About Me

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I am married to my loving husband for more than 38 years now. I am a mother to 3 beautiful children, until 11 years ago when I lost my youngest son. Since then my life is forever altered but yet unbroken....

My Travel Journal

"There isn't much I haven't shared with you along the road and through it all there'd always be tomorrow's episode" - Elton John

I started traveling around the world since early 80s when I had the opportunity to combine business trips with vacations. Then later when my rezeki is in abundance, there were numerous other trips along the way for vacations, most of the time with hubby and the kids when the timing is right. I have also started to compile the journal and photo-pages covering almost more than 25 years of world wide travel. Some destinations I visited just once, others many times. Many of those places are the obvious famous places people would like to visit but some, the casual traveler doesn't even think to try. I have placed links to my travel at the side bar of my personal page, My Life Reflections, and will be updating them from time to time.

My wish is to continue my travel and complete circumnavigate the globe, insyaAllah…

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Iran Day 07: Isfahan

"Purpose is the reason you journey. Passion is the fire that lights your way..."

(Maidan-e Naqsh-e Jahan or Image of the World Square)

Day 07: Sunday, 13 Mar 2016
Isfahan Province
Hotel: Firoozi Hotel, Isfahan

Isfahan is the capital of Isfahan Province in Iran. Isfahan is located on the main north–south and east–west routes crossing Iran, and was once one of the largest cities in the world. It flourished from 1050 to 1722, particularly in the 16th century under the Safavid dynasty, when it became the capital of Persia for the second time in its history. Even today, the city retains much of its past glory. It is famous for its Persian–Islamic architecture, with many beautiful boulevards, covered bridges, palaces, mosques, and minarets. The city also has a wide variety of historic monuments and is known for the paintings, history and architecture.

Today is a public holiday to commemorate the death anniversary of Muhammad's daughter Fatimah. Martyrdom of Fatimah is a public holiday in Iran because Shia Islam is the official religion in this country. The anniversary of her martyrdom is marked every year by mourning ceremonies and processions. Ceremonies are held for twenty days, but only 3 Jumada al-Thani is declared a public holiday in Iran.

As it was a public holiday, most attraction sites and shops were closed in the morning. We drove around town passing a few famous bridges criss-crossing the city of Isfaham.

(One of nation-wide procession in Iran)
(Visiting the attractions in Isfahan)

Siose pol Bridge

Si-o-seh pol or The bridge of thirty-three spans is one of the eleven bridges of Isfahan and the longest bridge on Zayandeh River. It is highly ranked as being one of the most famous examples of Safavid bridge design. It consists of two rows of 33 arches from either sides, left and right. There is a larger base plank at the start of the bridge where the Zayandeh River flows under it, supporting a tea house which nowadays is abandoned due to the shortage of water and the river drought.

(A Safavid bridge design)
(33 arches seen from another bridge)

Pigeon Towers, Isfahan

One of the most amazing monuments which are scattered on the suburbs of Isfahan are pigeon towers. There were more than 14000 pigeon towers on the plain of Isfahan, especially on the east and west of the city. Unfortunately a large number of these towers were destroyed.

Pigeon towers represent one of the most remarkable examples of eccentricity in Iranian architecture. They are found in vast numbers round Isfahan and date from the time of the Safavids.

(One of the many pigeon towers)
(Home for wild pigeons)

While waiting for the attractions in Imam Square to be opened, we visited a carpet house where some purchased were made. We later had lunch at Little House Restaurant, a walking distance from Imam Square.

(Visiting a carpet shop)
(Hand-woven carpet displayed on the wall)
(Mohamad and Hussein, our two local guides)

Imam Square, Isfahan

Naqsh-e Jahan Square‎ translated as ‘Image of the World Square’, formerly known as Shah Square, is a square situated at the center of Isfahan city. It is now an important historical site, and one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. The square is surrounded by buildings from the Safavid era. The Shah Mosque is situated on the south side of this square. On the west side is the Ali Qapu Palace. Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque is situated on the eastern side of this square and at the northern side Keisaria gate opens into the Isfahan Grand Bazaar. Today, Namaaz-e Jom'eh, the Muslim Friday prayer, is held in the Shah Mosque.

