City Guide: Uncover the beauties of Esfehan
Our contributor Sabrina Sadozai, back from Ispahan made us a special city guide to uncover the beauties of this amazing Persian city we call: Esfehan, Nesf e Jahan (Half of the world). Here are her words and beautiful photos that will make you travel from Paris to Esfehan:
Esfoon, as the locals say, is one of the cities not to miss when you plan to visit Iran. Located in the south of Teheran, the former capital is mainly known for its famous rose but also for its wonderful historical monuments, huge parks and traditional houses turned into hotels and restaurants visited by tourists from all around the world.
Enter the heart of the turquoise city with this guide that will help you discover the magnificent places to see and secret addresses that you do not want to miss.
1) Meydane Nakhsh e Jahan: UNESCO‘s world heritage
Abbas the 1st named this square like the world when he built it five centuries ago. At the time of the Shah this place was known as the King’s square, but since the revolution we call it the Imam’s square.
2) The Bazaar
All around Imam’s square, you can stroll through the galleries. Inside, you will find traditional products such as : miniatures, jewelry, clothes and shoes, paintings, spices and many other Persian delights.
3) Ali Qapu
While walking, at the west side of those aisles you will find Ali Qapu’s palace. Be ready to be blown away by discovering the «music room”.
4) Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque
In front of Ali Qapu, you come face to face with Sheikh Lotfa’s Mosque.
5) Isfahan’s carpets
Before leaving Nakhsh e Jahan’s square neighborhood, visit the «Esfahan Carpet Center» located behind the Bazaar. You will find the most beautiful silk carpets including Sarraf Mamory carpets, the most famous ones.
7) Shahrzad Restaurant
Enjoy a fine lunch in a magical setting offered by one of the best restaurants of the city located on Chahar Bagh Abbasi Street, right after the Si-o-seh pol. For dessert, do not miss the «shole zard», the persian version of rice milk based of saffron and pistachio.
No one can quit Esfahan without having tasted the succulent «Beryani», the typical meal of the region. Go to Kamal Esmaeel Street and enter to Azam Beryani, restaurant renowned for its beryani that you can eat in or take away.
9) Jolfa : the Armenian district
We can think that we are in London or New-York, yet we are in the heart of Jolfa’s district, the place to be for all the fashion people that meet in coffee shops located in Jolfa’s square. The brunch at Hermes Café is a must.
10) Vank Cathedral
Do not miss the Armenian church and take the time to admire the marvelous frescoes. Learn more about the history of the Armenians of Iran by visiting the museum located inside.
11) Shah Abbas Hotel
Drink a tea in the garden of the prestigious Shah Abbas Hotel located on Chahar Bagh Street. The play of traditional music and the sound of the water falling from fountains offer a peaceful and idyllic atmosphere to gather with family and friends. If you go there from 6pm for asroone, teatime snack in Persian, you will have the chance to order an «Ash Reshte», Persian noodle soupe served by these gentlemen coming from the Safavid era.
12) Sofeh Mountain
Ride upon the heights of the city to relax. Sofeh mountain is the perfect place to enjoy a panoramic view of Isfahan, especially at night. We can go for morning walk and admire the sunrise, have a picnic and eat breakfast below the hill, take the cable to the top of the mountain to visit the museum or go to the Bowling Center.
13) Isfahan City Center
Go shopping in this new and modern mall with its unique design. The «Isfahan City Center» which is located in the south of the city, is the only one in the country to have a museum and an art gallery inside.