The capital of Isfahan province, and the
Persians call it Nesf-e Jahan (Half The World)
Isfahan is one of the oldest cities of Iran with the
1,001,000 population located 414 km south of Tehran and
481 km north of Shiraz. This 2500 years old city served
as Persia's capital from 1598 to 1722.
Isfahan was a crossroad of international trade and
diplomacy, and therefore was a kaleidoscope of resident
languages, religions, and customs. The city is known for
its silver filigree and metal work.
This city is renowned not only for the abundance of
great historical monuments, but also for its Life-Giving
River, The Zayandeh-Rood, which has given the city an
original beauty and a fertile land. Isfahan is filled
with old gardens and some of the best sights in Iran.
In the Arsacides (Parthians) era, Isfahan was the center
and capital city of a wide province, which was
administered by Arsacide governors.
In Sassanids time, Isfahan was governed by "Espoohrans"
or the members of seven noble Iranian families who had
important royal positions, it played a residencial role
for these noble families as well. Moreover, in this
period Isfahan was a military center with strong
fortifications. This city was occupied by Arabs after
final defeat of Iranians.
After Islam, Isfahan was under domination
of Arabs, like other cities of Iran, till the early 10th
century A.D., and it was paid attention only by Caliph
Mansour. In the reign of Malekshah Saljooghi, Isfahan
was again selected as capital and began another golden
age. In this period, Isfahan was one of the most
thriving and important cities of the world.
This city was conquered by Mongols in 13th century A.D.
and they massacred the people. After the invasions of
Mongols and Taymour, as the result of its suitable
geographic situation, Isfahan flourished again
especially in Safavid time, which developed
After selection of Isfahan as capital by Shah Abbas I
(1587-1629) who unified Persia it reached to its
pinnacle of briskness. Isfahan had parks, libraries and
mosques that amazed Europeans, who had not seen anything
like this at home. The Persians called it Nisf-e-Jahan,
half the world; meaning that to see it was to see half
Isfahan became one of the world's most elegant cities.
In its heyday it was also one of the largest with a
population of one million; 163 mosques, 48 religious
schools, 1801 shops and 263 public baths.
Decline of Safavid dynasty by Mahmood Afghan and
conquest of Isfahan a 6 month siege, caused a
degeneration period for this city. In Afsharieh and
Zandieh times it flourished again but during Qajars
reign, due to choosing Tehran as capital, Isfahan began
to decline once more.
Isfahan, regarding its historical and
geographic conditions, was paid attention during Pahlavi
time and some endeavors were made for repair and
restoration of historical monuments. Moreover, Isfahan
and the province redeveloped and industrialized rapidly.
During last two decades, Isfahan developed with a very
high rate of acceleration from urban development point
of view, highly observing restoration of historical
Today, Isfahan is a major industrial center and also is
one of the important tourism centers of Iran and the