Naqsh-e Jahan Square (Meidan Emam – Imam Square) | Isfahan, Iran

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Naqsh e Jahan Square feature image 2 - Naqsh-e Jahan Square (Meidan Emam - Imam Square) | Isfahan, Iran
14 Dec

Naqsh-e Jahan Square (Meidan Emam – Imam Square) | Isfahan, Iran

The extraordinary Naqsh-e Jahan Square, also known as Meidan Emam or Shah Square, or Imam Square, is an exceptional legacy of the Safavid empire (1501- 1736) in the heart of Isfahan. Indeed, the square, as a UNESCO World Heritage site, impresses visitors with its unique architecture. Shah Abbas I ordered the construction of the square around 400 years ago. In particular, he aimed at a multipurpose ensemble. Shah Mosque, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Ali Qapu Palace, and Grand Bazar make the square a magnet for visitors. Stick with me to deep dive into this amazing treasure.

Naqsh e Jahan Square 6 - Naqsh-e Jahan Square (Meidan Emam - Imam Square) | Isfahan, Iran

Naqsh-e Jahan Square – Imam Square

Why Visit Naqsh-e Jahan Square?

  • Naqsh e Jahan Square is a glamorous UNESCO heritage monument.
  • Naqsh-e Jahan Square is the second largest square in the world.
  • Imam Square (Naqsh e Jahan) features a unique multipurpose architecture.
  • It embraces a fascinating fountain surrounded by refreshing gardens.
  • The square, especially Bazar, resembles an oriental trading atmosphere.

What Makes Naqsh-e Jahan Square Special?

Basically, the square was a meeting point of elements of the triangle of power of the time: the monarch, the merchants, and the clergy. Shah Mosque and Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque represented the clergy and the power of religion. Besides, the Grand Bazar emphasized the role of the tradesmen and trading in the region. Equally, Ali Qapu featured the power of the king and the royal family. Stay with me to learn more about the beauties and functions of this splendid square.

The History of Naqsh-e Jahan Square – Imam Square

A significant decision made in 1598 led to the creation of this momentous Safavid relic. Shah Abbas I decided to move his capital from the north-western city of Qazvin to the central city of Isfahan. His reason for such a historic decision was two-fold: firstly, he could protect his capital better against the threats of Ottomans; and secondly, he could be closer to the Persian Gulf. Since Isfahan was situated on a major trading route, Naqsh-e Jahan Square welcomed many merchants from across the world. This giant square used to be an arena of trade, debate, religious practice, and entertainment in the past.

The Architecture of Naqsh-e Jahan Square – Imam Square

The major architect, Sheikh Bahayee, was in charge of the construction of this amazing square. The construction of the structure took thirty-one years, beginning in 1598. In fact, Naqshe Jahan is a 560-meter long by 160-meter-wide triangular square, surrounded by a two-story row of shops. As a visitor steps into this large open-air arena, it will be hard for them to focus on a single section of the square. Firstly, the fountain in the center of the square surrounded by the gardens will charm the visitors. On the other hand, the four key monuments embracing the visitors will catch their eyes. Shah Mosque, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Grand Bazar, and Ali Qapu among other structures are the most prominent constructions in the square.

Naqsh e Jahan Square – Shah Mosque

Once in the square, you can hardly miss the spectacular colossal mosque in the southern part of the square. Shah Mosque (Royal Mosque), also known as Imam Mosque, is a magnificent showcase of Safavid architecture. The Royal Mosque mainly owes its beauty to the Iranian seven-color mosaic tiles as well as calligraphic inscriptions.

Shah mosque1 - Naqsh-e Jahan Square (Meidan Emam - Imam Square) | Isfahan, Iran

Shah Mosque – Naqsh-e Jahan Square

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque – Imam Square

Standing on the eastern side of the square, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is a masterpiece of Safavid architecture. In particular, the pinnacle of its architecture lies in the interior of the dome-shaped in the form of a Peacock. The midday light boosts this splendor by illuminating the Peacock.

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque 3 - Naqsh-e Jahan Square (Meidan Emam - Imam Square) | Isfahan, Iran

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque – Imam Square

Grand Bazar – Imam Square

As you face north, the Grand Bazar, also known as Qeysarieh Bazar, an amazing traditional Iranian market, will draw your attention. Qeysarieh gate, in addition to other components of the Bazar, resembles a spectacular historical trading center.

Ali Qapu – Naqshe Jahan Square

On the western side of the square sits an imperial palace. The enriched wall paintings coupled with the mirrorwork on the columns contribute to the glory of the palace. Indeed, Safavid officials enjoyed Polo matches and military parades from the columned Iwan of the palace.

aliqapu palace 1 - Naqsh-e Jahan Square (Meidan Emam - Imam Square) | Isfahan, Iran

Ali Qapu Palace – Naqsh-e Jahan Square

More about Naqsh-e Jahan Square

Best Time to Visit Naqsh-e Jahan Square

Naqsh-e Jahan Square is open 24 hours a day, all year! I, though, recommend visiting the square around sunset and at night.

Attractions Near the Square

Not far from Naqsh-e Jahan Square, lie other must-visit attractions of Isfahan. For instance, Sio Se Pol Bridge and Khaju Bridge over Zayande Rud River offer a peaceful atmosphere. Additionally, Chehel Sotun Palace and Hasht Behesht edifice are worth visiting.

Restaurants Near Naqsh-e Jahan Square

Naqshe Jahan Restaurant

Sharzad Restaurant

Grilled Golestan

Shad Beryani

Hermes Café Restaurant

Like to take a tour of Naqsh-e Jahan Square?

Then book a place on one of our multi-day Cultural Tours, our few-hour Walking Tour in Isfahan, our Isfahan Walking Food Tour or our Persian Handicraft Secrets tour.

Meidan Emam – Imam Square Tours

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Imam Square on Map


Keywords: imam square isfahan iran, imam square in isfahan iran, naqsh-e jahan square facts

Zahra Soltani
Content Manager, International Relations Manager

To Zahra, introducing the beauties of Iran is a delight and an inherent mission! Beyond that, arts, culture, literature, mythology, and all the astonishing secrets of our marvelous universe set her soul on fire! This is what makes Zahra a filmophile, an insatiable reader, and a passionate writer.

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Mark Tribianni

Top-quality work here.