Isfahan

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Isfahan
—  city  —
Ancient names: Spadana, Spahan, Sepahan, Espahan
Montage of Isfahan
Nickname(s): Nesfe Jahan (Half of the world)
Isfahan
Isfahan is located in Iran
Isfahan
Isfahan in Iran
Coordinates: 32°38′N 51°39′E / 32.633°N 51.65°E / 32.633; 51.65Coordinates: 32°38′N 51°39′E / 32.633°N 51.65°E / 32.633; 51.65
Country Iran
ProvinceIsfahan
CountyIsfahan
DistrictCentral
Government
 • MayorMorteza Saqaeian Nejad
Area
 • Total106,179 km2 (40,996 sq mi)
Elevation1,590 m (5,217 ft)
Population (2006)
 • Total1,583,609
 • Population Rank in Iran3rd
 Population Data from 2006 Census[1]
Time zoneIRST (UTC+3:30)
 • Summer (DST)March 21 – September 20 (?) (UTC+4:30)
Websitewww.Isfahan.ir
 
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Isfahan
—  city  —
Ancient names: Spadana, Spahan, Sepahan, Espahan
Montage of Isfahan
Nickname(s): Nesfe Jahan (Half of the world)
Isfahan
Isfahan is located in Iran
Isfahan
Isfahan in Iran
Coordinates: 32°38′N 51°39′E / 32.633°N 51.65°E / 32.633; 51.65Coordinates: 32°38′N 51°39′E / 32.633°N 51.65°E / 32.633; 51.65
Country Iran
ProvinceIsfahan
CountyIsfahan
DistrictCentral
Government
 • MayorMorteza Saqaeian Nejad
Area
 • Total106,179 km2 (40,996 sq mi)
Elevation1,590 m (5,217 ft)
Population (2006)
 • Total1,583,609
 • Population Rank in Iran3rd
 Population Data from 2006 Census[1]
Time zoneIRST (UTC+3:30)
 • Summer (DST)March 21 – September 20 (?) (UTC+4:30)
Websitewww.Isfahan.ir

Isfahan (Persian: اصفهانEsfahān), historically also rendered in English as Ispahan, Sepahan or Hispahan, is the capital of Isfahan Province in Iran, located about 340 km south of Tehran. It has a population of 1,583,609 and is Iran's third largest city after Tehran and Mashhad. The Isfahan metropolitan area had a population of 3,430,353 in the 2006 Census, the second most populous metropolitan area in Iran after Tehran.[2]

The cities of Zarrinshahr, Fooladshahr and Najafabad, Se-deh , Shahin-shahr, Mobarakeh, Falavarjan and chiarmahin all constitute the metropolitan city of Isfahan.

Isfahan is located on the main north-south and east-west routes crossing Iran, and was once one of the largest cities in the world. It flourished from 1050 to 1722, particularly in the 16th century under the Safavid dynasty, when it became the capital of Persia for the second time in its history. Even today, the city retains much of its past glory. It is famous for its Islamic architecture, with many beautiful boulevards, covered bridges, palaces, mosques, and minarets. This led to the Persian proverb "'Esfahān nesf-e jahān ast" (Isfahan is half of the world).[3]

The Naghsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan is one of the largest city squares in the world and an outstanding example of Iranian and Islamic architecture. It has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The city also has a wide variety of historic monuments.

Contents

History

Chehel Sotoon is a famous tourist attraction.

Prehistory

The history of Esfahan 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.

Elamite Empire

Isfahan, capital of the Kingdom of Persia '

Ancient Esfahan was part of the Elamite Empire under the name of Aspandana also spelt Ispadana. It later became one of the principal towns of the Median dynasty. Subsequently the province became part of the Achaemenid Empire. After the liberation of Iran from Macedonian occupation by the Arsacids, it became part of Parthian Empire. Esfahan was the centre and capital city of a large province, which was administered by Arsacid governors. In the Sassanid era, Esfahan was governed by "Espoohrans" or the members of seven noble Iranian families who had important royal positions, and served as the residence of these noble families as well. Moreover, in this period Esfahan was a military centre with strong fortifications.

Detail of Khaju Bridge.

Persia's Capital

In 1598 Shah Abbas the Great moved his capital from Qazvin to the more central and Persian Isfahan. This ushered in a golden age for the city which lasted until it was sacked by Afghan invaders in 1722. The capital subsequently moved several times until settling in Tehran in 1795.

Modern age

Naghsh-i Jahan Square, Isfahan, Iran
a handicraft shop.

Today Esfahan, the third largest city in Iran, produces fine carpets, textiles, steel, and handicrafts. Esfahan also has nuclear experimental reactors as well as facilities for producing nuclear fuel (UCF). Esfahan has one of the largest steel-producing facilities in the entire region, as well as facilities for producing special alloys.

