Naqsh-e Jahan | Heart of the Safavid Capital
The construction of Naqsh-e Jahan Square, also known as Shah Square or Imam Square was started in 1601 and finished in 1636 during the reign of Abbas The Great (Safavid era). The design of this square makes it unique in its kind. In Iranian squares’ architecture, there is a bazar, a religious center (mosque) and a government center. Its shape is a rectangle 160 metres (520 ft) wide and 560 metres (1,840 ft) long and is located in the center of Isfahan City.
The square is surrounded by two hundred two-storey chambers, Ali Qapu Palace, Shah Mosque (also known as imam mosque) , Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque and Qeysarie Gate which is located in the middle of the rectangle.
It was one of the largest and most beautiful squares in the world in the 17th century. During the reign of Abbas The Great and his successors, this square was the place to hold royal celebrations, to play polo (a horseback play that is played by two opposing teams with the objective of scoring goals by using a long-handled wooden mallet to hit a small hard ball through the opposing team’s goal), military parade, lighting, celebrations and different shows. On the other days it has been a great place for people to walk and shop and hold big Jome Bazaar (open space market in Fridays).
The square is intelligently designed to be considered as a polo field and its goals that also affected how the game was played. Some famous polo fields such as Hurlingham Polo Club is inspired by Naqsh-e Jahan Square. Two stone goals that date back to that era is still in the square, which is the world’s oldest polo gates.
Nowadays, with the existence of the chambers most of which have been transformed into craft shops, bustling markets, cafes and restaurants and crowded mosques, the historical Naqsh-e Jahan Square becomes an lively and vibrant place. It is one of the first recorded sites in UNESCO that was registered in the list in 1979.
*This article has been written by Sooshia Shamsaei
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|Name(s) in Persian: میدان نقش جهان|
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|Province: Esfahan|| Accomodation availability: N/A |
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