Imam Square (Meidan Emam)

The Royal Square of Esfahan is a monument of Persian socio-cultural life during the Safawid period (until 1722). It is an urban phenomenon which is an exception in Iran where the cities are ordinarily tightly parcelled without spatial fluidity, the exception being the interior courts of the caravanserais. It is an example of the form of naturally vulnerable urban architecture.

The Shah of the Iranian dynasty of the Safawids, Abbas, who reigned from 1587 to 1628, chose as his capital Esfahan, which he magnificently embellished and remodelled. The centre of the city was accented by a vast Royal Square (Meidan-e Shah) which was so beautiful and so large that it was called 'The Image of the World'.

It is bordered on each side by four monumental buildings linked by a series of two-storey arcades: to the north, the Portia of Qeyssariyeh (1602-19), to the south, the Royal Mosque (1612-30), to the east, the Mosque of Sheyx Loffollah (1602-18) and to the west, the pavilion of Ali Qapu, a small Timurid palace (15th century), enlarged and decorated by the shah and his successors.

Of particular interest is the Royal Mosque, which is grafted on to the south side of the square by means of deep and immense sectioned porch. It is crowned by a half dome, whose interior walls are dressed with enamelled faïence mosaics, bound by two minarets, and prolonged to the south by an iwan (three-sided, vaulted hall open at one end), leading to an interior courtyard that describes a right angle. Thus, it is that, although it is in part on a north/south axis, the mosque is, in keeping with tradition, nonetheless, oriented north-east/south-east.

Nearest Hotels

Ali Qapu Hotel

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This elegant 4 star hotel is designed in a traditional Persian style and located on one of Isfahan’s most famous and historical streets called “chahar bagh”. It is walking distance to many of the historical sites of the city and surrounded by shops and restaurants.

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