In Isfahan, there is a district named Tabriziha (Tabriz is a
city in the north-west of Iran). The reason for this is that, during
Safavid-era, Shah Abbas moved his capital from Tabriz to Isfahan then his
acquaintances immigrated to Isfahan.
Shah Abbas helped to build a district in Isfahan
so the emigrants could reside there. Saeb Tabrizi is one of the immigrants who
moved to Isfahan with Shah Abbas. He is
known as one of the greatest sonneteer of his century and the most famous poet
The Heart of Saeb Is the Shrine of Mystics
On Saeb street, alongside a Canal named Niasarm is the tomb
of Saeb. After walking through a beautiful garden, a monumental building comes
into view. A cubic marble stone is laid under this monument. On its surface a
beautifully carved poem can be seen. The poem translates into: the heart of
Saeb is the shrine of mystics
Aesthetics of Saeb Monument Brings Out the Peace
The decorative style of Saeb Monument is a combination of
marble plinth, inlaid mosaic and mirrorwork. Behind his tomb there is a
selection of his poems inscribed on five different panels of tilework with
The Life of Mirza Mohammad Ali Saeb
During his life, Mirza Mohammad Ali Saeb Tabrizi composed over 200,000 lines of poetry. Today, less than half of his poems have survived. The style of his poetry is called Indian. This style is composed in the rhyme scheme of Masnavi (a poetic style). His book of Masnavi is called “Ghandharnameh” which consists of poems about the battle of Shah Abbas in Ghandhar conquest. High level of understanding of the meanings of the universe is required to compose a poem with several concepts. He holds the title of ‘’Malek-ol-Shoara’’ (the outstanding poet) for his spiritual and elegant thoughts.
Saeb Tabrizi Monument, Saeb Street, Isfahan, Iran
Rakib Khane Mansion Through Time
This building was
constructed over the ruins of a Safavid palace named: “Jobbeh Khaneh”.
During Shah Abbas the first reign, king of Safavid dynasty, this iconic mansion
was constructed. Through Qajar era this mansion was in residency of the rulers
of Isfahan and its basement was used as a prison. It was also home to Zelol Sultan who was famous for the destructions that happened under his
orders. This is one of the rare buildings that wasn’t destroyed by Zelol
Sultan. During Pahlavi dynasty it
first belonged to the governor and later it turned into civil registration
What Does Rakib Khane Mean?
Currently, this mansion
is known as the museum of decorative art which is also named Historical mansion
of Rakib Khane. Rakib Khane is a word that is used for the places which hold
the horse riding equipment. This mansion is located in the cultural context of
the Isfahan city near the palaces of Ali-Qapo and Chehel Sotun.
Special Features of Rakib Khane
The remaining columns of
this palace are moved to Chehel Sotun Palace. The mansion’s courtyard is
surrounded by beautiful gardens giving it a fascinating mood with calming
atmosphere. On one of the sides of this mansion there is a tower that gives it
a sophisticated design. The special architecture designs such as stucco work
and mirror works are the highlights of this historic house. 3000 historical
pieces are held in this museum which belong to different dynasties along
7 main sections of the museum
- Calligraphy and handwritten books
- Lacquered and oil Art works
- Braid making and traditional embroidery works
- Metal works
- Glassware, pottery and Chinese
- Wood works including wood joints and wood
Saturday- Wednesday: 8:30 – 13:30
Thursday: 8:30 – 12:30
Museum of Decorative Arts, Ostandari Street, Isfahan, Iran
(+98) 31 3221 8606
Hakim Mosque is the third
Jam-e Mosque of Isfahan with a fourth-porch design. This mosque has a notable
style of ornamentation. Hakim Mosque’s main courtyard is about 3200 square
meters. It has four main portals each with their own significant
The History of Hakim Mosque from Jam-e Jorjir
Hakim Mosque is a
substitute for Jam-e Jorjir Mosque. Jorjir Mosque was built on the order of
Sahab Ibne Abbad. The distinctive feature of this mosque was its extremely high
minarets which were about 104-meter high. It was then destroyed either by the
Mongols or the Timurids during their invasion to Isfahan.
