Friday, January 09, 2015

Beautiful Isfahan

Isfahan is located at the junction of the main north-south and east-west routes crossing Iran, was the capital of Persia under the Safavid Dynasty, and was one of the largest cities in the world.  It still retain some of the most beautiful architecture.  

The Si-o-se Pol (33 Bridge, Bridge of 33 Arches) is a 300 meter bridge on the Zayandeh River running through Isfahan.  It was built by Shah Abbas I’s chancellor, an ethnic Georgian.  At one point, Georgia was ruled by Persia and a large number of Georgians were settled in Persia.  Legend has it that 33 arches were put in the bridge because Jesus Christ died when He was 33 years old.  It is beautiful during the day and stunning at night.  

The story behind the bridge testifies to the power of the Persian Empire, the rich ethnic composition, as well as religious tolerance.  

The Naqsh-e Jahan Square is as huge as it is pretty.  It is a rectangle with a landmark mosque or palace on each side.  It is lined with interesting shops all around, and linked to the Imperial Bazaar.  One can spend days wandering the shops here selling carpets, sweets, handicrafts, …

On the south side is the Masjed-e Shah (Shah Mosque, Imam Mosque).  It is a masterpiece of Persian architecture and depicted on bank notes. 

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