highlight of iran

Isfahan / Esfahan

“Embarking on a journey through Isfahan’s sprawling boulevards, one is enveloped in a rich tapestry of history, where architectural grandeur and contemporary vibrancy intertwine, creating a vibrant mosaic of lush gardens, splendid monuments, and bustling bazaars, all whispering tales from epochs gone by.”

 

Isfahan people

Isfahan, The Jewel of Persia.

 

Submerged in a rich tapestry of history, culture, and architectural splendor, the city of Isfahan, situated amidst the arid expanses of central Iran, manifests itself as a radiant jewel in the Persian landscape. A haven that has nurtured civilization for thousands of years, Isfahan is often encapsulated in a single, yet profoundly meaningful expression: “Isfahan nesf-e jahan” which translates to “Isfahan is half the world”. This ancient adage originated during the Safavid dynasty when the city was at its zenith, both culturally and politically, embodying a world within itself, wherein every nook and cranny reverberates with tales from a bygone era.

How to get to Isfahan by Air, Bus , car or train.

Getting from Tehran to Isfahan is quite straightforward and offers various options to suit your needs and preferences. 

Taking Flight:

  • Airlines: Iran Air, Mahan Air, Caspian Airlines, and others offer frequent flights from Tehran Mehrabad Airport (THR) to Esfahan Shahid Beheshti International Airport (IFN). The journey takes around 1 hour, making it the fastest option.
  • Cost: Fares generally range from 19,000 to 260,000 IRR depending on the airline, booking time, and season.
  • Pros: Ideal for time-pressed travelers, offers bird’s-eye views, most comfortable option.
  • Cons: Most expensive option, limited baggage allowance compared to other modes.

Riding the Rails:

  • Trains: Raja Rail Transportation Co. operates several daily trains from Tehran Station to Isfahan Station. The journey takes approximately 4 to 5 hours, offering a scenic and comfortable alternative.
  • Cost: Fares start from around 55,000 IRR for economy class and can go up to 150,000 IRR for deluxe class with more amenities.
  • Pros: Affordable, scenic journey with views of mountains and plains, comfortable seating, ample luggage space.
  • Cons: Longer travel time compared to flights, limited schedule flexibility compared to buses.

Embracing the Road:

  • Buses: Several bus companies like Seiro Safar, and Homa Safar offer regular services from Tehran’s Beyhaghi Terminal (South) and South Terminal to Isfahan’s Sepahsalar and Kaveh Terminals. The journey takes around 6 to 8 hours, providing the most budget-friendly option.
  • Cost: Fares range between 60,000 and 90,000 IRR depending on the company and comfort level.
  • Pros: Most affordable option, flexibility in departure times, potential for scenic stops along the way.
  • Cons: Longest travel time, less comfortable compared to trains and planes, limited luggage space.

Tips for a Smooth Journey:

  • Book in advance: Especially during peak season, securing your tickets early ensures availability and potentially lower prices.
  • Consider your priorities: Choose the option that best aligns with your budget, time constraints, and comfort preferences.
  • Pack light: Regardless of your chosen mode of transport, pack light for easier handling.
  • Embrace the experience: Whether soaring through the air, traversing scenic landscapes, or enjoying the local ambiance, make the most of your journey.

Additional Resources:

  • Rio2Rome: Compare schedules, fares, and travel times across different modes of transport.
  • Google Maps: Get real-time directions and estimated travel times.
  • Raja Rail Transportation Co. website: https://rail.cc/train-company/rai/49 (in Farsi and English)

How to get around Isfahan

Navigating Isfahan’s Charm: Your Guide to Public Transportation

Isfahan’s rich history and architectural splendor beckon exploration, and its efficient public transportation network makes it easy to navigate the city like a local. Here’s your comprehensive guide to getting around using various options:

Buses:

  • Isfahan’s bus network is extensive and affordable, covering most parts of the city. Regular buses, marked with red stripes, connect major landmarks and residential areas.
  • BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) buses, identified by their red color, offer a faster and more efficient option with dedicated lanes. They operate on major routes like Charbagh Street and Khajeh Abdolreza Abdolreza Expressway.
  • Fares are very reasonable, usually starting from 5,000 IRR, and you can purchase Isfahan Cards for even cheaper travel. These rechargeable cards are readily available at kiosks near bus stops and subway stations.
  • Be prepared for potential crowds, especially during peak hours. Buses arrive frequently, so you won’t have to wait long.