During the reign of Shah
Abbas the second, Hakim Davoud Khan one of king’s physicians, received an
honoree high position in the court after his participation in the war between
Orange Zieb and his brothers. He decided to rebuild a new mosque in place of
the ruined mosque.
Hakim Davoud was a supporter of animal rights
It is said that when
Hakim Davoud found out that the building was constructed by beating and
bothering the animals, he ordered the destruction of the mosque. In his view, a
building founded this way would never function as a holy mosque. He rebuilt the
mosque this times with the consideration of the rights of the animals.
Artful features of Hakim Mosque
The main part of the
structure is a dome chamber on the south which is topped by a main dome in the
center. What gives Hakim Mosque an artful vision is the special decoration of
the mosque. Its decorative style is a combination of tiny pieces of mosaic and
baked bricks called “Moagheli”. This feature steeps up the mystical
atmosphere of the mosque.
Inscriptions of Hakim Mosque
On its northern porch
there are appealing decorative writings. One of them is a Farsi poem which
describes the devotion of the wealth of the great composer by himself. Mohammad
Reza Emami, the most earnest calligrapher of historical monuments of Isfahan,
has done most of the inscriptions of this mosque.
Hakim Mosque, Hakim St, Isfahan, Iran
Atashgah, the fire temple located on the top of the hill
outside the center of Isfahan, is a Zoroastrian Temple. It is located on the
western road of Isfahan, eight kilometers from the city. The fire temple is
placed on a hill which is 105 meters higher than the road level. For this
reason, when you reach the top of the hill you are faced by an amazing view
over Isfahan. Also, an admirable landscape of groves and farms can be seen from
The Zoroastrian Religion of Sassanid Empire
Zoroastrianism was the central pre-Islamic religion of
Sassanid. The worshipful Zoroastrian fire temple, Atashgah, dates back to the
Sassanid Empire. Yet, archeological researches clarify that the temple is a
complex of several structures each belonging to a specific historical period.
The Ancient Castle with Its Deep History
The circular tower at the top of the Maras or Marbin hill is the signature monument of this place. This circular fire altar is five meters in diameter which is surrounded by a wall cut with eight windows. This structure had a tall dome to protect the fire. The building main material is mud-brick made with clay, lime and long stems of reeds. In some parts of the construction the thickness of the walls exceeds four meters. It was clarified that the whole area of the hill was covered by a five-storey huge building which the fifth and the forth storeys still remain. In the history book written by Ibne Rosteh Esfahani, it was stated that Atashgah was originally used as a castle. The name Marbin castle is related to the word Mehre meaning the sun which hints to the place where one can see the sun better. It can also relate to the word Mar meaning snake that can relate to the shape of the river crawling as if a serpent creeping on the ground.
Atashgah Fire Temple of Isfahan, Atashgah Blvd, Isfahan, Iran
In Sheikh-ol Eslam Alley, Chaharah-e Takhti, an excellent Qajarid mansion is located. The fine mirror and plaster work with beautiful pendentives (a triangular segment of a spherical surface, filling in the upper corners of a room, in order to form, at the top, a circular support for a dome) give Sheykh ol-Eslam’s Historical House an exceptional decoration. Today, textile arts are done in workshops placed in this house such as: weaving, cloak weaving and braid making. The art of weaving is one of the ancient arts of Isfahan. The weaving on different textiles such as silk, wool and cotton is done by artists.
The Entrance of a Persian Traditional House
The entrance of the house is decorated with a circular doorknob (for ladies) and a bar-shaped one (for men) with a floral design and headed-steel nails. Each of the doorknobs would make a different sound.
Who Is Sheykh Ol-Eslam?