The square is depicted on the reverse of the Iranian 20,000 rials banknote.

(A horse carriage at the square)
(A photo shot with the girls)

Imam Mosque, Isfahan

The Shah Mosque, also known as Imam Mosque, renamed after the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, and Jaame' Abbasi Mosque, is a mosque in Isfahan, standing in south side of Naghsh-e Jahan Square. The mosque has also been called Jameh Mosque of Isfahan over the course of years.

(Performing our prayers at Imam Mosque)

It is regarded as one of the masterpieces of Persian Architecture and an excellent example of Islamic era architecture of Iran. The Shah Mosque of Isfahan is one of the everlasting masterpieces of architecture in Iran. It is registered, along with the Naghsh-e Jahan Square, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its construction began in 1611, and its splendor is mainly due to the beauty of its seven-colour mosaic tiles and calligraphic inscriptions.

The mosque is depicted on the reverse of the Iranian 20,000 rials banknote.

Ali Qapu Palace, Isfahan

Ali Qapu is grand palace in Isfahan, Iran. It is located on the western side of the Naqsh e Jahan Square, opposite to Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, and had been originally designed as a vast portal. It is forty-eight meters high and there are seven floors, each accessible by a difficult spiral staircase. In the sixth floor, Music Hall, deep circular niches are found in the walls, having not only aesthetic value, but also acoustic.

The palace is depicted on the reverse of the Iranian 20,000 rials banknote.

(Ali Qapu Palace)
(The entrance of the palace)
(The mosque view from the opposite entrance)

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Isfahan

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is one of the architectural masterpieces of Safavid Iranian architecture, standing on the eastern side of Naghsh-i Jahan Square. Of the four monuments that dominated the perimeter of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square, this one was the first to be built.

(The Lotfollah Mosque has a secret entrance)
(The mosque is converted into a museum)
(Beautiful designed dome with natural light)
(Used to be a private mosque for the ruler)
(The walls adorned with blue mosaic tiles)
(Decorated narrow passageway)

The purpose of this mosque was for it to be a private mosque of the royal court, unlike the Masjed-e Shah, which was meant for the public. For this reason, the mosque does not have any minarets and is of a smaller size. To avoid having his ladies of harem to walk across the maydān when getting to the mosque, Shah Abbas had the architect build a tunnel spanning across the piazza, from the Ali Qapu palace, to the mosque.

Qheysarieh Grand Bazaar, Isfahan

The Isfahan Bazaar is a historical market in Isfahan, Iran, one of the oldest and largest bazaars in the Middle East. The bazaar is a vaulted two-kilometre street linking the old city with the new. The Bazaar of Isfahan is located in the northern section of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square, one of the biggest squares in the entire world. All around the square are bazaars full of magnificent Persian handicrafts and souvenirs.

(One of the entrances to the bazaar)
(Isfahan Grand Bazaar, the quiet section)
(Leisure walk while window shopping)
(Interesting antiques and artifacts)
(One of the many cafes in the bazaar)
(Drinking mint tea and tea from 7 flowers)

Khaju Bridge, Isfahan

Khaju Bridge is a bridge in the province of Isfahan, which has been described as the finest in the province. It was built by the Persian Safavid king, Shah Abbas II, on the foundations of an older bridge. Serving as both a bridge, and a dam, it links the Khaju quarter on the north bank with the Zoroastrian quarter across the Zayandeh River. It also served as a building and a place for public meetings. This structure was originally decorated with artistic tilework and paintings, and served as a teahouse. In the center of the structure, a pavilion exists inside which one would admire the view. This bridge is one of the finest examples of Persian architecture at the height of Safavid cultural influence in Iran.

(beautifully lit bridge)
(Filled with local and foreign tourists)
(Admiring the view from the arches)
(Isfahan city night view from the bridge)

(Cool and calm night walk across the bridge)
(Salam to Fatimah Al-Zahra)
(Congregation and prayers next to the bridge)

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