Minibuses:

  • For a more flexible option, consider minibuses, also known as “savaris.” These shared vans operate along fixed routes and can be hailed at designated stops.
  • Fares are slightly higher than buses, typically around 10,000 IRR per person. You pay directly to the driver upon boarding.
  • Minibuses are generally less crowded than regular buses, but they may not follow a strict schedule.

Taxis:

  • Isfahan’s taxi network offers a convenient option for shorter distances or late-night travel. You can hail them on the street or call for a ride through dedicated apps like Snapp or Tap30.
  • Negotiate fares with the driver before starting your journey. Metered taxis are available, but not always used.
  • Expect higher fares compared to buses and minibuses, especially during peak hours or for longer distances.

Car Rentals:

  • For complete freedom and flexibility, consider renting a car, especially if you plan to explore nearby towns or villages. Several car rental companies operate in Isfahan, offering a range of vehicles to suit your needs.
  • Be aware of traffic regulations and parking restrictions, which can be stricter in central areas.International driving permits are required for foreign visitors.
  • Car rentals can be expensive compared to public transportation, but they offer the convenience of exploring at your own pace.

Additional Tips:

  • Download offline maps like MAPS.ME to navigate without internet access.
  • Learn basic Farsi phrases for easier communication, especially with taxi drivers.
  • Be patient and courteous when using public transportation, especially during busy times.
  • Enjoy the experience! Public transportation offers a great way to immerse yourself in the local atmosphere and observe everyday life in Isfahan.

Remember, the best option for you will depend on your budget, time constraints, and desired level of flexibility. Explore all your options and choose the one that best suits your travel style.

Have a wonderful time exploring Isfahan

What to eat and where to find good food in Isfahan.

Unveiling Isfahan’s Culinary Delights: A Foodie’s Guide

Isfahan’s charm extends beyond its stunning architecture and vibrant streets. Its rich culinary heritage offers a symphony of flavors waiting to be explored. Dive into these iconic local dishes and discover the city’s soul through its cuisine:

Must-Try Delicacies:

  • Biryani: Isfahan’s signature dish, a flavorful stew of sheep’s pluck, lamb, spices, and onion, served with warm bread and meat broth.
  • Gheimeh Rizeh: Tiny meatballs simmered in a rich tomato-based sauce with saffron and turmeric, a comforting and flavorful dish.
  • Kebab Hosseini: Juicy minced lamb kebabs grilled to perfection, often served with grilled tomatoes and onions.
  • Khoresh-e Mast: A unique sweet and sour yogurt stew, often paired with rice and vegetables, offering a delightful contrast of flavors.
  • Kaleh Joosh: A hearty wheat germ soup bursting with fresh herbs and spices, a delicious and nutritious local favorite.

Popular Restaurants:

  • Haj Maghzi Beryani: This legendary restaurant, established in 1850, reigns supreme for its traditional Biryani. (Khayaban Chaharbagh Abbas Abad | +98 31 3223 2041)
  • Beryani Azma: Another renowned Biryani specialist, offering the dish in various styles and drawing crowds with its authentic atmosphere. (Chaharbagh Abbasi St | +98 31 3223 3958)
  • Rah Barzeen Restaurant: For an elegant dining experience, try their signature Ghormeh Sabzi stew and tender Kebab Masti, along with exquisite traditional desserts. (Hafez St | +98 31 3224 8482)
  • Ateshdan Restaurant: Immerse yourself in Isfahani charm at this traditional teahouse and eatery. Sample Gheimeh Rizeh, Kebab Hosseini, and their delightful local pastries. (Chaharbagh Abbasi St | +98 31 3223 3078)
  • Chehel Sotun Palace Restaurant: Enjoy a royal ambiance while savoring exquisite Iranian cuisine. Their Khoresh-e Mast and aromatic Khoresh Ghajme are culinary masterpieces. (Chehel Sotun Garden, Naqsh Jahan Square | +98 31 3625 5266)

Bonus Tip: Explore Isfahan’s bustling bazaars and hidden alleyways to discover charming local cafes and hidden gems serving authentic street food. Don’t be afraid to try something new!

