"The Persian Florence" by Alessia Bellan

The beauty of the sublime Iranian architecture.

travel stories and journals in Esfahan, by Alessia Bellan

Arrive in this wonderful city of central Iran, maybe after passing by Tehran and from the tours in the various locations, more or less crowded than what is a popular tourist destination even for Europeans, makes a strange impression: sitting on the banks of the river Zeyandeh at sunset, watching the Khajou bridge that crosses it in the center of the Persian town, one has the strange effect of being in Florence, on the banks of the Arno at sunset, aiming at the Old Bridge. The only difference with the bridge of the seventeenth century Esfahan? While the ancient Florentine shops sell to tourists gold and precious stones, here, the pretty little ravines on the 33 arches of the bridge are spaces where street vendors offer chestnuts, corn on the cob, tea. Listening to musicians at the entrances to the bridge, while kites spin in the sky.

Of great attraction for local families and for travelers who intelligently choose to stop in Esfahan and the Square of the Imam (Meidan Emam), one of the largest in the world - 550 meters in length x 160 in width -, where small families, young people, lovers strolling to share moments of friendship and peace, sipping coffee, gather in the evening and on feast days , smoking the hookah in the small bars of the area, visiting the shops of the craftsmen who still produce fine artifacts before the eyes of the customers.

Another jewel not to be missed, the Sheikh Lutfollah mosque, in the east part of the square Naghsh i Jahan, one of the most beautiful works of art in theIranian architecture. The construction was begun by the architect Shaykh Bahai in the 1603 and completed in the 1619, in the middle of the reign of Shah Abbas I, of the Safavid dynasty. It is part, together with the square Naghsh i Jahan, gods UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Structured in such a way that the Imam can speak in a low voice and still be heard by all the faithful, in every corner of the enormous space.

Another surprise a Esfahan it is the splendid flower garden. A botanical garden with beautiful flowers and plants from all over the world. A real oasis to shelter from the heat in summer under the pergolas of purple roses, in the area dedicated to cacti or at the edge of the pond with waterfalls, where you can admire ducks, rare fish, turtles, ducks ... Listening to the birds singing who have found a perfect refuge here.

To end with a flourish, it is advisable to stop in one of the many small rooms with kitchen of Bazaar, like "Peace coffee and tea", or from Azam Beryani, where to try the "beryani", a dish found only in this city. Made from mutton lung, it is served with powdered cinnamon and local bread, the "naan". We preferably eat at noon.

by Alessia bellan

Source: Treccani

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