This beautiful historical house was once the residence of the high-ranking theologian ‘Sheykh-ol Eslam’. On special occasions this house was used as a place for holding religious ceremonies and theater called Ta’zieh. This kind of religious theater was performed in such a professional way that many believe the theater of Iran owes a great deal to this.
Today, workshops of some traditional handicrafts, which are headed by the masters of each craft, such as: brocade weaving, plasterwork, and lattice-window making.
Sheykh Ol-Eslam’s Historical House Mainly Consists of Two Parts:
- Andarooni (interior) in which family and the household would spend time.
- Birooni (exterior) which is beautifully designed with wood joint and Muqarnas was used by guests and visitors. This part is embellished with frescoes, mirror works and stucco work in an eye-catching way.
This valuable historic building has been registered as number 997 in national heritage list.
Angurestane Malek-ol-toj’jar is Persian for the vineyard of Malek-ol-toj’jar. Malek-ol-toj’jar was one of the successful merchants who lived during the Qajar dynasty. At that time, Zelol-sultan was the ruler of Isfahan city and the son of Naser-al-din Shah, one of the kings of Iran.
Who Is Malek-Ol-Toj’jar?
On the order of Zelol-sultan many palaces were destroyed till Malek-ol-toj’jar purchased the two remaining Ali-Qapo and Chehel Sotun Palaces as a mean of keeping them as storage places to save them.
Angurestane Malek-ol-toj’jar is one of the historical houses located in Malek Street, Isfahan. It was dedicated to Imam Hossein. Different religious ceremonies are held in this house in Imam Hossein’s honor. Malek-ol-toj’jar, in his will, demanded to be buried in this house.
The Exceptional Decorations of This House
All around the house are placed different traditional furniture which belonged to Malek-ol toj’jar such as: The table, the chairs and the chandeliers. They are depicted in the photographs taken of the room.
The building is located on the northern part of the plot with two great halls. The former is fully decorated with sash windows and plaster work while the latter is larger and it is decorated with columns, huge latticed doors in colorful glasses, and balconies all around for ladies to attend meetings. High quality wooden panels on the ceiling are also visible. The courtyard is covered by steel trusses for religious meetings.
Different Parts of the House
- The inner courtyard: in Persian it is called Andarooni. A beautiful pond along with a Persian style garden is placed in this courtyard it used to help the house’s air conditioning. Later, it was removed for the purpose of holding ceremonies in an easier way.
- The winter room: sunlight would come through the windows during the winter, so they would choose this room to stay in during the winter. The tomb of Malek-ol-toj’jar and his wife are laid to rest in this room.
- The summer room: it is decorated with beautiful stained glass windows.
According to two inscribed plaster panels, the date of its construction was 1906 A.D. and the date of the late merchant death was 1922 A.D. inscribed on the marble tombstone along with a photo of him.
Dating back to Zandieh and Qajar dynasty, Mollabashi Historical House is one of the most beautiful houses among all others. Also, it has some features related to Safavid dynasty.
History of Mollabashi Historical House
Zelol Sultan was famous for the destructions that happened under his orders. When Zelol Sultan the son of Naser-al-din Shah who was the ruler of Isfahan city this house was purchased by Mollabashi. Mollabashi was a famous astronomer during Naser-al-din Shah. This historical house is also known under the name of Motamedi House.
Mollabashi Historical House is registered on the National World Heritage list. This house is placed in the cultural-context near the other Isfahan Historical Houses.
Stained glass windows and mirrored walls are a part of the outstanding architecture of this house. The remarkable stucco decoration among with the colorful tiles decorating the ceiling gives the place a marvelous look.
The three main parts of Mollabashi Historical House
- Courtyard: The reconstruction of this part is more visible than any other parts of the house. The end of the courtyard leads you to a beautiful room. This room overlooks the street. During the day, the room is showered in sunlight. The staircase would lead you to the porch and the rooftop.
