Trip to Half of The World: Isfahan 2015, Ancient Capital of Persia Showcasing Arts Today

Trip to Half of The World: Isfahan 2015, Ancient Capital of Persia Showcasing Arts Today ... 10/05/2015 Fun, #2015, #Abbasi, #Abbasid, #Alighapoo, #Allah, #Armenian, #Bazaar, #Capital, #Esfahan, #Europe, #Firouzeh, #Hotaki, #Iran, #Iranian, #Iranian_artists, #Isfahan, #Isfahan_Province, #Islamic, #Jean_Chardin, #Jolfa, #Kashan, #Khaju, #Khaju_Bridge, #Khan, #Mardaviz, #Mardaviz_Ziari, #Marnan, #Mashhad, #Masood_Hosseini, #Mercedes, #Mir, #Mir_Masood_Hosseini, #Ostad, #Palaeolithic, #Persia, #Persian, #Qajar, #Rug, #Safavian, #Safavid, #Safavid_Empire, #Safavids, #Sassanian, #Sassanid, #Seljuk, #Sepahan, #Shah, #Shah_Abbas, #Shah_Mosque, #Shahrestan, #Sheikh, #Sheikh_Lotfollah_Mosque, #Tabriz, #Tehran, #UNESCO, #World_War_I, #Zagros, #Zagros_Mountains, #Zand, #Ziari

Isfahan is famous for its Islamic architecture, with many beautiful boulevards, covered bridges, palaces, mosques, and minarets. Persian proverb "Esfehan, Nesf-e Jahan” means Isfahan is half of the world. The ancient capital of the Safavian Persia stands tall against all tests of time with all its glory and marvels of arts, architecture, and culture.

Ceremonial Old-Mercedes Auto parked in front of the Shah-Abbasi Hotel in Isfahan

* * * The History:
The history of Isfahan can be traced back to the Palaeolithic period. In recent discoveries, archaeologists have found artifacts dating back to the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze and Iron ages.
It was ancient Median town named Gey (Jay), it was later known as Aspadana. In Sassanid Empire, the city was residence of 7 royal Iranian families called Espouheran. After the fall of the Sassanian Empire, Isfahan was conquered by Arabs in 641 and it was part of the Abbasid realm until 931 when it was liberated by Mardaviz Ziari and then it became the capital of Iran. It was a major city of the Seljuk dynasty (11th-13th centuries AD) and of the Safavid Empire (16th-18th centuries).

Isfahan Naghshe-Jahan-Square Sheikh-Lotfollah-Mosque Alighapoo, Shah Mosque

* * * However Isfahan’s golden age began in 1598 when Shah Abbas I made it his capital and rebuilt it into one of the 17th century's greatest cities. At its center he created the immense Maydan-e Shah, or Royal Square, a great rectangular garden enclosing the Masjid-e Shah (Royal Mosque). In 1722 Afghans took the city, and it went into decline. Recovery began in the 20th century, and it is now a major tourist center.
During the time of Abbas and on Isfahan was very famous in Europe, and many European travelers made an account of their visit to the city, such as Jean Chardin.

Traditional Iranian Rug-Carpet Bags at the Isfahan Bazaar

* * * Historically also rendered in English as Ispahan, Sepahan, Esfahan or Hispahan, it is the capital of Isfahan Province in Iran, located about 340 kilometers south of Tehran. It has a population of 1,583,609 and is Iran’s third largest city after Tehran and Mashhad.
Isfahan’s Bridges are main attractions of the city:
The Zayande River starts in the Zagros Mountains, flows from west to east through the heart of Isfahan, and dries up in the Kavir desert.
The bridges over the river include some of the finest architecture in Isfahan. The oldest bridge is the "Pol-e Shahrestan", which was probably built in the 1100s during the Seljuk period. Further upstream is the "Pol-e Khaju", which was built by Shah Abbas II in 1650. It is 123 metres long with 24 arches, and also serves as a sluice gate.
The next bridge is the "Pol-e Jubi". It was originally built as an aqueduct to supply the palace gardens on the north bank of the river.

The Zayanerood-River flows under the Isfahan’s Siosepol-Bridge

* * * Further upstream again is the Si-o-Seh Pol or bridge of 33 arches. Built during the rule of Shah Abbas the Great, it linked Isfahan with the Armenian suburb of Jolfa. It is by far the longest bridge in Isfahan at 295 m. Also called the Allah-Verdi Khan Bridge, it is highly ranked as being one of the most famous examples of Safavid bridge design.
Other bridges include:
Pol-e Shahrestan (The Shahrestan bridge)
Marnan Bridge
Pol-e Khaju (Khaju Bridge) – 1650.
Si-o-Seh Pol (The Bridge of 33 Arches) – 1602.
Pol-e-Joui or Choobi (Joui bridge). – 1665
Palaces & Mansions of Isfahan:
Hasht Behesht meaning "Eight Paradises" is a Safavid era palace in Isfahan.
It was built in 1669. Of more than forty mansions which existed in Isfahan during the rule of Safavids, this is the only one left today.

