Previously the capital of Iran in the 11th century and then later the 16th century, a walk around the historical centre of Esfahan is like a walk around an outdoor museum.
Previously the capital of Iran in the 11th century and then later the 16th century, a walk around the historical centre of Esfahan is like a walk around an outdoor museum. With most attractions within easy walking distance of each other through beautiful tree lined roads, UNESCO listed squares, ancient bazaars and picturesque arched bridges (11 to be precise), Esfahan quickly becomes a highlight of anyone’s trip to Iran.
The most impressive site is the UNESCO World Heritage site Naqsh-e Jahan Square. Once a popular space for polo (the goal posts are still there to this day), the majority of what you see here is what would’ve been present in its hay day. Climb to the 6th floor of the covered bazaar, the Kakh-e Ali Qapu, for amazing views over the square, the Masjed-e Shah mosque and the Masjed-e Sheikh Lotfollah which has the most incredible tiled dome inside.
Jolfa is the Armenian Quarter of Esfahan and is fascinating as it’s completely different to the Muslim culture you see in the rest of Iran. Shah Abbas I moved a community of Armenian Christians from the town of Jolfa (near the Iranian border) to Esfahan and named their new home “New Jolfa”. There are still around 5000 Christians living here and we recommend a visit to one of their churches, Church of Saint Joseph of Arimathea. There is also a museum here dedicated to the more recent Armenian Genocide of 1914 which is very moving.