Isfahan (or Es·fa·han (ĕs’fə-hän’, Persian: اصفهان) is a city in central Iran, south of Tehran and is the capital of Esfahan Province. The Persians call it “Nesf-e-Jahan”, meaning “Half The World”. Due to its beautiful hand-painted tiling and magnificent public square, it is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. An ancient town and capital of Persia from 1598 to 1722, it was long noted for its fine carpets and silver filigree. Today, textile and steel mills take their place. Its architecture, tree-lined boulevards and relaxed pace make it one of the highlights of Iran.
• Ālī Qāpū(The Royal Palace) – Early 17th Century. It is forty-eight metres high and there are seven floors, each accessible by a difficult spiral staircase. In the sixth floor music room, deep circular niches are found in the walls, having not only aesthetic value, but also acoustic. It is rich in naturalistic wall paintings by Reza Abbassi, the court painter of Shah Abbas I, and his pupils. There are floral, animal and bird motifs.
• Talar Ashraf (The Palace of Ashraf) – 1650.
• Hasht Behesht (The Palace of Eight Paradises) – 1669: Reportedly built for residence purposes of the King’s harem.
• Chehel Sotoun (The Palace of forty columns) – 1647: It is called Palace of forty columns, as there are many columns, and in Iranian, 40 means many. Incidentally, there are twenty columns, and these are reflected in the pool in front, which might also account for its name. The function of this palace was for holding religious-national ceremonies and royal festivals and for receiving royal ambassadors and guests.
Walk along the Zayanderud River beside the ancient bridges. You see many locals doing this everyday. However, as a result of a drought and badly planned dam, there is usually no water in the river.
• Pol-e Shahrestan (The Shahrestan Bridge) – 11th Century. It is one of the oldest surviving bridges in Iran, built in the 14th Century (C.E.).
• Pol-e Khaju (Khaju Bridge) – 1650. It is the finest bridge in the province of Esfahan.It was built by the Persian Safavid king, Shah Abbas II around 1650 C.E. This structure originally was ornated with artistic tile works and paintings serving as a teahouse
• Si-o-Seh Pol (The Bridge of 33 Arches) – 1602. It is highly ranked as being one of the most famous examples of Safavid bridge design.
• Pol-e-Joui or choobi(Joui bridge)It is one of Isfahan’s oldest bridges and was built in 1665, during the Safavid era.
• Pol-e-Maarnaan (Maarnaan Bridge)
• Atashgah – a Zoroastrian fire temple. This small reconstructed temple and ruins are dramatically set atop a rock on the outskirts of Isfahan and provide a commanding view of the smog-covered city. You can take one of the blue buses there (ask the drivers). Alternatively you can cycle the 15 km from the city along the river bank. Entry: IRR 150,000 for foreigners. Free for Iranians.
• Buqe’h-ye Ibn-Sina (Avicenna’s Dome) – 12th Century.
• The Tombs of Nizam al-Mulk & Malek Shah – 12th & 18th Century.
• Jolfa – The Armenian Quarter, it includes one of the most beautiful churches in Iran.
• Sheikh Bahai Bathhouse – falling apart due to neglect.
• Pigeon Towers – Built in the 17th century to attract pigeons, whose feces were then used as fertilizer.
• Hamam-e (Bathhouse) Ali Gholi Agha located in a pleasantly quiet neighborhood with many silver and bronze smiths.