Hasht-Behesht-Palace Pool & Garden Complex located at the historical city of Isfahan

* * * Ali Qapu Palace:
Âli Qapı, meaning "High Porte") is a grand palace in Isfahan, Iran. It is located on the western side of the Naqsh e Jahan Square, opposite to Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, and had been originally designed as a vast portal. It is forty-eight meters high and there are seven floors, each accessible by a difficult spiral staircase. In the sixth floor, Music Hall, deep circular niches are found in the walls, having not only aesthetic value, but also acoustic.

Horse Carriage Touring the Naghsh-e-Jahan-Square in Isfahan in front of the Ali-Qapu_Palace

* * * Isfahan Bazaar of Persian Arts
Kashi-Kari: The tile work is a unique feature of the blue mosques of Iran. In the old days, Kashan (kash + an) which literally means "land of tiles") and Tabriz were the two famous centers of Iranian mosaic and tile industry.

Kashi-Kari:_Tile artworks on window shops of Isfahan

* * * Persian Carpets: The art of rug weaving in has its roots in the culture and customs of its people and their instinctive feelings. Weavers mix elegant patterns with a myriad of colors. The Iranian carpet is similar to the Persian garden: full of florae, birds, and beasts.
The colors are usually made from wild flowers, and are rich in colors such as burgundy, navy blue, and accents of ivory. The proto-fabric is often washed in tea to soften the texture, giving it a unique quality. Depending on where the rug is made, patterns and designs vary. And some rugs, such as Gabbeh, and Gelim have a variations in their textures and number of knots as well. Out of about 2 million Iranians who work in the trade, 1.2 million are weavers producing the largest amount of hand woven aritistic carpets in the world. exported $517 million worth of carpets in 2002.

Persian-Carpet_Themed_Handbags on display at a shop in

* * * Metalwork (Ghalam-zani)
Engraving is a term, relatively rare in English, for artistic metalworking, by hammering gold or silver (or other materials), engraving, Repoussé and chasing to form minute detailed reliefs or small engraved patterns.

Ghalam-Zani:Copper, Silver, Metal Artworks in Isfahan

* * * Mina-kari:
Enamel working and decorating metals with colorful and baked coats is one of the distinguished courses of art in Isfahan. Mina, is defined as some sort of glasslike colored coat which can be stabilized by heat on different metals particularly copper. Although this course is of abundant use industrially for producing metal and hygienic dishes, it has been paid high attention by painters, goldsmiths and metal engravers since long times ago. In the world, it is categorized into three kinds as below:
Painting enamel
Charkhaneh or chess like enamel
Cavity enamel.
What of more availability in Isfahan is the painting enamel of which a few have remained in the museums of Iran and abroad indicting that Iranian artists have been interested in this art and used it in their metal works since the Achaemenian and the Sassanid dynasties. The enamels being so delicate, we do not have many of them left from the ancient times. Some documents indicate that throughout the Islamic civilization of and during the Seljuk, Safavid and Zand dynasties there have been outstanding enameled dishes and materials. Most of the enameled dishes related to the past belong to the Qajar dynasty between the years 1810–1890 AD. There have also remained some earrings. Bangles, boxes, water pipe heads, vases, and golden dishes with beautiful paintings in blue and green colors from that time, Afterwards, fifty years of stagnation caused by the World War I and the social revolution followed. However, again the enamel red color, having been prepared, this art was fostered from the quantity and quality points of view through the attempts bestowed by Ostad Shokrollah Sani'e zadeh, the outstanding painter of Isfahan in 1935 and up to then for forty years.
Now after a few years of stagnation since 1992, this art has started to continue its briskness having a lot of distinguished artists working in this field. To prepare an enameled dish, the following steps are used. First, choose the suitable dish by the needed size and shape which is usually made by a coppersmith. Then, it is bleached through enameled working which is known as the first coat. It is then put into a seven hundred and fifty degree furnace. At this stage, the enameled metal will be coated with better enamels a few more times and again reheated. The dish is then ready to be painted. The Isfahanian artists, having been inspired by their traditional plans as arabesque, khataii (flowers and birds) and using fireproof paints and special brushes, have made painting of Isfahan monuments such as step, the enameled material is put into the furnace again and heated at five hundred degrees. This causes the enameled painting to be stabilized on the undercoat, creating a special "shining" effect. Most of today's enamel workings are performed on dishes, vases, boxes and frames in various size.

Isfahan Artworks Mina-kari Window-Shopping

* * * Firouzeh-Koobi is a lesser known form of Iranian arts in which precious stones such as firouzeh are applied to the surface

A window shop in Isfahan showing Persian Artworks: Firouzeh-Koobi

* * *
Isfahan has been designated by UNESCO as a world heritage. It's a must-see place before you die. Beware of some Hotaki generation merchants though.
Mir Masood Hosseini

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