IRAN – 1974 … part three

It’s a real pleasure for me to tell you about the third-largest city in Iran, I remember as one of the most beautiful ones I have ever seen … ISFAHAN! It is located some 340 km south of Tehran and has has a population of 1,573,378 (according of Wikipedia estimation).

When we arrived at the city after the about three and a half hour drive from Qum, the first and absolutely stunning and unforgettable impression was this huge and incredibly beautiful “Naghsh-i Jahan Square” with the lake, one of the largest city-squares in the world and the largest in Western Asia … I will never forget this picture! All the surrounding buildings were reflected in the clear blue water of the lake with the gorgeous picture of the “Shah Mosque” on the south side, the “Sheikh Lotfullah Mosque” to the east and the incredible “Ali Qapu Palace” to the west! I wish you all could see that picture … it was almost surrealistic! Stunningly beautiful … to say the least!

The Shah Mosque was built during the Safavid period, an excellent example of Islamic Architecture in Persia(Iran). It has been constructed in 1611. It’s most splendid features are the seven-color mosaic tiles and valuable inscriptions. The magnificent portal of the mosque measuring 27 meters in hight is crowned with two beautiful minarets standing 42 meters tall and frames the front of the mosque which opens into Naqsh-e Jahan square.

The Safavides, a native dynasty, reunited Iran in the early 16th century and reached the highest point in the reign of Shah Abbas I the Great (1587-1629). He moved the capital to Isfahan, ancient Aspadana and in an exceptional illustration of Iranian town-planning, reorganized the whole city in a series of interlinked squares according to theg randest plans conceivable.

Sheikh Lotfullah Mosque was dedicated to Shah Abbas father-in-law, Sheikh Lotfollah, a holy preacher. When you enter the mosque, you can recognize a peacock under the dome. During certain times of the day, the sunlight enhances the peacock’s tail which allows you to recognize the time of the day! When you go to the center of the mosque, the peacock disappears.

Ali Qapu, Azerbaijani Turkish for “High Gate” is a grand palace in Isfahan and an absolutely magnificent place! The name was given to this place as it was right at the entrance to the Safavid palaces which stretched from the Maidan Naqsh-i-Jahan to the Chahār Bāgh Boulevard. The building, another wonderful Safavid edifice, was built by decree of Shah Abbas the Great in the early seventeenth century. It was here that the great monarch used to entertain noble visitors, and foreign ambassadors. Shah Abbas, here for the first time celebrated the Now-Ruz (New Year’s Day) of 1006 AH / 1597 A.D. A large and massive rectangular structure, the Ālī Qāpū is 48 meters high and has six floors, fronted with a wide terrace whose ceiling is inlaid and supported by wooden columns.

Shah Abbas II was enthusiastic about the embellishment and perfection of Ālī Qāpū. His chief contribution was given to the magnificent hall, the constructures on the third floor. The 18 columns of the hall are covered with mirrors and its ceiling is decorated with great paintings.

During the time we were in Isfahan, sadly enough Ali Qapu was closed due to structural instabilitiy and I didn’t get to personally see it from inside! Here are some more pictures about this marvel …


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