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Esfahan Travel Guide: 356 reviews and 1,067 photos

Chahar Bagh

The American scholar, Arthur Upham Pope, whose monument A Survey of Persian Art in six volumes is indispensable to all students of that subject, describes this Madrasa as (perhaps the last great building in Iran).
It was built between 1706 and 1714 during the reign of Shah Sultan Hussein, the last of the Safavids.
The Shah`s mother is said to have paid for the building and also for the adjoining carvanserai which was to provide the School`s endowment and which Yas converted in 1962-65 into what perhaps the most surprising and luxurious hotel in the Middle East.
The great tiled dome over the sanctuary at the north end of the building is covered with large arabesques in yellow, black and white against a brilliant turquoise background. Round the drum runs a band of contrasting lapis lazuli blue decorated with whitecalligraphic inscriptions.
The brilliance of coloring of the dome and minarets is emphasized by the Khaki-colored brick work below.
Lord Curzon, statesman and traveler, whose Persia and the Persian Question, published in1892, is a mine of individual information, described the Madrasa as (one of the stateliest ruins that I saw in Persia).
However, it has been skillfully restored and is still used as a mosque, though no longer as a seminary.

hasht behesht

The Hasht Behesht (The Eight Paradise Palazzo) is an octagonal structure, typical of many royal palaces in Isfahan. Commissioned by Shah Sulieman, it was built about 1669 (about A.H. 1081).
The garden, is visible at all times through the great arches, is an integral part of the structure.
The domed ceiling of the main reception room is painted in purple on a glittering gold base, while above the windows, in the lantern dome, fragments of mirror sparkle in the light.
Painting on the outer blind arches.
Painted tile designs of birds, animals, and hunting scenes, found on the spandrels of the outer blind arches, enliven the facades of the Hasht Behesht in Isfahan.
Hunting was a favorite pastime of the Shahs. Seven days before the court`s departure for a hunting trip the tents, rugs, gold services, and other prerequisites for the camp were sent off.
From five to seven thousand camels were needed to transport this equipage.
The splendor of these hunting camps may be judged from the fact that each nobleman was allotted some five hundred square feet for his tent. Under the silk-lined canopies were rooms for his harem, a bath, and a reception hall.
The interiors were carpeted, strewn with soft cushions and draped in shimmering brocades.
Pools and waterways adorned the site, and flowers blossomed in these (gardens for a day or two.)
The ceiling in a second floor reception room of the Hasht Behesht glistens with mirror decoration.
The Hasht Behesht enhanced Chardin, writing in 1676. (When one walks in this place expressly made for the delights of love, and when one passes through all these cabinets and niches, one`s heart is melted to such an extent that, to speak candidly, one always leaves with a very ill grace. The climate without doubt contributes much towards exciting this amorous disposition; but assuredly these places, although in some respects little more than cardboard castles, are nevertheless more smiling and agreeable than our most sumptuous palaces.)


The Bridge of Allahverdi Khan across the Zayandeh Rud is a continuation of Chahar Bagh, the principal street in Isfahan. Built at the beginning of the 17th century at the order of Shah Abbas, it is named after the general-a famous war- chief- who was put in charge of the work. It is also called the Bridge of 33 Arches, or Si-o-Se Pol.
It is 45 feet wide and 175 yards long but- although it is impressive looking- it does not have the same archaeological or aesthetic interest as the two other bridges farther downstream.
This bridge is located in the southern end of Chahar Bagh Avenue in Isfahan and was named after its founder. It is also known as Jolfa bridge.
The bridge is made of bricks and stones. It is 295 meters long and 13.75 meters wide. It is said that the bridge originally comprised 40 arches however this number gradually reduced to 33.
According to numerous historical references concerning the buildings constructed during Shah Abbas the Safavid in Isfahan, it is so conceived that the construction work of this bridge was completed concurrent with the construction of Chahar Bagh in 1596. This bridge is called Si-o-Se Pol (in Farsi meaning 33 bridges) because it embraces 33 arches.

  • Last visit to Esfahan: Oct 2002
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (31)

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Comments (12)

  • mvtouring's Profile Photo
    Aug 22, 2009 at 11:35 AM

    Stunning page with such great informative tips. thanks ;-)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Aug 18, 2009 at 1:40 PM

    Our television showed Rick Steve's, a traveler around the world came to Iran and this was one of the cites he showed the wonderful culture and people. Thank you from USA

  • kokoryko's Profile Photo
    Jun 2, 2009 at 2:06 PM

    There are beautiful things to see in Esfahan, Omid! I wish I can come over one day! I recently had to cancel a trip top Shiraz, but hope to do better next time. Wish you peaceful time in your beautiful country.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Nov 15, 2008 at 12:36 AM

    Salam aleykum, Omid! I see a lot of nice destination in Iran! I hope it is safe to travel there! Take care, my friend!

  • DunaKal's Profile Photo
    Oct 13, 2008 at 4:40 AM

    Thanx 4 dropping by! one day I will visit Iran.... ur daughter Donya looks cute mashallah!

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    May 11, 2008 at 7:48 AM

    Esfahan seems to be a true Iranian pearl! Good tips to share.

  • morne's Profile Photo
    Apr 28, 2008 at 12:09 PM

    Excellent tips on the museum and your photo's were great

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Apr 26, 2008 at 10:58 PM

    Esfahan is a beautiful town and I enjoyed my visit there very much!

  • yumyum's Profile Photo
    Mar 30, 2008 at 12:30 AM

    I remember this long bridge and also the the mosaiks of the blue tiled mosques. But I also remember that in 1985 it was to impossible to phone abroad so I missed phoning my mum on her birthday.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Nov 14, 2007 at 11:42 PM

    Just for the museums I must go to Esfahan as well, and of course for the bridges :-)) Gaz sounds very much delicious, but I might get addicted, haha :-)


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