The cities of Khomeini-shahr, Shahin-shahr, Zarrinshahr, Mobarakeh, Qomshe, Kashan, Fouladshahr and Falavarjan constitute the metropolitan city of Esfahan. The city has an international airport and is in the final stages of constructing its first Metro line.

Over 2000 companies are working in the area using Esfahan's economic, cultural, and social potentials. Esfahan contains a major oil refinery and a large airforce base. HESA, Iran's most advanced aircraft manufacturing plant (where the IR.AN-140 aircraft is made), is located nearby.[4]

Esfahan hosted the International Physics Olympiad in 2007.

Geography and climate

The city is located in the lush plain of the Zayandeh River, at the foothills of the Zagros mountain range. No geological obstacles exist within 90 km north of Isfahan, allowing cool northern winds to blow from this direction. Situated at 1,590 metres (5,217 ft) above sea level on the eastern side of the Zagros Mountains, Isfahan has an arid climate (Köppen BWk). Despite its altitude, Isfahan remains very hot during the summer with maxima typically around 36 °C (97 °F). However, with low humidity and moderate temperatures at night, the climate can be very pleasant. During the winter, days are mild but nights can be very cold and snow has occurred at least once every winter except 1986/1987 and 1989/1990.[5] However, on the whole Isfahan’s climate is extremely cold in winter.

Climate data for Isfahan
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)20
(68)
23
(73)
27
(81)
32
(90)
37.6
(99.7)
41
(106)
43
(109)
42
(108)
39
(102)
33.2
(91.8)
25.5
(77.9)
21.2
(70.2)
43
(109)
Average high °C (°F)9.2
(48.6)
12.5
(54.5)
17.0
(62.6)
22.7
(72.9)
28.2
(82.8)
34.3
(93.7)
36.7
(98.1)
35.6
(96.1)
31.8
(89.2)
25
(77)
17
(63)
11
(52)
23.42
(74.16)
Average low °C (°F)−2.5
(27.5)
−0.4
(31.3)
4.1
(39.4)
9.3
(48.7)
13.7
(56.7)
18.5
(65.3)
21.0
(69.8)
19.1
(66.4)
14.7
(58.5)
8.9
(48.0)
3.2
(37.8)
−1
(30)
9.05
(48.29)
Record low °C (°F)−19.4
(−2.9)
−12.2
(10.0)
−6.2
(20.8)
−4
(25)
4.5
(40.1)
10
(50)
13
(55)
11
(52)
5
(41)
0
(32)
−8
(18)
−13
(9)
−19.4
(−2.9)
Precipitation mm (inches)19.9
(0.783)
14.2
(0.559)
21.7
(0.854)
18.9
(0.744)
8.7
(0.343)
1.2
(0.047)
1.7
(0.067)
0.3
(0.012)
0.1
(0.004)
3.9
(0.154)
12.5
(0.492)
19.7
(0.776)
122.8
(4.835)
humidity60504340342525262838506039.9
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)4.02.94.13.42.00.30.30.10.00.82.23.823.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours203.6216.8243.7250.0308.7348.3349.4339.7311.3281.5224.2197.03,274.2
Source: Synoptic Stations Statistics

Main sights

View of Ali Qapu Palace.
A carpet shop in Grand Bazaar, Isfahan.
Khaju Bridge.
33 Pol Bridge.

Mosques

Palaces and caravanserais

Old schools (madresse)

Churches and cathedrals

Squares and streets

Bazaars

Bridges

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 nicest architecture in Isfahan. The oldest bridge is the "Pol-e Shahrestan," which was probably built in the 12th century during the Seljuk period.[citation needed] 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 it 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. 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 (967.85 ft).

Other bridges include:

Bathhouses

Tourist Attractions

old building of Isfahan municipality

Isfahan is a unique city. It is an important historical center for main different group of tourists in the domestic and international in the world. The central historical region and the area called Seeosepol (the name of a famous bridge)[7]

Other sites

Transportation

Airport

Isfahan is served by the Isfahan International Airport which handles domestic flights to Iranian cities and international flights, mostly to regional destinations across Middle East and central Asia including Dubai and Damascus.

Metro and Inter City Public Transportation

Esfahan Metro is under construction and will include 2 lines with 43 km length. The first line of that is planned to be finished by end of 2010 with 21 km length and 20 stations. Until the metro is completed an expanded bus system accompanied by taxis will handle Isfahan intra-urban public transportation.

Rail

Isfahan is connected to three major rail lines: Isfahan-Tehran, Isfahan-Shiraz (Recently opened), Isfahan-Yazd and via this recent one to Bandar Abbas and Zahedan.

