|— city —|
|Ancient names: spadana, Spahān|
|Nickname(s): Nesfe Jahan (Half of the world)|
|• Mayor||Morteza Saqaeian Nejad|
|• Total||482 km2 (186 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,590 m (5,217 ft)|
|• Population Rank in Iran||3rd|
|Population Data from 2006 Census|
|Time zone||IRST (UTC+3:30)|
|• Summer (DST)||IRDT March 21 – September 20 (UTC+4:30)|
Isfahan (Persian: اصفهان Esfehān pronunciation (help·info)), 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.
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).
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 and is known for the paintings and history.
The history of Isfahan 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 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (December 2012)|
Ancient Isfahan 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. Isfahan was the centre and capital city of a large province, which was administered by Arsacid governors. In the Sassanid era, Isfahan was called Spahān in Middle Persian. The city 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 Isfahan was a military centre with strong fortifications.
Persia's Capital 
In 1598 Shah Abbas the Great moved his capital from Qazvin to the more central and Persian Isfahan, called Ispahān in early New Persian. This new importance 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 
Today Isfahan, the third largest city in Iran, produces fine carpets, textiles, steel, and handicrafts. Isfahan also has nuclear experimental reactors as well as facilities for producing nuclear fuel (UCF). Isfahan has one of the largest steel-producing facilities in the entire region, as well as facilities for producing special alloys.
Over 2000 companies are working in the area using Isfahan's economic, cultural, and social potentials. Isfahan 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.
Isfahan 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.
|Climate data for Isfahan|
|Record high °C (°F)||20
|Average high °C (°F)||9.2
|Average low °C (°F)||−2.5
|Record low °C (°F)||−19.4
|Precipitation mm (inches)||19.9
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||4.0||2.9||4.1||3.4||2.0||0.3||0.3||0.1||0.0||0.8||2.2||3.8||23.9|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||203.6||216.8||243.7||250.0||308.7||348.3||349.4||339.7||311.3||281.5||224.2||197.0||3,274.2|
|Source: Synoptic Stations Statistics|
Main sights 
- Agha Nour mosque
- Hakim Mosque
- Jameh Mosque
- Jarchi mosque
- Lonban mosque
- Shah Mosque
- Maghsoudbeyk mosque
- Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque
Palaces and caravanserais 
- Ali Qapu (The Royal Palace) – early 17th century
- Talar Ashraf (The Palace of Ashraf) – 1650
- Hasht-Behesht (The Palace of Eight Paradises) – 1669
- Chehel Sotoun (The Palace of Forty Columns) – 1647
- Shah Caravanserai
- Najvan Forest Park
Old schools (madresse) 
- Madreseye Sadr.
- Madreseye Shah (Chahar Bagh School).
- Madreseye Khajoo.
Churches and cathedrals 
- Vank Cathedral – 17th century
- Kelisaye Maryam (The Church of Mary)
Squares and streets 
- Naqsh-e Jahan Square also known as "Shah Square" or "Imam Square" – 1602.
- Meydan Kohne (Old Square)
- Chaharbagh Boulevard – 1596.
- Chaharbagh-e-khajou Boulevard
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. 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:
- Pol-e Shahrestan (The Shahrestan bridge) – 11th century.
- Marnan bridge
- Pol-e Khaju (Khaju Bridge) – 1650.
- Si-o-Seh Pol (The Bridge of 33 Arches) – 1602.
- Pol-e-Joui or Choobi (Joui bridge).
Tourist Attractions 
Isfahan is an important historical center for different groups of tourists in the domestic and international world. The central historical area in Isfahan is called Seeosepol (the name of a famous bridge)
Other sites 
- Atashgah – a Zoroastrian fire temple.
- Buqe'h-ye Ibn-Sina (Avicenna's Dome) – 12th century.
- The Tombs of Nizam al-Mulk & Malek Shah – 12th & 18th century.
- New Julfa (The Armenian Quarter).
- The Bathhouse of Bahāʾ al-dīn al-ʿĀmilī.
- Pigeon Towers – 17th century.
- Manar Jonban, a famous minaret
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 
Isfahan 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.
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.
Rug manufacture 
Isfahan has long been one of the centers for production of the famous Persian Rug. Weaving in Isfahan flourished in the Safavid era. But when the Afghans invaded Iran, ending the Safavid dynasty, the craft also became stagnant.
- Isfahan is famous for its Beryooni. This dish is made of baked mutton & lungs that are minced and then cooked in a special small pan over open fire with a pinch of cinnamon. Beryooni is generally eaten with a certain type of bread, "nan-e taftton." Although it can also be served with other breads.
See also Biryani.
- Fesenjan – a casserole type dish with a sweet and tart sauce containing the two base ingredients, pomegranate molasses and ground walnuts cooked with chicken, duck, lamb or beef and served with rice.
- Gaz – the name given to Persian Nougat using the sap collected from angebin, a plant from the tamarisk family found only on the outskirts of Isfahan. It is mixed with various ingredients including rose water, pistachio and almond kernels and saffron.