Remember, these are just a few highlights of Isfahan’s culinary world. Be adventurous, ask locals for recommendations, and embark on a delicious journey through the city’s flavors. Enjoy your foodie adventure in Isfahan!

Safe travel in Isfahan

Safety First: Keeping You Secure in Isfahan’s Embrace

Isfahan’s captivating beauty deserves an equally enriching travel experience. While the city is generally safe, staying informed and cautious ensures a worry-free journey. Here are best practices to stay safe while exploring Isfahan:

Before you travel:

  • Register with your embassy: Inform your embassy or consulate about your travel plans and contact information. This allows them to assist you in case of emergencies.
  • Purchase travel insurance: Get comprehensive travel insurance covering medical expenses, lost luggage,and trip cancellations.
  • Research local laws and customs: Familiarize yourself with Iranian laws, cultural norms, and dress code to avoid unintentional offense.

While in Isfahan:

  • Stay vigilant: Be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. Keep valuables close and hidden from view.
  • Use taxis with meters: Avoid unmarked taxis and negotiate fares beforehand. Consider using reputable ride-hailing apps like Snapp or Tap30.
  • Be mindful of belongings: Don’t leave valuables unattended in restaurants or cafes. Use a money belt or secure travel pouch for essential items.
  • Dress modestly: Respect local customs by covering your shoulders and knees (women) and avoiding sleeveless shirts and shorts (men). Consider wearing a headscarf, especially in religious sites.
  • Learn basic Farsi phrases: Knowing simple greetings and directions can help you navigate and interact with locals more effectively.
  • Respect local laws: Avoid alcohol consumption in public, gambling, and engaging in political discussions.

Emergency Contact Information:

  • General emergencies: Dial 112 for police, 115 for ambulance, and 125 for fire.
  • Tourist Police: +98 31 3218 2373 (located near Isfahan Airport)
  • Main Police Station: +98 31 3225 2001 (Abdol Reza Blvd., Khayam Ave.)
  • Tourism Information: +98 31 3260 2322 (Imamzadeh Ismail Sq., Chehel Sotun St.)

Additional Tips:

  • Download offline maps like MAPS.ME to navigate without internet access.
  • Make copies of your passport and travel documents, but leave them in a safe location at your hotel.
  • Trust your gut instinct. If something feels wrong, avoid it and seek help if necessary.

Remember, Isfahan’s welcoming people and rich culture create an unforgettable experience. By following these tips and exercising common sense, you can truly soak in the city’s magic while ensuring a safe and enjoyable journey.

Have a wonderful adventure in Isfahan

Important numbers in Isfahan

Isfahan Essentials: Your Go-To Toolkit for a Smooth Journey

Planning a trip to Isfahan promises an enchanting experience steeped in history and cultural treasures. To ensure a smooth and worry-free journey, here’s your essential contact toolkit for emergencies and general assistance:

Emergencies:

  • General emergencies: Dial 112 for police, 115 for ambulance, and 125 for fire.
  • Tourist Police: +98 31 3218 2373 (located near Isfahan Airport)
  • Main Police Station: +98 31 3225 2001 (Abdol Reza Blvd., Khayam Ave.)

