Thursday, April 29, 2010

Isfahan, Iran

Isfahan stands in western Iran, about 248 miles south of the capital, Tehran. Isfahan is an old city with some splendid buildings

Isfahan's name may come from an Old Persian word for "army camp,: but the city grew up as a trading center set in rich farmlands watered by Zaindeh ("life-giving") river.

In 1598, Shah Abbas the Great made Isfahan the Persian capital. The Shah rebuilt it as one of the world's largest and loveliest cities. He added the huge Royal Square, palaces, public buildings and mosques. Many of these still exist.

Furthermore, the Masjid-i-Dhah (Royal Mosque) dome is covered in blue enamelled tiles that shine brilliantly in sunlight.

West of the Royal Square stands the Ali Qaou ("lofty gate"). This archway, crowned by a high covered balcony, leads into the gardens of the old royal palace.

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