Isfahan
 
Due to its strategic location, Isfahan was an important military center in ancient Persia. Later, the city was chosen as the capital of the Safavid (1501-1736) dynasty and became a place where various cultures and nationalities met and merged. During its golden age in the 17th century, Isfahan was considered bigger than London, more cosmopolitan than Paris, and grander than the fabled Istanbul.
Known as the City of Turquoise Domes for its beautiful mosques, which sparkled like gems along the Silk Road, Isfahan was where Islamic architecture achieved excellence and influenced the design of mosques throughout Asia. 

During his reign, Shah Abbas I (1571-1629) built 999 caravanserais throughout the country one of which is said to be the 300-year-old Abbasi Hotel. This traditional lodging with its palatial proportions, unique design and delightful garden is the most famous of hotels in Isfahan and Iran.

Isfahan may be known for its striking boulevards, stunning covered bridges, magnificent palaces, beautiful churches and functioning synagogues but its glory is not limited to its countless historical sites. The river flowing through the heart of the city, like many world capitals, has created a rich cultural hub where one can grasp the true feeling of the Persian way of life.

Like the architecture of the city, Isfahan rugs have world reputation. These rugs with their silk warps and cotton or wool wefts are densely knotted and have designs inspired by the tilework of Isfahan mosques. One of the most precious Persian carpets from this city is the ‘Oneness of Mankind’ by Mohammad Seirafian which adorns the UN Headquarters in New York.

Among the cities of Iran, Isfahan has the most number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and therefore it is not surprising that it carries the nickname “Half of the World.”

This charming city, the third largest in Iran, has a thriving Armenian quarter with a maze of cobblestoned streets and inviting cafes situated around the old churches of Jolfa.

Must see in Isfahan:

- Naqsh-e Jahan Square along with the Isfahan Bazaar, Sheikh Lutfollah and Shah (Imam) Mosques and Ali Qapu Palace

- Vank Cathedral

- Jame Mosque

Best foods to try:

- Beriani (not to be confused with the Indian Biryani) - Cooked mutton or lamb grilled in special shallow pans in an oven or over a fire served with powdered cinnamon in local bread.

- Khoresht-e mast or yoghurt stew – A sweet pudding made of yogurt, lamb/mutton or chicken, saffron, sugar and orange zest .

- Gaz or Persian nougat - A chewy mix of pistachio, almonds, cardamom and rosewater shaped into square or round little bites of sweetness.

UNESCO Sites:

- Naqsh-e Jahan Square along with the Isfahan Bazaar, Sheikh Lutfollah and Imam Mosques and Ali Qapu Palace

- Jame Mosque of Isfahan

- The Persian Garden: Chehel Sotun Garden

Handicrafts:

Carpet, Coppersmithing, Girih Tiles, Khatam (marquetry), Miniature (illuminated manuscript), Monabbat, Porcelain Enamel, Pottery, Qalamdan Sazi (pen case crafting), Qalamkari (textile printing), Qalamzani, Stucco, Velvet Weaving, Zari Bafi

Nicknames:

Half of the World, City of Turquoise Domes

Best Season:

Spring and fall are the best seasons to travel to Isfahan, although the temperatures are comfortable year-round.

Population:

1.7 million



Ancient Persia Pakage
Anna From  Italy
We had such a wonderful time in discovering the beauty of Persia. Everything was arranged by step to Iran, visa procedure, accommodation, domestic flights. Many thanks to Ali, reliable and capable guide whose precious explanations we appreciated a lot.


Gem of Persia
Edwin & Diana From  The Netherlands
We had a wonderful holiday in Iran en that was also because of our tour guide Shahram Rafie of Step To Iran. He has a lot of knowledge about the history of Iran and it’s cultural heritage and tells enthusiastically about it. Although we had beforehand an itenary, he organized spontaneous things in between: climbing into ancient desert cities, visiting a carpet shop with explanation by the carpet seller, doing a jeep safari, etc. This was of course always in consultation with us. We also had enough time to do things on our own. Furthermore he arranges everything, like a roomchange or a place in a full (!) restaurant; and knows the best restaurants in every town. Last but not least he is a nice guy, which is important when you travel together for a couple of weeks. So we love to visit Iran again, with Step To Iran.


Kerman Daily Tour
David From  France
I asked for a tailor made travel in order to visit the south part of Iran, Kerman, Kalut desert and fortress of Bam. All the services were according my requests, the guide by car took me where I wanted, that was perfect. l definitely recommend step to Iran for a good travel experience without worries in this amazing country.


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