Esfahan is a wonderful city

When the sun came up we were back on the north-eastern side of the Zagros Mountains. In the area around Esfahan there is quite alot of agriculture and villages in the flat valleys in between the rugged arid mountains.

We arrived in Esfahan after about 12 hour on the bus. We eventually found a hotel that was cheap enough and good enough. After a few hours rest we set out from the hotel to find a laundry. I had been hand washing but for some reason Ruth insisted on finding a laundry. We trapsed about for hours looking for one. Eventually we found one and left our clothes in.

Then we went for a walk. We found the Hasht Behesht Palace. Hasht Behesht means eight heavens. The palace is located in the centre of the Garden of Nightingales. Nightingales appear over and over again in Iranian poetry. The palace and gardens, like the rest of Esfahan, date from the Safavid Era (1500s-1700s). At that time Esfahan was the luxurious capital. The architechture and planning of the city are testimony to the wonderful creativity and splendour of that era.

The stalactitic domed ceiling inside Hasht Behesht Palace.

Mirrored dome.

Part of a frescoed archway preserved.

Beautiful geometric and floral frescoed interiors.

We hung-out in the park for a bit and wandered a bit further. Esfahan is a beautiful and relaxing city. It has a civilised laid back atmosphere that makes it so easy to just relax and enjoy the place. Everywhere are examples of Persian Gardens. Shaded by trees these are traditional gardens with a fountain at the centre. The fountain typically has four artificial streams which flow out from it into the garden to the north, south, east and west. Sounds a bit like the description of Eden in Genesis.

We wandered through the gardens until we arrived at the Chehel Sotun Palace. Another Safavid palace of luxury.

Hannah approaches the Chehel Sotun Palace.

Looking up at the vast high ceiling of the pavillion.

A beast decorates or protects the base of a pillar.

The great mirrored Iwan.

The mirrored ceiling of the pavillion. It was huge - can you see my reflection in it?

Inside the palace was decorated with beautiful frescoes of battles involving cavalry on horses and ...elephants!

Detail of a decorative door.

On the way out we found a nice little teahouse.

Inside an Iranian Teahouse.

Then we went into the centre of town where there is a huge and beautiful square called the Naghsh-i Jahan Square.

Children playing in the fountain.

The porchway of the Imam Mosque at the southern end of the square.

The Sheyk Lotfolla Mosque at the eastern side of the Naghsh-i Jahan square.

See the horse and cart roasting around the square; the Imam Mosque and Zagros Mountains in the background.

People entering the Imam Mosque at prayer time.

The fountains and in the background the pavillion where Shah Abbas the Great King of Persia would address the crowds.

The fountains.

All around the square there is avast and wonderful bazar. It is a great place to buy gifts and handicrafts.

Families with their kids chill out in the square until late at night having picnics and relaxing. Its a great place!

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