Fiday 23 October: We arrived early, shared a room in the backpacker's favourite - Amir Kabir Hostel, before exploring the sights of Esfahan.The 11th century Jame Mosque, Iran's oldest and the finest remaining example of Seljuk architecture.
The magnificent showpiece of Safavid architecture is the grand Imam Square built in 1602 (UNESCO World Heritage Site) - the 'Royal Crescent' of the east. The vast open space, surrounded by two great blue-tiled mosques, Ali and Sheikh Lotfollah, the majestic Ali Qapu Palace with its music room ceiling of vase stenciling to enhance the acoustics, and rows of arched shop fronts leading to the bazaar.
Chehelsotun Museum palace of '40 wooden pillars', there are actually 20 pillars plus their reflection in the ornate pool, is set in quiet gardens nearby.
At the southern end of town the, often dry, river Zayadeh is spanned two fine 17th century bridges, Si-o-Seh Bridge and Khaju Bridge. The 33 arch Si-o-Seh leads to Jolfa, the Armenian Christian quarter, with a few churches and Vank Cathedral crammed full with frescoes (no photos).
Photos of Esfahan.