The complex situated at the center of Isfahan, constructed between 1598 and 1629, it is now an important historical site, and one of the UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. The square is surrounded by beautiful buildings from the Safavid era.

When French poet Renier described Esfahan as "half of the world" in the 16th century, it was the myriad wonders of the square called Naghsh-e Jahan that inspired him. The description would not be out of place today, because while it is now officially called Imam Square. Few people use that name and it remains home to arguably the most majestic collection of building in the Islamic world. This square is ranked as a primary tourist attraction in Isfahan and it is Travelers' Choice™ 2014 Winner of the Trip Advisor.

Naghsh-e Jahan means "pattern/image of the world", and it's a world that owes much to the vision of Shah Abbas the Great. In 1598, when Shah Abbas decided to move the capital from the north-western city of Qazvin to the central city of Isfahan, he initiated what would become one of the greatest programs in Persian history; the complete remaking of the city. By choosing the central city of Isfahan, fertilized by the Zāyande roud ("The life-giving river"), lying as an oasis of intense cultivation in the midst of a vast area of arid landscape.

The square has changed little since it was built. The upper level of arched arcade surrounding the square is empty these days, though ling-talked-about plans to restore it for use as a museum of Esfahan's history are still being discussed. The open space has been reconstituted several times, most recently by the Pahlavi, who added the fountains. At either end of the square, you can still see the goal posts used in regular polo games 400 years ago. You'll see these polo matches depicted on miniatures for sale around the square.


Imam Square is 160 meters wide by 508 meters long (an area of 89,600 m2). The Shah Mosque is situated on the south side of this complex. On the west side, is Ali Qapu Palace (The Aliqapu palace situated on the other side of the square is a six-story Safavid structure with exquisite design and decoration). 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. These buildings at the sides of the square would charm your eyes with their intricate but simple design and decoration.

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