ISFAHAN

The Chihil Sutun
The Chihil Sutun
A ceremonial palace completed by Shah Abbas II in 1647. It was used to entertain visors - Europeans have described long, lavish and riotous parties that were given there by Abbas II.
  • A ceremonial palace completed by Shah Abbas II in 1647. It was used to entertain visors - Europeans have described long, lavish and riotous parties that were given there by Abbas II.
  • Wall painting showing Shah Abbas I - in flowery yellow with the biggest moustache - receiving Wali Muhammad Khan Uzbek in his court at Isfahan. Pained around 1647 (under Abbas II)
  • Detal of painting showing Shah Tamasp I receiving King Homayoon of India.
  • Mirrored mosaic ceiling over the entrance to the palace. Supposedly such ceings were designed to use all the fragments of mirrors that got broken in transit from Europe!
  • One of 5 bridges in Isfahan. This one was built around 1600 by Allahverdi Khan, the Shah's most trusted general, for Abbas I. It has 33 arches and is more than 300 yards in length.
  • Abbas I transported thousands of Armenian families from Julfa in Azerbaijan to Isfahan. They were allowed to build churches and worship as Christians - as their descendants still do. Supposedly, the Shah wanted these hard-working and thrifty artisans to be an inspration to his subjects! The cathedral was begun in 1606 - but is today clad in modern brickwork. In the dark interior are many stomach-churning scenes of torture and suffering.
  • Mannequins modelling approved Islamic dress for the modern woman.
  • ... and the well-dressed male!
  • The great square - "as spacious and pleasant and aromatic a market as any in the universe" - the 20-acre centrepiece of Abbas' city. It became a polo-ground in the evening: the marble goal-posts are still in place.
  • The hotel stands on the site of a caravanserai built at the expense of the mother of Shah Sultan Husain (around 1706-14) in the grounds of a Madrasa she endowed (Madraseh-yi-Madar-i-Shah). Her son was decipitated in the Madrasa by the Afghans. The dome of the Madrasa can be seen.
  • Modern plaque commemorating the foundation of the Armenian cathedral.
  • Relaxing
  • Part of the pre-Abbas city. The Masjid-i-Jami was built under the Seljuqs and added to by the Mongols
  • Calligraphic tiles
  • Formerly the Royal Mosque (Masjid-i-Shah). Abbas I's major project - in his hurry to get in finished he cut a number of corners, including using the cheaper 7-colour tiles.
  • Photographed from the Maidan.
  • Fountains!
  • Another view of the dome.
  • Young visitors
  • Built by Abbas I to honour his father-in-law.