How to Visit Isfahan’s Imam Square

How to Visit Isfahan’s Imam Square

Many people who travel to Iran have already planned to visit Isfahan as one of Iran trip highlights. I want to show you how you can plan an unforgettable walking tour of Isfahan visiting Imam Khomeini Square (Imam Sq) formerly known as Naqgh-e-Jahan Square. This one-day tour helps you visit the highlights of the heart of this tourist destination at the best time of the day and make the most of it.
First Visit Chehel Sotun Palace
You may wonder why I’ve started from this palace. Here’s the reason: Chehel Sotun Palace is just behind Imam Sq at Ostandari street. The best time of the day to visit this palace is early in the morning. So, depending on the location of your hotel, you can arrange to get there by car or on foot to start your day. Chehel Sotun means 40 columns. The name is chosen to indicate there are lots of them as 40 is the number of abundance in Iranian culture.
The decorations and motifs on the mural paintings inside the palace make you stared at them and fixate your eyes on each and every one of them. Even outside the palace, there are lots of awesome patterns and miniatures depicted on the walls.
Visit Isfahan’s Imam Square
The majority of tourists who travel to Iran, ask about this square, talk about it and read about the monuments around it. When the visit to Chehel Sotun palace is completed, you can take a walk through a park and get into the middle of Imam Square. If you’re lucky and it’s a sunny day, due to the cool weather of early morning Esfahan, you would enjoy the sunshine at your face mixed with fresh air across the park.
You will be overwhelmed by the awesome grandness and openness of this square. It’s two times larger than the Red Square in Moscow with hundreds of arches all around it. There are 3 universally known buildings and a bazaar in this square, which are fantastic and very attractive. Nobody gets tired of strolling in this square sooner than a day. As a tourist guide, I’ve shown various corners of this site to thousands of tourists. Some even love to see it over and over again. I should add that Imam Square is registered at UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites.

Visit Isfahan’s Imam Mosque

As your travel to Iran is based on a tight schedule packed with lots of sights in one or two weeks, you might not have time to come to this square the next day. So, the right way of visiting this square in the morning after you’ve visited Chehel Sotun is to go to Imam Khomeini Mosque (Originally Jame-e- Abbasy Mosque). As you enter, it will be on your right side.
This mosque with 4 minarets and a huge blue dome has got the best light in the morning for visitors due to its relatively high courtyard walls. Also, they close it to visitors at the time of noon prayer, because it’s both a functional mosque and a monument. The size, embellishment, precision in design and architecture and overall beauty of this building drive everyone into an inner feeling of appreciation.
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosue Is Next
Leaving Imam Mosque, you will get back to Imam Square again and walk toward Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, the one without minarets. This private mosque of royal family was mainly used by the royal family members. So, there was no need to call people for prayer, specially in the vicinity of Imam Mosque which is so close to this one. The buff color of the dome, the color combination, motifs, decoration and architecture of this and the previous buildings have convinced professor Arthur Upham Pope, the well-known Iranologist to admit that these two mosques are the examples of culmination of Islamic architecture in Iran.
By the time you finish visiting Sheikh Lotfollah mosque, it is more or less the middle of the day and some shops start closing down for prayer and siesta. So, you can take some rest and have something to eat in one of the restaurants in the square.
Strolling in the Arcade Bazaar Corridors
As you have planned to see as much as possible during your travel to Iran and this square is so nice and lively, you’d like to explore the culture even more at different times of the same day. So, all around the square, there are some shops and behind them you will find passageways and more shops inside the roofed arcade area. Some may have closed at this time and some may have kept their shops open. It will be a nice opportunity to sneak into these passageways.
Visit Ali Qapu Palace
When the Sun has moved a bit lower toward west in the sky, it will be your best time to visit Ali Qapu Palace, the high rise of Isfahan during the Safavids, when this square and many other captivating structures were built. There are lots of big steps leading you first to a balcony from which you will have a thrilling view of the square, the opposite dome reflecting the sunshine and even outside the square.
The palace itself has got plenty of beautiful patterns on its walls and architecturally fascinating top-floor design and decoration that used to be used by the royal family as their private sector of the building.
Qeisarieh Bazaar
When shopkeepers go back from siesta and reopen their shops, it will be the best time to go to the Qeisarieh Bazaar and walk around its corridors and passageways. This square and, in general, this city is where you can find lots of souvenirs and gifts to buy as Isfahan has got tons of different handicrafts to offer to both Iranian and non-Iranian visitors to the city.
Once you explore various corners of the bazaar, it will be the time to enjoy watching the Sun going down and casting orange color to the Eastern arches of the stores and the facade of the Eastern structures altogether. You will feel so relaxed and out of this world to sit somewhere and lean back while the Sunset adds to the beauty of this Iranian tourism hotspot.
This will be the end of your one-day walking tour of Imam Square in Isfahan and an incredible experience left with you for the rest of your life. You will remember this day any time you think of your travel to Iran.

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