Travel to Iran

Day 3 Isfahan - Kuhpayeh

On our second day in Isfahan we walked again through its bazaar, this time with all the stores open (the previous day it was Friday, festive in the Islamic world). We cross the entire bazaar and proceed to the Hasht Behesht Garden, at the center of which is located Hasht Bihisht, a royal palace of the Safavid dynasty built in 1669. The pavilion was added to the western section of the imperial district of Isfahan under Shah Sulaiman. It is composed of a room with a central dome, four side iwans and adjacent rooms on the four diagonal axes. The plant on which eight rooms are arranged around a room with a central dome, earned the building the name Hasht Bihisht (eight paradises ), an allusion to the eight celestial spheres of Islamic cosmology.

Isfahan - Grand bazaar

Isfahan - Grand bazaar

In the lower part of these gardens we find the ChaharBagh school. The compound was built during the time of Soltan Hossein, a Safavid king, to serve as a theological and clerical school to train those who were interested in such sciences. In order to finance the school, Soltan Hossein's mother had a large caravansary built nearby, the income of which went to the foundation. The monumental portal from the main avenue of Shah Abbas leads directly into a domed octagonal vestibule. The dome and the greater part of the walls are covered in bright yellow bricks which give a feeling of lightness. The entrance gate decorated with gold facade and silver, and the tile-works inside the building are masterpieces of fine art and industry.

Isfahan - Chahar Bagh School

Isfahan -Chahar Bagh School

We take a short break at the Abbasi hotel, located in the old caravanserai of the Chahar Bagh school, to walk through its gardens and have a tea. From its gardens we contemplate the dome and the minarets of the school. This complex was built at the time of king Sultan Husayn of Safavid about 300 years ago. It was built as a caravansary to provide lodging for passengers. The structure has been renovated since the 1950s by André Godard to fight and prevent degradation. The 1974 film And Then There Were None, starring Charles Aznavour, Oliver Reed and Elke Sommer, was shot here.

Isfahan - Si-o-Seh Pol

Isfahan - Si-o-Seh Pol

We arrived to the river, to see the bridge Si-o-Seh Pol, and this one was absolutely dry. The Zayande River starts in the Zagros Mountains, flows from west to east through the heart of Isfahan, and dries up in the Gavkhooni wetland. The bridges over the river include some of the finest architecture in Isfahan. The oldest bridge is the Shahrestan bridge, whose foundations was built by the Sasanian Empire (3rd-7th century Sassanid era) and has been repaired during the Seljuk period. Further upstream is Khaju bridge. The next bridge is Choobi (Joui) bridge. It was originally built as an aqueduct to supply the palace gardens on the north bank of the river. Further upstream again is the Si-o-Seh Pol or bridge of 33 arches. Built during the rule of Shah Abbas the Great, it linked Isfahan with the Armenian suburb of New Julfa. It is by far the longest bridge in Isfahan at 295 m (967.85 ft).

Isfahan - Vank Cathedral

Isfahan - Vank Cathedral

The Holy Savior Cathedral, also known the Church of the Saintly Sisters, is a cathedral located in the New Julfa district of Isfahan. It is commonly referred to as the Vank, which means "monastery" or "convent" in the Armenian language. This cathedral was one of the first churches to be established in the Jolfa district in 1606, dedicated to the hundreds of thousands of Armenian deportees that were resettled by Shah Abbas I during the Ottoman War of 1603-1618. The cathedral consists of a domed sanctuary, much like an Iranian mosque, but with the significant addition of a semi-octagonal apse and raised chancel usually seen in western churches. The cathedral's exteriors are in relatively modern brickwork and are exceptionally plain compared to its elaborately decorated interior.

Isfahan - Khaju bridge

Isfahan - Khaju bridge

After picking up the rental car with which we will move during the next days, we move to the bridge of Khaju bridge, which was built by Shah Abbas II in 1650. It is 123 metres (404 feet) long with 24 arches, and also serves as a sluice gate.

(in 87 km.) Kuhpayeh: We left Isfahan and went to this town to spend the night in a caravanserai.