Pol and Khaju
"Khaju" or "Khaje" means "great" and "dignitary", a title used for the notables of the time. The Khaju bridge (also called the "Baba Roknoddin" bridge) was built in the 1650 by order of Shah Abbas II, as a bridge-dam on the river Zayande-rud to the east of the Si-o-Se bridge. The purpose of the bridge construction was to establish a connection between the two districts Khaju and Darvaz-e Hassanabad with Takht-e Fulad and the road to Shiraz. In the 1932 the bridge was added to the list of national monuments of Iran.
The bridge is 133 meters long and 12 meters wide. The bridge has 24 arches finely carved from large blocks of stone that have wooden sluices in the central part. Each arch has a different shape. The floor of each arch can work both from the wall of the dam and from the pavement. The mouths above the arches open in case of river water lifting and cause the water from above the pavement to flow in the form of a waterfall on the existing steps. Behind the sides of the bridge there are also decorations with colored majolica tiles.
The eastern façade of the bridge has stair-shaped stands on which you can sit. In the middle of the bridge, at the level of the bases there is a large stone floor space. The western façade of the bridge has angular frangicorrente rostra. The stones with which the bridge was built, from the pillars to the arches, show the marks of the Safavid stonecutters that worked them. The river water crosses the bridge under large stone slabs that cover the water. In the middle of the bridge, large platforms for seating were designed in the extension of the longitudinal axis under the vaults.
In the center of the bridge, on the upper floor, there is a pavilion known as "Beiglarbeigi" which was the temporary home of the Safavid kings and their family. The vaults of this pavilion have been decorated with gilded paintings and ornaments. Above the pavilion there was a further floor which was however destroyed in 1892. Spaces were also designed on the two northern and southern sides of the bridge which, in addition to being used for the maintenance of the tools that were used to change the bridge into a dam and as a place of stationing of the bridge attendants, they were also a place for holding some parties. On the two eastern and western sides of the bridge some rooms have been built, known as "Shah Neshin" and decorated with paintings, which in the Safavid era were a post reserved for princes and nobles from which to observe swimming and rowing competitions. which took place in the artificial lake near the bridge.
In the corners of the eastern side of the bridge are two stone lions, a symbol of the army of the Bakhtyari tribes who protected Esfahan and Zayande-rud. Two other stone lions can be found at the two entrances to the bridge: their red eyes shine like two red lamps even after sunset, even on rainy nights and without moonlight.
The presence of recreational architectural spaces, painted and decorated with tiles, and the structure of the bridge-dam that gave the possibility to form an artificial lake near the bridge, are among the unique features of the Khaju bridge. This artificial lake as well as for recreational and sports purposes and urban furniture, was used for irrigation of gardens and fields in the surrounding area, as water supply for the wells of surrounding neighborhoods, as a water reserve in the months shortly rainy and for the water mills of the surroundings. In addition to this, small pools formed on the surrounding land were used for aquaculture.
This bridge in Esfahan town planning, in the period Safavid, was a remarkable example of bio-architecture for the desert regions of Iran.