Isfahan to offer off the beaten routes

February 22, 2022 - 21:16

TEHRAN – Isfahan tourism directorate plans to formulate novel itineraries to be proposed to potential travelers to the historical Iranian province.   

On Monday, provincial tourism chief Alireza Izadi stressed the need to define new travel routes on the backbone of cultural tourism in Isfahan, CHTN reported on Tuesday.

“New tracks for tourism will be defined based on the texture and historical monuments to introduce the unknown attractions of Isfahan, which is the capital of culture and civilization in the Islamic Iran…,” the official noted.

The official made the remarks during his visit to the UNESCO-registered Jameh Mosque of Isfahan well-known as a museum of architectural styles.

Also known as Atiq Mosque,  the place of worship is the oldest preserved edifice of its type in Iran and a prototype for later mosque designs throughout Central Asia. UNESCO has it that the mosque can be seen as a stunning illustration of the evolution of mosque architecture over twelve centuries.

Last month, the Isfahan pavilion at the 15th Tehran International Tourism Exhibition offered free-of-charge virtual tours of untold stories of the ancient city. It turned the spotlight on the Leaning Tower of Isfahan, newly-discovered historical places, golden room, European consulate, pre-Edison street lighting, Room of the Queen of England in Iran, European neighborhood in Iran, 400-year-old ‘peacock’, a German heritage in Iran, secrets behind geometrical patterns, missing clock tower, a model of Amsterdam, a Guinness-assessed mosque, and the mystery of 33 to name a few.

Half the world?

Soaked in a rich history, Isfahan was once a crossroad of international trade and diplomacy in Iran and now it is one of Iran’s top tourist destinations for good reasons.

It is filled with many architectural wonders such as unmatched Islamic buildings, bazaars, museums, Persian gardens, and tree-lined boulevards. It's a city for walking, getting lost in its mazing bazaars, dozing in beautiful gardens, and meeting people.

Isfahan is renowned not only for the abundance of great historical bridges but also for its ‘life-giving river’, the Zayandeh-Rood, which has long bestowed the city an original beauty and fertility.

Isfahan has long been nicknamed as Nesf-e-Jahan which is translated into “half the world”; meaning seeing it is relevant to see half the world. In its heyday, it was also one of the largest cities in the region with a population of nearly one million.

The cool blue tiles of Isfahan's Islamic buildings, and the city's majestic bridges, contrast perfectly with the encircling hot, dry Iranian countryside.

The huge Imam Square, best known as Naghsh-e Jahan Sq. (literary meaning “Image of the World”), is one of the largest in the world (500m by 160m), and a majestic example of town planning. Constructed in the early 17th century, the UNESCO-registered square is punctuated with the most interesting sights in Isfahan.

It was laid out under the reign of the Safavid ruler, Shah Abbas the Great, to signal the importance of Isfahan as the capital of his powerful empire. It is hemmed on four sides by magnificent buildings: to the east, the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque; to the west, the palace of Ali Qapu; to the north, the portico of Qeysarieh; and to the south, the eminent Imam Mosque.

“The square was at the heart of the Safavid capital’s culture, economy, religion, social power, government, and politics. Its vast sandy esplanade was used for celebrations, promenades, and public executions, for playing polo and for assembling troops,” according to the UNESCO website.

Right at the northern limit of the Imam Square, one will find “Qeysarieh Gate”, which leads to the unique and unforgettable “Grand Bazaar of Isfahan”. This vaulted marketplace is one of the largest and most labyrinthine bazaars in the country. Shops offering handicrafts, souvenirs, jewelry, silverware, traditional ceramics, and authentic Persian carpets.

On its outskirts, modern Isfahan is now home to some heavy industries, including steel factories and a uranium processing center, however, its inner core has somehow been preserved as a priceless gem.  Also, Isfahan is a destination for medical tourism as it embraces an all-inclusive professional healthcare city.


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