UNESCO Spotlight: Iran’s Imam Square in Isfahan

UNESCO Spotlight: Iran’s Imam Square in Isfahan

Maidan-e Nagsh-e Jahan (or simply “Imam Square”) in Isfahan, Iran is among the largest squares in the world, second only to China’s Tiananmen Square.

Monumental Imam SquareThe enormous square is 1,679 feet long by 534 wide, almost five times the length and three times the width of an American football field. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its monumental buildings clad in glossy ceramic tiles and linked by arched brick arcades, showing the artistry of the mighty Savafid dynasty at its zenith.

Imam Square in Isfahan, Iran <br>Photo credit: Martin Klimenta

Picnic in Imam Square in Isfahan, Iran
Photo credit: Martin Klimenta

After moving his capital to Isfahan, Shah Abbas the Great began designing the square in 1602. From the lavish Imam Mosque, decorated with cobalt, turquoise and lapis mosaic tiles, to the more restrained, but equally stunning Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, the complex showcases the wealth and worldliness of the Safavid dynasty.

The ensemble also includes the elegant Ali Qapu Palace and the beautifully intricate Qeyseriah Portal to the bazaar. Today, the ensemble remains much as it did during the time of Shah Abbas himself.

Inside Ali Qapu Palace at Imam Square in Isfahan, Iran <br>Photo credit: Michel Behar

Muqarnas inside Ali Qapu Palace at Imam Square in Isfahan, Iran
Photo credit: Michel Behar

Must-See TipWatch the tiles change color under the shifting sun as you sip Persian tea under a shady tree in the square.

Travel to Iran with MIRMIR has more than 15 years of unmatched destination expertise and travel planning experience, hand-crafting tours to Iran since 2001. Choose from MIR’s variety of small group tours and rail journeys by private train which include a memorable visit to Imam Square.

You can also opt to travel on your dates and at your pace on MIR’s Essential Iran independent trip or on a custom, private tour of Iran.

(Top photo credit:  Ann Schneider)

PUBLISHED: February 23, 2015

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