- "Khoresht-e mast" (yoghurt stew) is a traditional dish in Isfahan. Unlike other stews despite its name, it is not served as a main dish and with rice; Since it is more of a sweet pudding it is usually served as a side dish or dessert. The dish is made with yogurt, lamb/mutton or chicken, saffron, sugar and orange zest. Iranians either put the orange zest in water for one week or longer or boil them for few minutes so the orange peels become sweet and ready for use. People in Iran make a lot of delicate dishes and jam with fruit rinds. This dish often accompanies celebrations and weddings.
- Poolaki – the name given to a type of Isfahani candy which is formed to thin circles like coins and served with tea or other warm drinks.
Notable people 
- Jalal al din Taj Esfahani,1903–, famous vocalist of classical music of Iran
- Hasan Kasaie,1928, distinguished ney player (ney is a musical instrument used in Iran's classical music)
- Jalil Shahnaz, 1921, notable Tar player of Iran
- Freydoon Rassouli, famous artist and Founder of Fusionart movement
- Master Ahmad Archang famous artist and designer of Isfahan rug patterns
- Alireza Eftekhari, 1956–, is a famous singer in Iran
- Mohammad Esfahani, popular music
- Moein, 1951, popular and classical music
- Hoshmand Aghili, 1945–, popular and classical music
- Hassan Shamaizadeh, music composer and Singer
- Leila Forouhar, Iranian Pop Singer
- Actors and movie directors
- Reza Arhamsadr, 1923–2008, a famous father of Persian comic cinema and theater, popular actor
- Asghar Farhadi, 1972–, Academy awards (Oscar) winner director
- Nosratolah Vahdat,1925, a famous & popular actor
- Mohamad Ali Keshvarz, 1930, a famous & popular actor
- Jahangir Forouhar, 1916–1997, a famous & popular actor and Father of Leila Forouhar (the Iranian woman singer)
- Bahman Farmanara, 1942–, a famous & popular director
- Kiumars Poorahmad, 1949–, a famous & popular director
- Rasul Sadr Ameli, 1953–, a famous & popular director
- Homayoun Asaadian, a famous & popular director
- Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiari, 1956–2001, former princess of Iran also an actress
- Homayoun Ershadi, 1947–, a Hollywood actor and an architect
- Bogdan Saltanov, 1630s – 1703, Russian icon painter of Isfahanian Armenian origin
- Sumbat Der Kiureghian, 1913–1999 (سمبات دِر كيوُرغيان), an Isfahanian Armenian painter
- Hossein Mosaverolmolki,1889–1969, (حسين مصورالملكي) notable painter and miniaturist
- Yervand Nahapetian, 1917–, (يرواند نهاپطيان) Isfahanian Armenian painter
- Freydoon Rassouli, An American painter born and raised in Isfahan
- Ostad Javad Rostamshirazi, 1919–, Isfahanian painter
- Mahmoud Farshchian, 1930–, distinguished miniaturist
- Political figures
- Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, 1928–1981, cleric, Chairman of the Council of Revolution of Iran
- Mohammad-Ali Foroughi, a politician and Prime Minister of Iran in World war II era
- Shapour Bakhtiar, Ex Prime Minister of Iran
- Hossein Fatemi, 1919–1954, PhD, politician (Foreign Minister of Dr M.Mosadegh Cabinet)
- Ahmad Amir-Ahmadi, 1906–1965, military leader and cabinet minister of Iran
- Hossein Kharrazi, chief of army in the Iran & Iraq war
- Mohsen Nourbakhsh, 1948–2003, economist, Governor of the Central Bank of Iran
- Nusrat Bhutto, Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party from 1979–1983, wife of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and mother of Benazir Bhutto.
- Dariush Forouhar, (August 1928 - November 1998) was a founder and leader of the Hezb-e Mellat-e Iran (Nation of Iran Party)
- Religious figures
- Salman the Persian
- Allamah al-Majlisi, 1616–1698, Safavid cleric, Sheikh ul-Islam in Isfahan
- Ayatollah Rahim Arbab chiarmahini, 1847–?, cleric, Ayatollah-al-ozma rank
- Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, 1928–1981, cleric, Chairman of the Council of Revolution of Iran
- Ayatollah Ashrafi Esfahani, 1902-1982, cleric, Friday Prayer of Kermanshah
- Mahmoud Yavari, محمود یاوری, Born in 1939, Former Player of Shahine Esfahan and Iran National Team from 1958 until 1970, The Former Coach of Iran National Team and is known as an oldest and the most Active Coach in 2010 Persian Gulf League and Football Federation, He was also retired of Iran Police Department as a Colonel degree, amir ghalenouie calls him as Father of Football of Iran
- Abdolali Changiz, football star and Famous Player of Esteghlal Fc in 1970s
- Mansour Ebrahimzadeh, Former Player of Sepahan in 1970s and 1980s, He used to be the head-coach of Zobahan
- Rasoul Korbekandi, Famous Goalkeeper in Iran National Team
- Moharram Navidkia, Captain of the Sepahan Football Club
- Ehsan Hajsafi, youth phenomenon of the Sepahan Football Club
- Arsalan Kazemi, forward for the Oregon Ducks men's basketball team and the Iran national basketball team.
