In the Safavid period, Naghsh-e Jahan Square was the beating heart of the city and a place for different social, economic, and political events.
This square is the host of a number of historical works and has embraced a variety of buildings; that’s why by visiting this square, you kill two birds with one stone and you’ll see an important part of Isfahan’s treasure. In this article, we deal with the introduction of the mentioned items above.
Why we should visit Naghsh-e Jahan Square?
Naghsh-e Jahan Square is one of the biggest squares in the world. This Square is one of the world works of Iran and its name is registered in the UNESCO world heritage list.
This historical square has been located in the heart of Isfahan and it can make visiting from many of the attractions, possible for you. Around the Naghsh-e Jahan, there are handicrafts stores that provide high-grade products.
The short history of the formation of Naghsh-e Jahan square
Shah Abbas II decided to select Isfahan as his capital in the 977 S.H. He considered expanding the city to the ground and along with this decision, he built Naghsh-e Jahan Square in the garden with the same name.
The beauty and glory of Shah Square have been so much that it was praised and admired by foreign tourists.
The open space in the middle of the square, provide the performance of the ceremonies, celebrations, and games like a bat and Ghopogh Andazi, and still after many years, the stony gates of bat game are there on both sides of the south and north sides of the square, in the form of stony pillars.
Introduction to Naghsh-e Jahan Square
Naghsh-e Jahan Square is recognized formally with the title of “Imam square”, which was the central square of Isfahan city and also a part of a historical collection.
What differentiates this square from its peers, is the rectangle form of it that has a difference from the circular or oval form of many of the usual and common squares.
This rectangular square, has 650 meters in length and 160 meters in width or other words, the length of it, has been come through with 430 feet and its width with 160 f00t.
For understanding the extent and attractivity of this square, it is enough to know that Naghsh-e Jahan has more breadth than the red square of Moscow, which is one of the most extensive and also the most famous squares of the world.
The big and famous square of Brussels city, Belgium with dimensions of 68 in 110 meters, has allocated an area lower than a tenth of the Square to itself.
The Square has historical superiority, in comparison with Concorde square of Paris and after the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, is known as the second big square of the world.
The general space of Naghsh-e Jahan Square
Upon arrival to the Naghsh-e Jahan complex, indeed, you are entering a different space of the city. This square has a big pool in the middle of itself that the beauty of dancing of its fountains is the byword.
The numerous passages, let you move easily in every corner of the square and enjoy observing its beauties.
On these two sides of this square, there are religious buildings and also mosques and on the other side, there has been seen a spectacular palace.
The entrance of the Isfahan bazaar is also from this square that invites you to a historical and different world.
There are booths or stores around the square that provide unique handicrafts products and with their goods, dazzle your eyes. Everything is so spectacular and wonderful that you forget to walk inside the buildings and you like to see these beauties for a longer time.
1- Ali Qapu palace
One of the most eye-catching buildings in the Naghsh-e Jahan is the Ali Qapu palace that is located on its west side and with a charming appearance, invites you to its inner world. This palace has 48 meters in height and has 6 floors that are connected with the spindle stairs.
This building was built between the years of 973 to 977 A.H. by Shah Abbas I and after transferring the capital of Safavid from Qazvin to Isfahan to be used as a residence and administrational government house of Safavid kings.
2- Sheikh Lotf Allah’s mosque
In the corner of this historical square, the beautiful dome of a mosque, attracts the attention of every passer-by, because, unlike the other mosques where their minarets are going toward the blue sky, there is not seen any minaret on its top.
Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque is one of the special mosques of Iran that was built in the Safavid period and today has many adherents as one of the attractions of the complex of Naghsh-e Jahan and also among the historical mosques of Isfahan.
The building of this mosque was continued for 18 years and after passing many years, it is considered an astonishing masterpiece in the use of color and light in its architecture.
3- Imam’s mosque
On the south side of the square, there have seen a dome and minarets, which belong to the Imam Mosque of Isfahan.
This mosque, which is also known as:
- Shah Mosque
- Soltani Mosque
- Grand mosque
It is considered the most important, historical mosque of Isfahan and one of the major buildings of Islamic architecture of Iran.