General Assistance:

  • Tourism Information: +98 31 3260 2322 (Imamzadeh Ismail Sq., Chehel Sotun St.)
  • Isfahan International Airport: +98 31 3458 5000 (Shahid Beheshti Airport)
  • Isfahan Central Bus Station: +98 31 3232 7111 (Imamzadeh Jafar St.)
  • Iran Air (National Airline): +98 21 4464 1212 (Tehran Headquarters)
  • Translation Services: Several private translation services like Parsine Translation Bureau and Isfahan Language Center offer assistance. Consider apps like Google Translate for basic communication.

Medical:

  • Atieh Hospital: +98 31 3731 5000 (Shahid Ashrafi Esfahani St.)
  • Ali Ibn Abi Taleb Hospital: +98 31 3267 2000 (Sheikh Bahaei St.)
  • Several private clinics and medical centers are available throughout Isfahan. Search online or ask your hotel for recommendations.

Transportation:

  • Snapp Taxi: Download app or call +98 877 726 7726
  • Tap30 Taxi: Download app or call +98 877 787 7879
  • Isfahan BRT buses: Red-colored buses with dedicated lanes offering efficient travel on major routes.
  • Regular buses: Red-striped buses covering most parts of the city.

Bonus Tip: Consider purchasing an Isfahan Card for discounted fares on public transportation.

Remember:

  • Save these numbers in your phone before your trip.
  • Write down important addresses and phone numbers on paper to have offline access.
  • Download offline maps like MAPS.ME to navigate without internet access.
  • Learn basic Farsi phrases for easier communication.

These contacts and resources will serve as your helpful companions throughout your Isfahan adventure. Enjoy your unforgettable journey

Money, Banks and Exchange in Isfahan

Navigating Isfahan’s Currency: Your Guide to Banks and Money Exchange

Exchanging your currency in Isfahan shouldn’t be a mystery. Here’s your map to navigating the city’s main banks and money exchange places, along with essential tips for a smooth transaction:

Main Banks and Money Exchange Locations:

Central District:

  • Melat Bank: Chaharbagh Abbasi St, Naqsh-e Jahan Sq. (+98 31 3223 0321)
  • Samaneh Bank: Chaharbagh Abbasi St, Naqsh-e Jahan Sq. (+98 31 3223 0888)
  • Parsian Bank: Sheikh Bahaei St, Chaharbagh Abbasi St. (+98 31 3202 5700)
  • Central Money Exchange: Hakim Nezami St, Sepah Sq. (+98 31 3224 7164)

Other Locations:

  • Melat Bank: Shahid Ashtari Esfahani St, Atieh Hospital (+98 31 3731 5000)
  • Samaneh Bank: Khomeini Sq., Imam Khomeini St. (+98 31 3626 0289)
  • Mellat Bank: Jomhoori Ave., Isfahan International Airport (+98 31 3458 5000)
  • Iran Tourism Exchange: Hakim Nezami St, Hasht Behesht Palace (+98 31 3220 9564)

Money Exchange Tips:

  • Carry euros or US dollars: These are the preferred currencies for exchange. Euros generally offer better rates than dollars.
  • Compare rates: Check rates at different banks and exchange offices before committing. Consider online resources like xe.com for live updates.
  • Bring bills in good condition: Torn or defaced bills may be rejected.
  • Know the procedure: Some exchanges require your passport and travel documents.
  • Beware of street hustlers: Avoid exchanging money outside authorized offices.
  • Obtain receipts: Keep your exchange receipts for potential future transactions.

Bonus Tip: Consider using international debit cards with Mastercard or Visa logos for withdrawals from ATMs. Inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid blocked cards.

By following these tips and visiting reputable exchange locations, you can ensure a safe and efficient currency exchange experience in Isfahan. Have a wonderful journey

Social Norms and Etiquette in Isfahan:

Unveiling Isfahan’s Charm: Your Guide to Respectfully Navigating Local Customs

Isfahan’s beauty extends beyond its architectural splendor; it thrives on a rich tapestry of customs and traditions. Understanding and respecting local norms during your visit will ensure a harmonious and enriching experience. Let’s delve into the cultural etiquette of Isfahan:

Dress Code:

  • Modesty is key: Dress modestly to avoid unintended offense. Women should cover their shoulders and knees, and men should avoid sleeveless shirts and shorts. Loose-fitting clothing is preferable,especially in religious or government buildings.
  • Headscarves for women: While not mandatory in Isfahan, wearing a headscarf shows respect for local customs. You can find beautiful scarves sold in many shops.
  • Avoid revealing clothing: Swimwear is only for beaches and private pools. Be mindful of revealing clothing even in casual settings.

