Finding things to do in Esfahan

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ November 16th, 2007. Updated on April 18th, 2009. Published in: Travel blog » Iran.

Travel Journal Overview: Making the best of it in Esfahan I decide to visit the “Half a World Away” place that is the center of Isfahan. It would not be the only place I’d end up describing as such.

Imam Square, Esfahan (click to enlarge)

Imam Square, Esfahan (click to enlarge)

I slept until 10am, mainly to avoid the mass of Iranian tourists that descended upon the ever wonderful Amir Kabir. A quick beefburger breakfast and I was out the door headed straight back to the pomegranate store, would luck befall be today? Well, I had a juice again, no bright blue eyed company, so yes. No luck.

I headed off for a lonely walk down to the Si-soh-meh bridge, yet even its historic 400 year old 33 arches failed to remove my gloom. I felt like it was time to leave Esfahan, and indeed Iran. It just was not doing it for me. It was modern, a European modern. With out the black glad women and Farsi you could be mistaken for think you were in a part of Spain. Historical references aside.

I did however want to see, the Zoroastrian Fire Temple and Shaking minarets. Two attractions not to be missed, again according to TB. Imam Square was another, that I could do easily. The others would require public transport and being nice to people so they would help the stupid tourist get to where he wanted to go. I just wasn’t able. It was on the way to Imam square I found Iranian Flight, which according to LP was the place to go for a tour. Shame they didn’t give the right directions. I signed up, for 150,000 I would be taken to Masjed Mosque, the shaking Minarets, Khaju and 33 arch bridges, the Zoroastrian fire temple and the Armenian church.

Expensive and great smelling oils in Iran

Expensive and great smelling oils in Iran

The idea of taking a tour made be cringe, it went against my solo independent travel. But it saved me time and frustration. So over a beefburger and bipsi lunch I swallowed my pride and decided to sign up. I think the thought of meeting other lost and frustrated tourists spurred me on more than anything else.

I headed back to Imam Square for a walk around. The one good thing is that Imam Square situated is at the center of the city and easy to find. Full of historical references the place is on the world Heritage list, and a place the French Poet Renier said was “Half of the World”. Who cold resist not visiting such a place?

The square is surrounded by buildings from the Safavid era. The Shah Mosque is situated on the south side of the square. On the west side is Ali Qapu Palace. Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque is situated on the eastern side of the square and the northern side spreads into Isfahan Grand Bazaar. To me the place is more of a giant royal rectangle. Fountains and a grassy park like area cover the center of the “square”where families come to sit and watch the world… or is it half the world go by.

Underground prayer room in Mosque de Jameh

Underground prayer room in Mosque de Jameh

Ali Qapu Palace to the west was my first destination, it was according to LP from the top the best place to get views of the square. Of course the place was covered with bloody scaffolding, and was next to impossible to get a good photo from. I descended back to the main square.

Amongst the general touts looking to sell carpets and general brass ornaments was a Spanish speaking Iranian determined for me to buy the “Fly Carpet”, and speak of our Spanish roots. They are pretty good salesmen, and it brought a wry smile to his face to see I was accustomed to dealing with touts and bargainers. But again to give them credit here, they are smarter than the average touts. I noted two earlier touts that had failed to grab my attention listing in to the Spanish speaking Iranian as he at least got a 5 minute conversation out of me. And it was those two other touts that would later give me the most interesting time in Esfahan.

Dusk was approaching so I went in search of the one thing LP got right about Isfahan, their are bugger all restaurants in the city. So amusing my self I went back to last nights debacle of a comedy restaurant to see what joys awaited me tonight. Not surprisingly the “Kebab Nazi”was still shouting down his microphone at full velocity. But to my joy I got an excellent chicken kebab, tones of meat, fresh and very importantly, hot! All for 45,000 without the accompaniment of violent plate crashing.

That night I lay in my tiny bed as the bright florescent light outside my little room glared through the large glass pane above the door, in I listened to the hard soled clatter of even more Iranian guest descending on the Amir Kabir. They were cheap, and central I figured. That was after all how I was stuck there. TV’s from neighboring rooms formed an incoherent mish mash of garbled sonics that seemed to converge in my eardrums. I dozed eventually, being stirred once as someone found themselves locked out of there room, and once more by the ceramic smashing of a bathroom basin.

Some related links from this website that  you might like: (including a lot more photographs from Iran)

Stories: Feeling Low on the Road, in Iran

Stories: Iranian women, and the others I met in Iran

My Iran country guide

Liked this post?

Never miss a post!

Enter your email address:


Feel free to comment on another post or contact me directly. If you share this post on social media it would be nice of you!