Isfahan has some of the most picturesque sights of the country that we just couldn’t skip. On the other hand is one of those cities that you just can’t decide which of the horrible accommodation you should choose so we really didn’t want to stay too long there…
Isfahan still doesn’t really have much to offer when it comes to economic accommodation. Looking around for a place to stay we felt the standard of the places were not changing, just the price was going up. Places we saw were just old and depressive, not maintained and generally not attractive at all. We thought that if we have to sleep in a shithole than at least it should be cheap so we went for Amir Kabir. Thankfully we could choose between a room filled with cigarette smoke and another one just stinking like old socks. We went for the second option. Motivated by the lack of toilet paper, coldness of the weather and the staff we were ready to see the city as fast as possible.
Around Naqsh-e Jahan Square
Nagsh-e Jahan is the heart of the city and the first place to visit. The square itself is a UNESCO heritage and was built in the 16th-17th century. That’s where the bazaar is and 3 of the most important sights to see in Isfahan.
Morning birds in the Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque
It’s a very small mosque without any minarets as it was built to be private for the royal court. That said, in the morning the light is just magical. It’s rather dark in there and then you can see separate rays of light coming through the perforated window. Yellow and purple colors of the dome create a perfect harmony with the blueish walls which made us think of a sunset…
It was built for the public so it’s big with a massive courtyard, praying hall and extensive ornaments and tile work. Compared to the Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque it seemed to us like it was a bigger version but somehow lacking the love and finesse of the small one. Still really worth visiting as it’s one of the most impressive ones in Iran.
Ali Qapu Palace
Six floors of bare walls are quiet disappointing. But on the sixth floor there is a Music Hall. It’s a rather small room but the walls and ceilings are covered in niches as ornaments and acoustic tools. Unfortunately there was no one there to explain to us how that would work… Except for the Music Hall, Ali Qapu has a terrace overlooking the whole square. When we were there it was undergoing a renovation so it was rather hard to say if the terrace itself was impressive…
Si-o-seh pol bridge is a symbol of Isfahan and definitely a must see. Especially that you never know if the river is actually there or if it’s completely dry… When we were there it was as dry as possible for already some time. People were picnicking in the river bed so they were pretty sure the water wasn’t coming back any soon. Walking under the bridge we actually noticed a long canal of passages underneath it where teenagers chill out. It’s worth coming in the evening, the bridge is really nicely illuminated.
P.S. We got contacted for feedback by people that are building a hostel at the time of writing and it seems it could be a nice turn for Isfahan. Reasonable prices, nice interior and finally toilet paper included 🙂 something worth checking out, it’s called Howzak House.