Greetings and interactions:

  • Shake hands and body language: A gentle handshake is customary when meeting someone new, especially elders. Men should wait for women to initiate a handshake. Avoid holding hands in public unless you’re a couple. Maintain a respectful distance during conversations.
  • Formal titles: Use titles like “Agha” for men and “Khanom” for women when addressing someone formally.
  • Be mindful of laughter and PDA: Excessive laughter and public displays of affection are not common in Isfahan.

Visiting Mosques and Shrines:

  • Dress conservatively: Cover your head and wear long, loose clothing.Remove your shoes before entering.
  • Silence your phone: Be respectful of the sacred space and maintain silence.
  • Avoid photography: Some shrines may have restrictions on photography, so ask permission before taking any pictures.

Dining Etiquette:

  • Wait to be seated: Don’t sit down until invited to do so by the host.
  • Eat with your right hand: Traditionally, food is eaten with the right hand. Utensils may be provided for some dishes.
  • Refuse politely: It’s customary to be offered food or drink twice or thrice before declining. Decline politely and thank the host for their generosity.

10 Helpful Farsi Sentences:

  1. Salam (Hello)
  2. Khob hastid? (How are you?)
  3. Mamnoon (Thank you)
  4. Torokhon (You’re welcome)
  5. Behsh be donet (Bless you)
  6. Bبخشید (Excuse me)
  7. Nemifahmam (I don’t understand)
  8. Kar konam? (May I help you?)
  9. Che qadar mishe? (How much is it?)
  10. Khoda hafez (Goodbye)

Remember:

  • A smile and a friendly demeanor go a long way.
  • Learn basic Farsi phrases to show your effort and respect.
  • Observe locals and adapt your behavior accordingly.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask politely if you’re unsure about anything.

By embracing these guidelines, you’ll unlock the true beauty of Isfahan’s culture and forge meaningful connections with its people. Have a wonderful and respectful journey!

Bonus Tip: Check out Google Translate’s phrasebook feature for additional helpful phrases and pronunciation assistance

Any questions? call us any time 24/7 at:  +989174257008 – Email: info@IranTravelingCenter.com

Why to visit Isfahan?

Let’s go on a journey through the sprawling boulevards of Isfahan, one is welcomed by an effusive amalgamation of historical grandeur and contemporary vibrancy. This city, which once was an essential crossroad on the legendary Silk Road, has meticulously preserved its splendiferous monuments, lush gardens, and vibrant bazaars, all of which stand as testaments to its storied past and its vibrant cultural tapestry.

The majesty of Isfahan is perhaps most luminously reflected in the Naqsh-e Jahan Square, an immense field of architectural beauty and historical significance. The square, inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is surrounded by the imposing Shah Mosque, Ali Qapu Palace, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, and the entrance to the Grand Bazaar. Each edifice, with its intricate tilework, soaring minarets, and majestic domes, conveys the artistic prowess and the architectural ingenuity of the Persian artisans of the Safavid era.

The lush Zayandeh Rood river, a lifeline in the parched desert terrain, meanders through the city, its banks adorned with the equally storied and aesthetically delightful bridges like Si-o-Se Pol and Khaju Bridge. These structures not only served as functional constructions for crossing the river but also as meeting points where people gathered to share tales, philosophize, and bask in the serene beauty of the sun setting upon the gentle waters.

Art and craftsmanship entwine seamlessly in the city’s vibrant bazaars. The resonance of hammer striking copper, the gentle caress of the weaver’s hands upon delicate silks, and the aromatic allure of spices form a sensorial symphony that immerses visitors into the very soul of Isfahan. Here, meticulous miniaturists, masterful carpet weavers, and skilled metalworkers perpetuate an artistic legacy that has transcended generations.

