Intro : Isfahan (Middle Persian Spahān, Classical New Persian Ispahān) (Persian: اصفهان Esfahān), historically also rendered in English as Ispahan, Sepahan or Hispahan, is the capital of Isfahan Province in Iran, located about 340 km south of Tehran. It has a population of 1,583,609 and is Iran's third largest city after Tehran and Mashhad. The Isfahan metropolitan area had a population of 3,430,353 in the 2006 Census, the second most populous metropolitan area in Iran after Tehran.Persian English Isfahan ProvinceIran TehranMashhad The cities of Zarrinshahr, Fooladshahr and Najafabad, Se-deh, Shahin-shahr, Mobarakeh, Falavarjan and chiarmahin all constitute the metropolitan city of Isfahan.ZarrinshahrFooladshahrNajafabadSe-deh Shahin-shahrMobarakehFalavarjan
Isfahan is located on the main north-south and east-west routes crossing Iran, and was once one of the largest cities in the world. It flourished from 1050 to 1722, particularly in the 16th century under the Safavid dynasty, when it became the capital of Persia for the second time in its history. Even today, the city retains much of its past glory. It is famous for its Islamic architecture, with many beautiful boulevards, covered bridges, palaces, mosques, and minarets. This led to the Persian proverb "'Esfahān nesf-e jahān ast" (Isfahan is half of the world)SafavidPersia
History : Elamite Empire Isfahan, capital of the Kingdom of Persia ' Ancient Esfahan was part of the Elamite Empire under the name of Aspandana also spelt Ispadana. It later became one of the principal towns of the Median dynasty. Subsequently the province became part of the Achaemenid Empire. After the liberation of Iran from Macedonian occupation by the Arsacids, it became part of Parthian Empire. Esfahan was the centre and capital city of a large province, which was administered by Arsacid governors. In the Sassanid era, Esfahan was governed by "Espoohrans" or the members of seven noble Iranian families who had important royal positions, and served as the residence of these noble families as well. Moreover, in this period Esfahan was a military centre with strong fortifications.Elamite EmpireMedian dynastyAchaemenid Empire ArsacidsParthian EmpireSassanid
Persia's Capital : In 1598 Shah Abbas the Great moved his capital from Qazvin to the more central and Persian Isfahan. This ushered in a golden age for the city which lasted until it was sacked by Afghan invaders in 1722. The capital subsequently moved several times until settling in Tehran in 1795.Shah Abbas the GreatQazvincityTehran Prehistory : The history of Esfahan can be traced back to the Palaeolithic period. In recent discoveries, archaeologists have found artifacts dating back to the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze and Iron ages.Palaeolithicarchaeologists artifactsMesolithicNeolithic BronzeIron ages
The Zayande River starts in the Zagros Mountains, flows from west to east through the heart of Esfahan, and dries up in the Kavir desert.Zayande RiverKavir desert The bridges over the river include some of the nicest architecture in Esfahan. The oldest bridge is the "Pol-e Shahrestan," which was probably built in the 12th century during the Seljuk period.Further upstream is the "Pol-e Khaju," which was built by Shah Abbas II in 1650. It is 123 metres long with 24 arches, and it also serves as a sluice gate. The next bridge is the "Pol-e Jubi." 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 Esfahan with the Armenian suburb of Jolfa. It is by far the longest bridge in Esfahan at 295 m (967.85 ft).Si-o-Seh PolArmenian
Tourist Attractions : Isfahan is an important historical center for different groups of tourists in the domestic and international world. The central historical area in Isfahan is called Seeosepol (the name of a famous bridge) Naghsheh jahan square – Sheykh Lotfolah Mosque – Imam Mosque – Ali Qapou palace – See-o-se pol bridge – Ghaisarieh bazaar – Ghaisarieh bazaar entrance – Chehel setoon building – Chahar Bagh complex – Jameh Mosque – Hasht Behesht Building – Charhar Bagh school – Ashraf saloon – Khajoo bridge – Flower Garden – Bird park
Airport : Isfahan is served by the Isfahan International Airport which handles domestic flights to Iranian cities and international flights, mostly to regional destinations across Middle East and central Asia including Dubai and Damascus.Isfahan International Airport Metro and Inter City Public Transportation : Esfahan MetroEsfahan Metro is under construction and will include 2 lines with 43 km length. The first line of that is planned to be finished by end of 2010 with 21 km length and 20 stations. Until the metro is completed an expanded bus system accompanied by taxis will handle Isfahan intra-urban public transportation.
Esfahan has long been one of the centers for production of the famous Persian Rug. Weaving in Esfahan flourished in the Safavid era. But when the Afghans invaded Iran, ending the Safavid dynasty, the craft also became stagnant.Persian Rug Not until 1920s, between two world wars, was weaving again taken seriously by the people of Esfahan. They started to weave Safavid designs and once again became one of the most important nexus of the Iranian rug weaving industry. Esfahani carpets today are among the most wanted in world markets, having many customers in western countries.world wars Esfahani rugs and carpets usually have ivory backgrounds with blue, rose, and indigo motifs. Rugs and carpets often have very symmetrical and balanced designs. They usually have a single medallion that is surrounded with vines and palmettos and are of excellent quality.
Food : Esfahan is famous for its Beryooni. This dish is made of baked mutton & lungs that are minced and then cooked in a special small pan over open fire with a pinch of cinnamon. Beryooni is generally eaten with a certain type of bread, "nan-e taftton." Although it can also be served with other breads. See also Biryani.BeryooniBiryani FesenjanFesenjan – a casserole type dish with a sweet and tart sauce containing the two base ingredients, pomegranate molasses and ground walnuts cooked with chicken, duck, lamb or beef and served with rice.
Famous people : Artists Jalal al din Taj Esfahani,1903–, famous vocalist of classical music of IranJalal al din Taj Esfahani Hasan KasaieHasan Kasaie,1928, distinguished ney player (ney is a musical instrument used in Iran's classical music) Jalil ShahnazJalil Shahnaz, 1921, notable Tar player of IranTar Freydoon RassouliFreydoon Rassouli, famous artist and Founder of Fusionart movement Master Ahmad ArchangMaster Ahmad Archang famous artist and designer of Isfahan rug patterns Alireza EftekhariAlireza Eftekhari, 1956–, is a famous singer in Iran Mohammad EsfahaniMohammad Esfahani, popular music MoeinMoein, 1951, popular and classical music Hoshmand AghiliHoshmand Aghili, 1945–, popular and classical music Hassan ShamaizadehHassan Shamaizadeh, music composer and Singer
Sports : Isfahan is the host of many national and international sport events therefore enjoying good sport facilities such as Naghsh-e-Jahan Stadium with 50,000 capacity which second phase is under development to increase capacity to 75,000 spectators. Isfahan has an important derby called as Naqsh e jahan derby. This competition is one of the most popular annual football events in Iran between Sepahan F.C. and Zob Ahan. Naghsh-e-Jahan StadiumNaqsh e jahan derbySepahan F.C.Zob Ahan