Esfahan is Iran's Masterpeace, the jewel of ancient Persia and one of the finest cities in the Islamic world, and the whole world at that. The esquisite blue mosaic tiles of Esfahan's Islamic buildings, its expancive bazzar and it's gorgious bridges demand as much as your time as you can spare. It's the city for walking, getting lost in the bazzar, doging in beautiful gardens, drinking tea, and chatting to locals in the marvalous tea houses. More then anything else though, Esfahan is a place for savouring the hight refinement of Persian culture, most evedent in and around Immam square-the immam Mosque, Sheih Lotfollan Mosque, Ali Qapu Palace, and Chehel Sotoon Palace. Such is Esfahan's grandure, that Robert Byron ranked Esfahan "among the rarer places in the world which are common resfeshment to humanity".
Esfahan is one of the oldest cities of Iran with the 1,001,000 population located 414 km south of Tehran and 481 km north of Shiraz. This 2500 years old city served as Persia's capital from 1598 to 1722. Esfahan was a crossroad of international trade and diplomacy, and therefore was a kaleidoscope of resident languages, religions, and customs. The city is known for its silver filigree and metal work. After its selection as capital by Shah Abbas I (1587-1629) who unified Persia it reached to its pinnacle of briskness. Esfahan had parks, libraries and mosques that amazed Europeans, who had not seen anything like this at home. The Persians called it Nisf-e-Jahan, half the world; meaning that to see it was to see half the world. Esfahan became one of the world's most elegant cities. In its heyday it was also one of the largest with a population of one million; 163 mosques, 48 religious schools, 1801 shops and 263 public baths. Today, Esfahan is a major industrial center and also is one of the important tourism centers of Iran and the world.