Since ancient times, the kings of various dynasties were interested in Isfahan province for being the center of government and now tourists are looking forward to visiting this Safavid-era architecture masterpiece, the jewel of ancient Persia and one of the finest cities in the Islamic world.
Of all the dazzling and gorgeous historical monuments one can mention of Isfahan, the Naghsh-e Jahan Square (known as Imam Square by many locals) stands above as a veritable museum of Islamic architecture.
Situated in the center of Isfahan and registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the awesome square is one of the largest city squares in the world and an outstanding example of Iranian and Islamic architecture.
This magnificent square is home to some of the most majestic buildings in the Islamic world. The huge, open square owes much to the vision of Shah Abbas the Great whose reign was the zenith of the most beautiful and inspiring art and architecture.
Flanked by the finest jewels of the Safavid empire – unmatched Imam Mosque, the stylish Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, the gracious Ali Qapu Palace and the stunning Qeysariyeh Bazaar on four sides, the Square, once used as a great polo field with its goal posts still stand today, is the most evident place for savoring the high refinements of Persian culture that surely motivate you to come back again and again.
All these exquisite monuments along with the expansive bazaar demand as much of your time as you can spare, particularly in the souvenir shops, which occupy the spaces on either side of the arched arcades. The Square is the most valuable place for walking and sightseeing, drinking tea and chatting to locals in the marvelous teahouses as well as having an enjoyable ride by the horse-drawn carriages (phaetons) around the square, reminding someone of those happy old days.
The square is best visited in the late afternoon and early evening when local families flood in to outnumber the Iranian and foreign tourists. This is also when the fountains in the rectangular pool in the center are turned on, the light softens and the splendid architecture of the perimeter is illuminated.
Such is Isfahan’s grandeur, the Naghsh-e Jahan Square in particular, that it is easy to agree with the famous half rhyme Isfahan Nesf-e Jahan (Isfahan is half of the world).
Calling Naghsh-e Jahan Square a great symphony, Iranian great architect, Mohammad Pirnia spoke of the square as a symbol of Iranian world and a big step in Iranian architecture which displays culture and belief similarity.