Travel to Iran

Day 2 Isfahan

This has been a very special trip for me. I have been able to turn one of my dreams into reality: visit Persepolis and some of the places belonging to the Silk Road through which Marco Polo traveled. For all this, I would like to thank all my family and friends who have made this trip possible.

Isfahan: We left the hotel and immediately arrived at the Friday mosque (Jāme' Mosque). Included since 2012 in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site, the origins of this mosque lie in the 8th century, but it burnt down and was rebuilt again in the 11th century during the Seljuk dynasty and went through remodeling many times. As a result, it has different architectural styles, so now the mosque represents a condensed history of Iranian Architecture, incorporating elements from the Mongols, Muzzafarids, Timurids and Safavids.

Isfahan - Jameh Mosque

Isfahan - Jameh Mosque

It is one of the oldest mosques still standing in Iran, and it was built in the four-iwan (a vaulted open room) architectural style, placing four gates face to face. The south dome was built to house the mihrab in 1086–87, and was larger than any dome known at its time. The north dome is a masterpiece in Persian architecture for its structural clarity and geometric balance. This mosque was the first Islamic building to adapt the design of a courtyard with four-iwan from the Sassanid palaces to Islamic religious architecture and served as a prototype for several later mosques built in Central Asia.

Isfahan -  Ali mosque

Isfahan - Ali mosque

We left the mosque and we immediately found the Grand Bazaar of Isfahan. Originally constructed during the 11th century, the present remnant dates from the Safavid period, during which the Qaysariya Bazaar was built on the north wing of Naqsh-e Jahan Square. The bazaar, one of the oldest and largest bazaars in the Middle East, is the longest roofed market in the world. Is a vaulted two-kilometre street linking the old city with the new. The main entrance, located in the Naqsh-e Jahan Square is called Qeisarieh. Close to the Ali mosque we found the Ali minaret, which dates back to the 11th century. This minaret is 48 metres in height. It has four inscriptions, one of the inscriptions is made of brick and the others are made of ceramic.

Isfahan - Naqsh-e Jahan square

Isfahan - Naqsh-e Jahan square

Naqsh-e Jahan Square, constructed between 1598 and 1629, is one of UNESCO´s World Heritage Sites. With their 160 metres wide by 560 metres long is the second largest square of the World after Tiananmen square. The square is surrounded by buildings from the Safavid era. The Shah Mosque is situated on the south side of this square. On the west side is the Ali Qapu Palace. Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque is situated on the eastern side of this square and at the northern side Qeisarieh gate opens into the Grand Bazaar.

Isfahan - Lotfollah mosque in Naqsh-e Jahan square

Isfahan - Lotfollah mosque in Naqsh-e Jahan square

The Shah Mosque (Masjed-e Shah) stands in south side of Naghsh-e Jahan Square. Built during the Safavid Empire, was ordered by Abbas I of Persia. Its construction began in 1611, and its splendor is mainly due to the beauty of its seven-colour mosaic tiles and calligraphic inscriptions. The entrance portal of the mosque, 27 m high crowned with two minarets 42 m tall, displays the finest tile decoration in the building. A wide inscription band with religious texts written in white thuluth script on a dark blue ground frames the iwan. The tiles in the Masjed-e Shah are predominantly blue, except in the covered halls of the building, which were later revetted in tiles of cooler, yellowy-green shades.

Isfahan -  Masjed-e-Shah in Naqsh-e Jahan square

Isfahan - Masjed-e-Shah in Naqsh-e Jahan square

The Mosque is surrounded with four iwans and arcades. All the walls are ornamented with seven-color mosaic tile. The most magnificent iwan of the mosque is the one facing the Qibla measuring 33 m high. Behind this iwan is a space which is roofed with the dome of the Masjed-e Shah, reaching 53 meters in height, would become the tallest in the city when it was finished in 1629. It was built as a double-shelled dome, with 14 meters spanning between the two layers, and resting on an octagonal dome chamber.

Isfahan -  Ali Qapu palace in Naqsh-e Jahan square

Isfahan - Ali Qapu palace in Naqsh-e Jahan square

Opposite the Lotfollah mosque is the Ali Qapu Palace, a 5-story palace built in the 17th century. The building has seven floors today, and 48 meters high. On the sixth floor there is a "music room", decorated with circular niches that have a decorative and acoustic purpose. The eighteen columns of the large pillared hall are decorated with mirrors and the ceiling is decorated in wood with marquetry. The walls of the palace are richly decorated with murals by Reza Abbasi-e, painter of the court of Great Shah Abbas I and his pupils representing mainly of flowers and animals (birds) and some human figures. We dined at the Bastani restaurant located on a corner of the Naqsh-e Jahan square