As we transcend the tangible and delve into the intangible, Isfahan’s cultural and social richness unveils itself. The warm-hearted and welcoming Isfahanis, with their eloquent poetry, intricate music, and scrumptious cuisine, invite you into a world where the modern and the ancient coalesce in a harmonious ballet. It is a place where stories are not just told but are lived, where every stone, every alley, and every smile invites you to traverse through epochs, experiencing the mystical allure that is so quintessentially Persian.

Isfahan, a manifestation of architectural splendor, a kaleidoscope of vibrant markets, and a confluence of warm and amiable dwellers, undoubtedly forms an essential pin on the map of any discerning traveler. To traverse its streets is to walk through chapters of a richly illuminated manuscript, each page unfolding tales of emperors and artisans, of conquests and artistry, inviting you to be enthralled, to explore, and to become a part of its eternal narrative.

Jameh Mosque of Isfahan, Isfahan

Explore Iran, take a daily walking tour or a join us on a multi day travel package with us.

The City Maps

A few places places to stay.

Abbasi Hotel / Isfahan

Isfahan, Amadegah Street, Abbasi Hotel, Iran

Parsian Kowsar Isfahan Hotel / Isfahan

Isfahan Province, Isfahan, Mellat Boulevard, Parsian Kowsar Hotel, Iran

Alighapou Hotel / Isfahan

Isfahan Province, Isfahan, Bagh-e-Goldaste Street, AliGhapou Parking, Iran

Jamshid Hotel / Isfahan

Isfahan Province, Isfahan, Chahar Bagh Paeen Street, Jamshid Hotel, Iran

A few places worth a visit.

Archological sites

Chehel Sotun

Chehel Sotun, located in Isfahan, Iran, is a historical palace renowned for its architectural beauty and historical. This UNESCO World Heritage site, known for its distinctive twenty columns reflecting in the waters of its front pool, forms an enchanting image that translates to “Forty Columns” in Persian…

Chehel Sotoun, Isfahan

Churches

Vank Cathedral

Vank Cathedral, also known as the Holy Savior Cathedral, is a historic and architectural gem located in the Armenian quarter of Jolfa in Isfahan, Iran. Established in the 17th century during the Safavid era, it’s a testament to the cultural and religious diversity of the region. The cathedral is renowned for its stunning blend of Islamic and Armenian architectural elements, featuring a unique brick dome, intricate frescoes, and gilded carvings. Inside, the walls are adorned with exquisite paintings depicting biblical scenes, making it a significant site for both its historical value and religious importance …
Vank Cathedral in Isfahan, Isfahan

Mosques

Jameh Mosque of Isfaha

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Jameh Mosque of Isfahan, Isfahan

Mosques

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque

The Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, located in Isfahan, Iran, is a masterpiece of Persian architecture. Built during the Safavid Empire, under Shah Abbas, it was completed in 1619. The mosque is renowned for its stunning tilework and mosaics, which adorn both its exterior and interior. Unlike other mosques, it lacks a minaret and a courtyard, as it was built for private prayers of the royal court. The dome’s exterior changes color from dawn to dusk, reflecting the light in unique patterns. The mosque’s serene and harmonious design, along with its intricate geometric patterns and calligraphy, make it a symbol of the sophistication of Persian Islamic architecture …
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Isfahan

Mosques

Naqsh-e Jahan Square

Naqsh-e Jahan Square, located in Isfahan, Iran, is one of the largest and most magnificent city squares in the world. Known as Imam Square, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, renowned for its unique display of Islamic architecture. Built in the early 17th century during the Safavid dynasty, the square is surrounded by important historical buildings, including the Ali Qapu Palace, the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, the Imam Mosque, and the Isfahan Grand Bazaar. This square has been a vibrant place for social gatherings, ceremonies, and polo games over centuries, making it a symbol of Persian culture and history …
Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Isfahan

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