Top 5 places to visit in Isfahan
Top 5 places to visit in Isfahan during your tavel to Iran.
Isfahan is Iran’s top tourist destination and it’s easy to see why. Ancient Islamic architecture, Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Gorgeous Bridges and Plenty of Hidden Locations and Food To Discover.
Isfahan (or Esfahan) is the third biggest city in Iran. One of it’s most cultural important. Serving as a capital at various times in Iran’s long past. At one stage Isfahan was the biggest city on Earth but now it is a relevantly quiet town known around the world for its beautiful architecture and breathtaking public spaces. With three UNESCO World Heritage sites, a myriad of food options to explore, some of the biggest and most beautiful mosques in the world and relatively little tourism. Isfahan should be top of every travelers list in Iran.
Imam Square (Shah Square or Naqsh-e Jahan Square)
While dotted with many of the marvelous attractions of Isfahan, the Naqsh-e Jahan Square deserves a mention in its own right. If not because it is one of the biggest public plaza’s in the world.
Built to symbolize the importance of Isfahan in the Safavid Empire. Not much has changed except the addition of horse-drawn carriages, a beautiful fountain and hoards of tourist shops. You can’t avoid this square even if you wanted to but is best visited in the late afternoon or evening when Iranian families and couples come out to enjoy it’s splendor and the light is more mallow.
Shah Mosque (Masjed-e Shah, Masjed-e Immam)
The centre point of the city, Masjed-e Shah Mosque otherwise known as the Abbasi Great Mosque is elegant and iconic and by far the biggest building on the square.
The entrance gate provides plenty of stunning photo opportunities but considering there are many other beautiful mosque in Isfahan, you can probably skip going in this one if you want to avoid a hefty entrance fee.
Simply wander around through the main entrance at sunset and into the internal courtyard when it is free. Don’t disrupt those going to pray, but you will get an incredible vantage point from which to admire the iconic blue tiling and overwhelming stature of Masjed-e Shah Mosque.
The beautiful Vank Cathedral, formally known as the The Holy Savior Cathedral, stands at the heart of the Armenian Quarter, which entrance by a discreet wooden door. Hidden away behind high walls to avoid offending the Islamic rulers over the centuries.
All can be seen is a small cross on a done similar to a mosque but once inside you there is plenty of glorious wall paintings and a interesting collection of bibles.
If you have never been inside an Armenian Church the Vank Cathedral is the perfect place, if you can catch it when it’s open between baptisms and weddings.
Locally known as Bazar-e Bozorg, the historic and seemingly endless Isfahan Grand Bazaar spreads all the way from Naqsh-e Jahan Square through to Masjed-e Jame Quite the distance.
Open from 8 am til 9pm. The best time to visit the Isfahan Bazaar is mid-morning if you want to experience hustle and bustle.
Make sure to admire the gorgeous brick-arches, stop by a carpet shop to admire to learn about the ancient history of Persian carpets and pick up some saffron from the spice markets to take home.
You can easily lose half a day here, and the best way to see it is to simply wander.
Chehel Sotun Palace
Overlooked by many travelers, the Chehel Sotun Palace is actually a UNESCO World Heritage site. As it exemplifies Persian garden design and evolution since the 6th century BC.
Always divided into four sections, following the Zoroastrian principles of earth, sky, water and planet coming together to produce Eden. The Chehel Sotun Palace is a perfect representation of this with its beautifully preserved palace, long reflection pool and quiet side gardens.
Feel at peace amongst the tranquil and perfectly symmetrical gardens and elegant palace terrace. A wonder of the world not to be missed from any list of things to do in Isfahan.
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