Naqsh-e Jahan Square

Sheikh Lotf ullah mosque of Esfahan, Iran's golden cities tour

🕒 4 minute read

Welcome to 2nd largest square of the world. Naqsh-e Jahan square is one of the most impressive sites of Iran which dates back to early 17th century and has been built by Shah Abbas I. It has been registered as a world heritage site in 1979.

There is no doubt that anyone travels to Esfahan and not visit such a impressive site which contains some monuments from this dynasty including Royal Mosque, Aali Qapu Palace, Sheikh Lotf Allah mosque as well as Qeysariyeh Bazaar.

In safavid dynasty especially in 16th century there was always discussions to move the capital from Ardabil to anywhere in the middle of country in order to preserve the kingdom due to having several issues with Ottoman Empire. It had happened already by the 2nd king of this dynasty Tahmasb that he moved the capital from Ardbil to Qazvin but still issues were existed.

In early 17th century Shah Abbas I decided to move the political capital from Qazvin to Esfahan and sorted out all issues as they were away from borders. In this period he was struggling to build an impressive square for his kingdom and hired several artists from all over this empire to design a unique pattern.

The first monument of this square is Sheikh Lotf allah mosque which has been built in order to respect to Sheikh Lotf Allah because Shah Abbas had married to his daughter and this monument could be considered a little gift from the king to his father in law, a place where he could practice Sufism with his followers, however, this construction looks like a mosque and still people would prefer to name this Sheikh Lotf Allah mosque.

The 2nd monument of this square is Aali Qapu palace that has been expanded and completed by different kings of this dynasty over the years. At the beginning it was just an entrance gate toward royal palaces or even toward Divan Khane where king and his family lived. Later on it had become a formal for especial occasions where he was hosting excelencies from overseas. During this period Shah Abbas was able to admire patrolling and parading of his army or even watch polo games in square.

The last monument of this square is called Impressive Royal Mosque that has been built almost the end of his life and he was impatient to seeing this finished. He also joined to building construction and helped labors and artists in order to run the processes faster. The final step to finish this square was joining all these monuments together by building several shops in lines.

Afterwards he named the square Naqsh-e Jahan which has been translated into “beauty of the world”. Locals are very impressed of his actions and named their city “half of the World” in terms of having such an impressive square and monuments.

We would highly recommend to put this square in your bucket list when you travel to Esfahan and visit all monuments as well as bazaar and markets. Or even there are several cafes and restaurants that serve local dishes and drinks.

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