- Summer House(Tabestan-Neshin): From the courtyard you can get to the summer room which has noticeable Zandieh Features. The painting on the walls of this room depict the names of planets and ancient Iranian months.
- Inner Courtyard: This part is where you can truly see most of the historic aspects of a traditional Iranian house.
The entrance doors of the rooms are adorned with Muqarnas tiles. A water pond in the center gives this house a traditional Persian atmosphere. A rectangular room with fresco walls was designed and used to host special guests. It was big enough to hold different celebrations in it.
One of the most beautiful historical houses belonging to the Qajar Dynasty is the Javaheri Historical House. This mansion is located in Jamale Quarter, near the twin minarets of Dardasht. The mansion has many exceptional features with its fine lattice windows and fantastic veranda. The Cultural Heritage and Handicrafts Organization have recently converted this historical house into a training and handicrafts center. The aim was to create a suitable space for artists to create art, train new artists, share their experience, and sell their products.
Different Parts of Javaheri Historical House
In an architectural point of view, Javaheri House has a square plan. The main side of the house is located on its southern side which is connected to a hallway. The western wing of the house has a side doom with three floors overlooking the courtyard. The western side of the house mirrors the opposite side. The existence of the pond next to a garden with fine trees create a unique atmosphere. This helps the house retain a traditional feel. The staircase leads up to the roof. From the rooftop view, you can have a view of Jameh mosque.
Javaheri Historical House Collections
Javaheri house holds an extraordinary collection including: The Persian plaster work of Milk and Sugar, Arched pans of five and three, and colorful glasses which are visible in the main hall also known as Shahneshin. in the basement located on the western side of the house, there are some exceptional examples of tiles in different methods. Different handicraft workshops such as: emboss working Marquetry, calico work, inlaid works, and lock making are placed in this historical house.
Javaheri Historical House is located in the historical-cultural context of the Isfahan city.
There are ways to spend an afternoon better. Strolling along the Zayandeh River, crossing back and forth on the river’s 11 bridges – or even meandering along the often empty riverbed itself are some of them. It is especially pleasant at sunset and in the early evening when most of the bridges, five of which date back to the Safavid era, are brilliantly lit.
All but one of the historic Safavid-era crossings lie to the east of Chahar Bagh Abbasi St – the exception is the shorter Pol-e Marnan (Marnan Bridge) – but most people satisfy themselves with the walk from Pol-e Si-o-Seh (Si-o-Seh Bridge) to Pol-e Khaju (Khaju Bridge), and back. Traditionally, Esfahanis stop to drink tea and enjoy a qalyan at one of the atmospheric teahouses on the Khaju, Chubi and Si-o-Seh bridges.
Out of all the bridges in Isfahan, Shahrestan Bridge is The oldest bridge on Zayandehrud River. This bridge is 107.8 m long and an average of 5.2 m wide. Dating back to the Sasanid Era, Shahrestan Bridge was built close to the ancient hill called Ashraf. With the 13 arches in the bottom and 8 on the top, this bridge has an imposing structure with two levels of arches. The bridge was constructed in this way to quicken the passage of water.
Parabolic shapes of the Shahrestan Bridge
The vertical parabolic structure of it would take the pressure away while the caravans where passing through the bridge with their cargo. This means that the middle point of the bridge is the highest compared to other parts. The horizontal parabolic feature creates a bend to the west side of the bridge. This strengthen the bridge against the river flow.
The history of Shahrestan Bridge
It has been said that Shahrestan Bridge was used for military purposes during a period of time in the past. This bridge has been renovated 4 times. The renovation done during the 10th century was in a way that the bridge is now very close to how it would have during Sasanid era.
Visiting this iconic bridge surrounded by parks and amazing landscape is hard to beat for a relaxing day trip. Shahrestan Bridge was inscribed on Iran’s National Heritage List in 1970.
Salman Farsi St. Bozorgmehr Sq. Isfahan, Iran