those, there is a banquet depicting Shah Abbas I with a special crown and in a symmetrical room, another shows a party on the last Wednesday before Norouz (called Chaharshanbe Suri) in all the artistic delicacy of the Safavid era. In the reception hall, some objects are exhibited belonging to different eras, and clearly revealing other aspects of art in various eras. Walking around the palace, you will face a two-columned terrace on both northern and southern sides, each having murals of some political figures of foreign countries. Two Dutch painters named Angel and Lokar living in the court of Shah Abbas II produced these. In Chehel Sotun Garden, there are other objects from the Safavid era such as the portal and remnants of Ghotbieh, Darb-e-Jubareh, Pir-e Pinehduz, Aghassi Mosques, and Zavieh Darb-e Kushk installed on the western and southern walls of the garden.

10- Hasht Behesht Palace
Shah Suleiman Safavid constructed this palace in 1669 in the Bolbol (meaning nightingale) Garden. There were some monuments bearing the same name, in Tabriz and Qazvin the other capitals of the Safavid era. No traces have been left of these, but the Hasht Behesht of Esfahan remains as a work of inspiration. The palace is of two stories and founded on an octagonal base 130 cm high. The palace itself is about 14 m high and is surrounded by four glorious iwans at the four corners allowing enough light for the inner part of the palace. The central part of the monument has plaster pendentives vaults decorated with frescoes and is opened to the four iwans from the four corners in such a way that the inner part of the monument has a cross-shaped plan.

Hasht Behesht Palace

The four sides are designed with different constructional units. Thus including the upper storey there are eight individual patterns. Each of the units has been arranged with a separate architectural design and a different inner space, the architect has thus converted the monument into a small labyrinth. On the second floor is a tiny chamber worthy of special mention. Each section of it has been allocated a specific decoration. The northern iwan of the palace benefits from a shallow marble pond that is known as the Morvarid (pearl) Pond. The southern iwan also has a waterfall process. Built into the rim of the iwan is a pipe connected to a copper reservoir on the upper floor that empties into the small lower pond like a waterfall.

Hasht Behesht Palace

The rooms of the palace are fully decorated with frescoes and mirror work most of which were damaged during the Qajar era (19th century). Hasht Behest Palace has an octagonal plan and great efforts have been made to employ patterns and symbols derived from the number "Eight”, in view of the name of the palace. There are eight constructional sections, the central pond is octagonal, the floor has been covered with octagonal bricks, and also the outer shell is octagonal, all inspired by this number. In the outer side of the palace, there is much interesting tile work in spandrels, some of which refer to exemplary stories, some containing epic and national symbols, some scenes of the hunting of animals and birds and some show mythical animals such as the phoenix.

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Iran is one of the largest countries in the Middle East. Its landscape is diverse, comprising desert, rivers, plateaus, valleys, jungles, and mountain including the Middle East’s highest peak, Mt Damavand (5167m). Iran with this variety of natural wonders is the paradise of Eco-traveler. You can climb mountains, rafting in the roaring rivers, stay at the villages, cook with locals and walk in different parts of Iran freely. Discover Iran's unique nature with our professional tours.

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Iran has very different cultural characteristics as: social, historical, natural and... These different characteristics in a wide plateau create different models of trip plans. You can prepare your favorite tour by combining several of these features or use our offered tours.

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