Road transport

Isfahan's internal highway network is currently under heavy expansion which began during the last decade. Its lengthy construction is due to concerns of possible destruction of valuable historical buildings. Outside the city, Isfahan is connected by modern highways to Tehran which spans a distance of nearly 400 km (248.55 mi) to North and to Shiraz at about 200 km (124.27 mi) to the south. The highways also service satellite cities surrounding the metropolitan area.

Culture

An old master of hand-printed carpets in Isfahan bazaar.

Rug manufacture

Esfahan has long been one of the centers for production of the famous Persian Rug. Weaving in Esfahan flourished in the Safavid era. But when the Afghans invaded Iran, ending the Safavid dynasty, the craft also became stagnant.

Not until 1920s, between two world wars, was weaving again taken seriously by the people of Esfahan. They started to weave Safavid designs and once again became one of the most important nexus of the Iranian rug weaving industry. Esfahani carpets today are among the most wanted in world markets, having many customers in western countries.

Esfahani rugs and carpets usually have ivory backgrounds with blue, rose, and indigo motifs. Rugs and carpets often have very symmetrical and balanced designs. They usually have a single medallion that is surrounded with vines and palmettos and are of excellent quality.

Food

Famous people

Artists


Actors and movie directors
Painters
Political figures
Religious figures
Sportspeople
Writers and poets
Others

Education

Central Municipal Library of Isfahan.

Aside from the seminaries and religious schools, the major universities of the Isfahan metropolitan area are:

There are also more than 50 Technical and Vocational Training Centers under the administration of Isfahan TVTO which provide non-formal training programs freely throughout the province.[10]

Sports

Isfahan is the host of many national and international sport events therefore enjoying good sport facilities such as Naghsh-e-Jahan Stadium with 50,000 capacity which second phase is under development to increase capacity to 75,000 spectators. Isfahan has an important derby called as Naqsh e jahan derby. This competition is one of the most popular annual football events in Iran between Sepahan F.C. and Zob Ahan.

Isfahan has two association football clubs that have been title contenders in Iran's Premier Football League. These are:

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Esfahan street in Kuala Lumpur, and Kovalalampor avenue in Isfahan.

Isfahan is twinned with:

Gallery

See also

References

Notes
  1. ^ Census (from the Statistical Center of Iran, in Persian.)
  2. ^ 2006 Census Results and Mashhad(Statistical Center of Iran, Excel file, in Persian.)
  3. ^ "Isfahan Is Half The World", Saudi Aramco World, Volume 13, Nr. 1, January 1962
  4. ^ Hesaco.com (from the HESA official company website)
  5. ^ "Snowy days for Isfahan". Irimo.ir. http://irimo.ir/english/monthly&annual/r32.asp. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  6. ^ "Isfahan Jame(Congregative) mosque - BackPack". Fz-az.fotopages.com. http://fz-az.fotopages.com/?entry=942627&back=http://fz-az.fotopages.com/?page=0jame. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  7. ^ "Seifolddini-Faranak; M. S. Fard; Hosseini Ali". thescipub.com. http://thescipub.com/pdf/10.3844/ajebasp.2009.167.172.pdf. 
  8. ^ http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/201102/castles.of.the.fields.htm
  9. ^ khuisf.ac.ir
  10. ^ "Isfahan Technical and Vocational Training Organization". Web.archive.org. 2007-10-08. http://web.archive.org/web/20071008230645/http://www.etvto.ir/p/en/index.htm. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  11. ^ a b Fooladsepahansport.com, (Official website)
  12. ^ Zobahancsc.om, (Official website)
  13. ^ "Isfahan, Beirut named sister cities". MNA. http://www.mehrnews.com/en/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=392389. Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  14. ^ "Barcelona internacional – Ciutats agermanades" (in Catalan). 2006–2009 Ajuntament de Barcelona. http://w3.bcn.es/XMLServeis/XMLHomeLinkPl/0,4022,229724149_257215678_1,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  15. ^ "Sister Cities of Istanbul". http://www.greatistanbul.com/sister_cities.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  16. ^ Erdem, Selim Efe (2009-07-01). "İstanbul'a 49 kardeş" (in Turkish). Radikal. http://www.radikal.com.tr/haber.php?haberno=94185. Retrieved 2009-07-26. "49 sister cities in 2003" 
  17. ^ "Sisterhoods". Isfahan Islamic Council. 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. http://web.archive.org/web/20071012171031/http://council.isfahan.ir/EStatic/WFESisterhood.aspx. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  18. ^ "Saint Petersburg in figures – International and Interregional Ties". Saint Petersburg City Government. http://eng.gov.spb.ru/figures/ities. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  19. ^ "Yerevan Municipality – Sister Cities". 2005–2009 Yerevan.am. http://yerevan.am/main.php?lang=3&page_id=194. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 

External links