- Mohammad Talaei, World champion wrestler
- Writers and poets
- Mohammad-Ali Jamālzādeh Esfahani,1892–1997, author
- Houshang Golshiri, 1938–2000, writer and editor
- Mirza Abbas Khan Sheida, 1880–1949, poet and publisher
- Hamid Mosadegh, 1939–1998, poet and lawyer
- Hatef Esfehani, 1198(died), Persian Moral poet in Afsharye Era
- Saib Tabrizi
- Nasser David Khalili, 1945–, property developer, art collector, and philanthropist
- Arthur Pope, 1881–1969, American archaeologist, buried near Khaju Bridge
Aside from the seminaries and religious schools, the major universities of the Esfahan metropolitan area are:
- High schools
There are also more than 50 Technical and Vocational Training Centers under the administration of Esfahan TVTO which provide non-formal training programs freely throughout the province.
Isfahan is the host of many national and international sport events therefore enjoying 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.
International relations 
Twin towns – Sister cities 
Isfahan is twinned with:
- Baalbek, Lebanon
- Barcelona, Spain
- Kathmandu, Nepal
- Cairo, Egypt
- Dakar, Senegal
- Florence, Italy
- Freiburg, Germany
- Havana, Cuba
- Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
- Iaşi, Romania
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Kuwait City, Kuwait
- Lahore, Pakistan
- Saint Petersburg, Russia
- Venice, Italy
- Xi'an, Shaanxi, China
- Yerevan, Armenia
Pedestrians are offered tea in the resting areas under the historic Khaju Bridge.
The famous Si-o-se Pol over the Zayande River is considered the epitome of Safavid bridge design.
Kelisa-e Vank, the Vank Cathedral.
Geometric calligraphy at the Jame' Mosque.
Khaju Bridge at night.
Ali Qapu palace
Vank Cathedral baptistry
Khaju Bridge view
Khaju Bridge by night
Under the Khaju Bridge
- Urban Planning of Isfahan in the Seventeenth Century – Abouei, Reza, University of Sheffield, School of Architecture, 2005
- Census (from the Statistical Center of Iran, in Persian.)
- 2006 Census Results and Mashhad(Statistical Center of Iran, Excel file, in Persian.)
- "Isfahan Is Half The World", Saudi Aramco World, Volume 13, Nr. 1, January 1962
- Hesaco.com (from the HESA official company website)
- "Snowy days for Esfahan". Irimo.ir. Retrieved 2012-04-23.
- assari, ali; T.M. Mahesh (August 2011). "Demographic comparative in heritage texture of Isfahan city". Journal of Geography and Regional Planning. ISSN 2070-1845 ©2011 Academic Journals 4 (8): 463–470. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
- "Isfahan Jame(Congregative) mosque - BackPack". Fz-az.fotopages.com. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
- "Seifolddini-Faranak; M. S. Fard; Hosseini Ali". thescipub.com. Text "PDF " ignored (help)
- Assari, Ali; T.M. Mahesh (january 2012). "Conservation of historic urban core in traditional Islamic culture: case study of Isfahan city". Indian Journal of Science and Technology 5 (1): 1970–1976. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
- "Castles of the Fields". Saudi Aramco World. Retrieved 2012-09-11.
- Assari, Ali; Erfan Assari (2012). "Urban spirit and heritage conservation problems: case study Isfahan city in Iran". Journal of American Science 8 (1): 203–209. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
- "iaumajlesi.ac.ir". iaumajlesi.ac.ir. Retrieved 2012-09-11.
- "Isfahan Technical and Vocational Training Organization". Web.archive.org. 2007-10-08. Archived from the original on 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2012-04-23.
- "Isfahan, Beirut named sister cities". MNA. Retrieved 2007-05-02.
- "Barcelona internacional – Ciutats agermanades" (in Catalan). 2006–2009 Ajuntament de Barcelona. Retrieved 2009-07-13.
- "Sister Cities of Istanbul". Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- Erdem, Selim Efe (2009-07-01). "İstanbul'a 49 kardeş" (in Turkish). Radikal. Retrieved 2009-07-26. "49 sister cities in 2003"
- "Sisterhoods". Isfahan Islamic Council. 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-12-04.
- "Saint Petersburg in figures – International and Interregional Ties". Saint Petersburg City Government. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
- "Yerevan Municipality – Sister Cities". 2005–2009 Yerevan.am. Retrieved 2009-06-22.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Isfahan|
- Isfahan travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Municipality of Isfahan
- Isfahan official website
- Isfahan Metro
- Isfahan Geometry on a Human Scale A Documentary film directed by Manouchehr Tayyab (30 min)