Written by Ehsan Babrian the Isfahan’s representative of Persian Walk.
Why is Isfahan the Half of the World?
While traveling to Iran there is a city every traveler makes sure to visit, and after searching a little about this city we come across a phrase that might be an exaggeration at first that says: Isfahan the Half of the world. But why?
We talk about this term in detail on the Isfahan Free Walking tour.
But if you don’t have time to join us you can follow this blog.
One reason to call the city of Isfahan, half of the world is its rich history that dates back to the Achaemenes emperor. After that, the Sassanid emperor built the oldest bridge of Isfahan, the Shahrestan bridge, and the Fire Temple. If we want to trace the history after the Sassanid era we should visit the Isfahan Atigh Congregational mosque which was built on the ruins of a fire temple after the invasion of Arabs. In this mosque, we can have a quick review of the history of Isfahan too since every kingdom has made a change in this mosque to improve it such as Bovids, Seljuks, Mongols, Timurids, Safavids, Qajars, and Pahlavi.
Isfahan is well-known for its king Shah Abbas the First, he tried to empower the country against the Ottoman, Uzbek, and Portuguese in both military and economic aspects, as the result he changed his capital from Qazvin to Isfahan and made the organized city he wanted that In the 17th century, Isfahan became one of the most beautiful cities in the world attracting a lot of travelers.
The other reason to call Isfahan the half of the world is its historical monuments, there are a lot of places to visit in Isfahan with an eye-catching structure such as Naghsh-e-Jahan Square which is the world’s second-biggest square after Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, Ali Ghapou palace, Sheikh Lotfollah mosque, Ali Gholi Agha bath, Moshir ol molk house and a lot more that all of the places such as mosques, palaces, baths, houses, bridges, and Gardens are all gathered in one city. Maybe this part of a Persian poem can be a good one to describe Isfahan, all the good things others have, you have all by yourself.
The third aspect of making Isfahan Nesf-e-Jahan or half of the world is that we can even enjoy our day walking on a beautiful mountain and see the city under our feet and exercise or after a short ride reaching a desert and relax there or maybe visit some farmlands in villages out of the city or maybe sitting by river and canals filled with water and enjoy our picnic with family and friends. We may even want to listen to birds singing and enjoy their beauty while visiting the Birds Garden of Isfahan or relaxing in the Isfahan Aquarium. So there are many options to choose from and enjoy the time according to our mood.
Maybe another thing about that phrase is that in Isfahan we can find Shia and Sunni Muslims, Christians, Zoroastrians, and Jew brothers that are living all together happily and peacefully with a lot of respect for each other’s religion. These people living all together make us remember the phrase Isfahan the Half of the world according to the fact that these religions are spread all around the world.
Most travelers tend to buy the souvenirs they want such as Enamels, Calico, Marquetry, Engraving, Carpets, and Termeh in Isfahan maybe it’s because of the rich culture of Isfahan that has its own products and handicrafts plus some souvenirs of other cities of Iran in the Bazaars around The Naghsh e Jahan Square. It makes the trip easier for travelers in Iran.
The last but not the least, Isfahan can be heaven for foodies because it has its own traditional dishes such as Beryan which is all lamb meat and some fresh basil, and a yummy traditional drink called Dough. Or we may want to try Dizi which is made of peas, meat, tomatoes, and potatoes. Sometimes we want a sweet side dish to enjoy the meal and that’s when we can order some Khoresht must or yogurt stew which is usually yellow and while trying it we can feel the flavor of high-quality Saffron in it and wish the dish never ends.
Now you tell me, isn’t Isfahan, the half of the world?
You can join us and discover the half of the world on the Isfahan Free Walking Tour.