Cosmopolitan city of Isfahan

Historical overview

The first traces of the city of Isfahan date back to around 1000 BC. Isfahan was first historically documented by the Parthian people under the name“Aspadana” as the provincial capital of Upper Persia. Later, Isfahan was given a mint and became a garrison town.

In 640, the city was conquered by the Arabs. This marked the beginning of Isfahan’s Islamic history and an upswing that later made the city the seat of the important Persian ruling dynasties. From the 7th to the 10th century, Isfahan, which lies on the southern route of the Silk Road, became famous for its silk and cotton. At this time there was a large Jewish quarter, which is said to have been established after the end of the 6th century BC, when some Jews who had been expelled from Jerusalem by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II settled in Isfahan.
The Jewish inhabitants of Isfahan worked mainly as dyers, tanners, bathers, butchers and cobblers.

Isfahan experienced its heyday in the period from 1500 to 1700 AD. Isfahan became the capital of the Safavid Empire in 1598, which embellished the city with numerous magnificent buildings and gardens.

The Persian proverb comes from this time
“Isfahan [ist] half the world”


In Isfahan, as in most cities, we look for a parking space in the city so that we can be close to the action. I choose a parking lot that also offers water for refueling and has good feedback in the travel app “iOverlander”. The square is located in the middle of the Armenian quarter “Neu-Dschulfa”. “Blue-eyed courageous” drive into the narrow lane, which is also blocked by cars. Verena is very tense, as centimeters are at stake on both sides. There is only one hairpin bend into the parking lot, which we don’t manage. Fortunately, there is a reverse gear and we can also reverse into the parking lot. The young park rangers are welcoming and delighted that we have “landed” with them.

Armenian Vank Cathedral

The“Holy Apostolic Church of the Armenians” is an ancient oriental church with nine million Armenian church members today, of which around 25,000 are in Iran. It is the oldest organized church in the world and dates back to at least 197 AD (first written mention). The Vank Cathedral is also known as the “Church of the Redeemer”. It was built around 1660 AD. completed.

Out and about in the Armenian quarter

While it was very quiet and tranquil here during the day, the streets are full of people after sunset. We like this business and enjoy watching the people and marveling at the neat window displays.

Si-o-se-Pol bridge

Isfahan has several attractive bridges over the Zayandeh Rud, which does not carry water all year round. Si-o-se-Pol means 33 arch bridge. Today we visit the city center on foot and therefore cross the Si-o-se-Pol Bridge, whose construction began in 1601.

Azam Beryani

We were recommended the “Azam Beryani” restaurant for lunch. A lively eatery for the local population. You don’t even have to order here. In any case, there is only “Beryani”, a dish that originally comes from northern India. Here, however, it is made in an Iranian edition. Instead of rice there is a bread flatbread, instead of chicken there is a kind of thick sauce with finely chopped minced meat and I don’t know what else in it. Either way, it’s a simple dish that tastes fantastic.

We drink the finest coffee to our liking in the Bahar Narenj Cafe, which is well worth a visit.

Meydan-e-Naqsh-e Jahan

The “Image of the World” square in the historic part of the city of Isfahan is one of the largest squares in the world , covering an area of almost 9 hectares (90,000 m2). It is 560 m long and 160 m wide and faces almost exactly north and south.
It was built under Shah Abbas I between 1590 and 1595. In 1979 it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

We start our visit in the golden evening light and head for the Aali Qapu Palace, from whose terrace you have a great view.

Sheikh Lotfallah Mosque

Shah Mosque

Entrance to the bazaar

New friends

Here on the terrace we meet new Iranian friends. Later, they look us up in the parking lot in Dschulfa and spontaneously give us a bag of fresh tea from their region, plus a matching tea jug because we don’t have one. He also made his own sauce paste, which tasted wonderful with rice and chicken. Overwhelm. Naturally, we returned these gifts accordingly.

In front of the Lotfallah Mosque we are approached by two young women, where from and where to are the standard questions.

At the “blue hour”

Life here on Naqsh-e Jahan Square is something we can’t get enough of. We stay until after sunset and let the mood of the falling night whisk us away to a fairytale paradise.

Isfahan is and remains a highlight, we could easily stay here for a few more days.

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Ben Cooper
    21. June 2024 18:51

    Thank you for the information on Isfahan. Beautiful pictures that show the beauty of this city. Your travels are exciting. May good health accompany you. Kind regards, Ben


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