Cuaca di stesen bas Shiraz sejuk hingga ketulang. Malam ini ZBA mengucapkan selamat jalan kepada Shiraz dan menuju destinasi berikutnya Esfahan. Sebuah bandar yang dikenali sebagai ‘Esfahan nesf-e jahan’ (Esfahan is half the world) pada kurun yang ke16.
Sebenarnya keletihan masih terasa kerana tidak mempunyai ruang rehat yang cukup semasa berada di Shiraz. Harapan tinggi agar malam ini dapat melelapkan mata sepanjang perjalanan ke Esfahan.
Syukur, Alhamdulillah bas yang kami tempahi juga cukup selesa dengan tempat duduk yang boleh berbaring sepenuhnya. Selepas menjamah sedikit bekalan makanan dan minuman yang disediakan, bas bergerak menuju destinasi dan ZBA dibuai mimpi sehingga keesokan harinya.
Awal pagi ZBA sampai di Esfahan. Cuaca sejuk diluar dan kami berkampung didalam stesen bas yang serba morden sehingga matahari terbit. Membuat persiapan diri, solat, minum pagi dan merancang perjalanan berikutnya. Sebagai makluman stesen bas Esfahan berada dalam lingkungan 20 km daripada pusat bandar dimana kami membuat tempahan hotel. Didalam keadaan begini, kami memilih teksi sebagai pengangkutan alternatif.
Keluar daripada stesen bas barulah kita nampak bumi Esfahan yang sebenar. Pertama kali sejak berada di Iran, inilah kali pertama ZBA melihat kehijauan bumi Iran yang menjadikan Esfahan sebagai "green town" dengan sistem jalanraya yang cantik dan persekitaran yang bersih.
Berehat dan mengambil sarapan pagi dihotel sementara menunggu bilik dikemaskan. Hotel yang kami menginap agak famaus dengan pelancung asing kerana terletak tidak berapa jauh daripada beberapa pusat tumpuan pelancung.
City of Esfahan.
Such is Esfahan’s grandeur that it is easy to agree with the famous 16th-century half-rhyme ‘Esfahan nesf-e jahan’ (Esfahan is half the world). was slightly more geographically specific when he ranked ‘Isfahan among those rarer places, like Athens or Rome, which are the common refreshment of humanity’.
There are, however, some less than refreshing elements to Esfahan. This is the country’s third-largest city, and the outskirts are home to plenty of heavy industry, including steel factories and a much-discussed nuclear facility. Traffic jams are also a regular occurrence.
Naqsh-e Jahan Square
Naqsh-e Jahan Square (also known as Imam Square and formerly named Shah Square) was constructed between 1598 and 1629, when Shah Abbas moved the capital of his Persian Empire to the central city of Isfahan. This move prompted one of the greatest construction project in history, best displayed by the UNESCO listed magnificent central square.
The square embodies Shah Abbas’ attempts to centralise the former disparate power structures of the state: the clergy (Masjed-e Shah), the merchants (Imperial Bazaar), and the monarchy itself (Ali Qapu Palace). In its golden era much of the square was occupied by the tents and stalls of tradesmen, who paid rent to the government. Entertainers and actors performed for the masses, food was prepared and games took place on the huge expanse.
The square itself is surrounded by four of the city’s most important buildings all linked by a series of two-storey arcade. To the north, the entrance to the Imperial Bazaar, the Portia of Qeyssariyeh (1602-19), to the south, Imam Khomeini Mosque (1612-30), to the east, the Lotfollah Mosque (1602-18) and to the west, the pavilion of Ali Qapu (15th century).
|Masjid Sheikh Lotfollah |
Masjid Shah Esfahan (Masjid-i Imam)
Persian architecture is differentiated by the use of domes and minarets. These features are often seen in mosques and palaces. One of the best examples of this is the Shah Mosque.
The Shah Mosque, created during the Safavid era, is situated in the south side of the Naghsh-e
Jahan Square, which is also known as Imam Square. This is located in the center of Isfahan City in Iran. The mosque is covered with mosaics. These mosaics adorn the walls with their seven colors, predominant of which is the turquoise blue colored tile.
The dome roofing is one of the largest domes within the city, measuring up to 52 meters. This is a two-layered dome, with the inner cover separated from the outer one by 12 meters. Iwans, or vaulted spaces, are often seen in places such as this. However, the format used in the construction used a
four-iwan format making this place more distinguished and important than other exterior ones. Though portals are usually cast in shadows, people passing through the portals to the mosque will see that the portals bask in a blue glow. Entering the holy place, one is greeted by fresco-clad doors. The doors are covered with layers of gold and silver. It is covered with calligraphy about God and Shah Abbas I. Inscriptions can also be seen in the tiles of the entrance, white against an ultramarine background.
The Shah Mosque is not the only attraction of the Naghsh-e Jahan Square. On the eastern side of the square is Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque and across it is the Ali Qapu Palace. The Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque is unique in that in the center of its dome is a peacock, and through the hole in the ceiling, the sunrays become the peacocks tails. Ali Qapu Palace, on the other hand, has a distinctive front terrace as wide as the palace itself. The palace, once used as a place to greet and entertain nobles and foreign ambassadors, is a large rectangular building, which is 6 floor high.
Ali Qapu Palace
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