This building is a unique masterpiece of architecture, tiling, and carpenter in the 11th century A.H.
that building of it was started in the 1020 A.H.
by the command of the Great Shah Abbas in his 24th year of the reign, and its decorations and additional lasted until the period of his successors.
4- The gate of Caesarea (Gheisariye)
The gate of Caesarea (Gheisariye) is the name of one of the buildings of the Safavid period which is placed in the corner of Naghsh-e Jahan Square and in the main entrance of Isfahan Bazaar and after experiencing the good and bad days, it is still standing firm in its place.
Caesarea (Gheisariye) Bazaar/a part of the Grand Bazaar of Isfahan
Isfahan Bazaar is one of the biggest and the most beautiful markets of Iran and due to its presence in the Naghsh-e Jahan Square, it is considered as one of the most privileged bazaars of Iran, in terms of tourism location.
A part of this bazaar is known with the title of Gheisariye bazaar that its entrance in Imam Square has been specified with a beautiful portal.
There are many main and secondary series in this bazaar that among them, we can refer to the Samavar makers, Makhlas, Maghsoud Beik, Harouniyeh, Nim Avard-e Golshan, Shale and etc.
5- The gates of Chogan
In the south and north side of Shah Square, there have seen short and stony pillars that in fact, have formed the Chogan gate, and today, the passersby pass by them indifferently.
These are souvenirs of doing the exercise of bat (Chogan) in the past and constitute the oldest Chogan gate of the world.
6- Tohid Khane
Tohid Khane is the name of the building in the back of Ali Qapu palace that in the old days, it was used as the kitchen and prison of the palace. It has been said that this building in the period of Shah Abbas I, was the worship place of Sufism and the place of Khalife Al Kholafa, the center, and leader of the Safavid Sufism and on the Friday nights, groups of them were gathered in this building and pray to the spirit of the king.
7- Asarkhaneh Shahi
Asarkhaneh is a kind of old, oil-pressing factory. The oil produced in the Asarkhane was most used for the lighting supply of the city.
Asarkhane Shahi which is located in Naghsh-e Jahan Square and was built in the Shah Abbas Safavid period was providing the oil needed for the lighting of the square, mosque, court, and other parts of the city.
The remained building of today’s Asarkhane is constituted of three parts shooting house (Tir Khane), a hothouse, and a storehouse.
The nights of Naghsh-e Jahan Square in the Safavid period
In the Shah square at night, there were held entertainments like puppetry, juggling, storytelling, acrobatics, illumination, firework, and acting. In relation to the illumination of Imam in the night,
“around these great buildings, woody bases and catapults were have put that the place of light was built on them from bottom to top that in the celebrations and holidays, the lights were put on them and light them up and such illumination is not seen anywhere in the world; because the number of these lights is approximately 50000.
The Qajar and the eclipse of Naghsh-e Jahan Square
The Qajar period was the eclipse era of Shah Square. In this period, the plane trees in the square were felling for making the bases of the ball. Many of the booths which were around the square, were became barracks and some parts were destroyed, due to inattention.
But luckily, at the beginning of the Pahlavi period, Naghsh-e Jahan Square got revived, once again.
At this time, Hafez Street was built and it bring the possibility that the Square could be connected to the network of the main thoroughfares of the city.
Although the building of Sepah and Hafez streets caused the destruction of the four opening of the bazaar and by entering the cars to this square, a historical contradiction had occurred, but by the emphasis of UNESCO on the necessity of pavement construction of Naghsh-e Jahan in the sixties, preventions of cars entrance was done over time.
In this article, we addressed briefly the introduction and historical monuments in the Square (Ali Qapu mansion, Shah Mosque, Sheikh Lotf Allah mosque and etc.)
Besides visiting and capturing beautiful and stunning photos of Naghsh-e Jahan Square and buildings around it, we suggest that you also buy the handicrafts, souvenirs, and the foods inside and around the square and enjoy being in this beautiful place.
Do you have any experience of carriage riding in the square? Did you purchase from the existing stores in the square of handicraft? Which historical monuments of the square did you visit?