Isfahan, Old Persian Aspadana, the capital of Isfahan Province, is the Iran’s third largest city after Tehran and Mashhad. This amazing patch of heaven, which is called by Persians as “half of the world”, has imperishable roots in history, unique pearls in architecture and exquisite paragons of art and handicrafts.
As a bright star in the sky of human civilization, the existence of Isfahan can be traced back to the prehistoric periods. Ancient Isfahan was part of the Elamite Empire and it became one of the principal towns of the Median dynasty, when Iranian Medes settled there. Subsequently the province became part of the Achaemenid Empire and after the liberation of Iran from Macedonian occupation it became part of Parthian Empire. In the Sassanid era, Isfahan was a military centre with strong fortifications. In the reign of Malik Shah I of the Seljuk dynasty, Isfahan was selected as capital. After being raided and massacred by the Mongols in the 13th century, followed by Timur in 1387, this city, as the result of its suitable geographic situation, flourished again especially in Safavid dynasty. Even today, the city retains much of its past glory.
Once being one of the largest cities in the world, Isfahan experienced its golden age in the 16th century under Shah Abbas the Great (1587-1629), who made it the new capital of the Safavid dynasty. Isfahan is a dazzling gem because of its Islamic architecture with many beautiful boulevards, covered bridges, palaces, mosques and minarets. The Naghsh-i-Jahan Square is designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Other distinctive examples are mosques such as Imam Mosque, Jame Mosque and Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque, palaces like Chehel Sotoun, Hasht Behesht and Aliqapu, bridges such as Khaju Bridge and Si-o-se pol Bridge and many other brilliant instances of flourished architecture of Isfahan.
As a well-known center of art creation Isfahan...