Sources: ISNA I, ISNA II, ISNA III, IRNA I, IRNA II, IRNA III, Tasnim News Agency (TNA) I, TNA II, TNA III, TNA IV, TNA V, TNA VI, TNA VII, TNA VIII, TNA IX, Azad News Agency, Mehr News Agency (MNA) I, MNA II, MNA III, MNA IV, MNA V, asangardi.com, Fars News Agency
Isfahan was once one of the largest cities in the world. It flourished from 1050 to 1722, particularly in the 16th century under the Safavid dynasty. Even today, the city retains much of its past glory. It is famous for its Persian–Islamic architecture, with many beautiful boulevards, covered bridges, palaces, mosques, and minarets. This led to the Persian proverb “Esfahān nesf-e- jahān ast” (Isfahan is half of the world).
The Naghsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan is one of the largest city squares in the world and an outstanding example of Iranian and Islamic architecture. It has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The city also has a wide variety of historic monuments and is known for the paintings, history and architecture.
Photo gallery: Beautiful pictures of Isfahan in autumn
Today Isfahan is the capital of Isfahan Province and with a population of 1,755,382 inhabitants is also Iran’s third largest city after Tehran and Mashhad. The city is located 340 kilometres south of Tehran, in the lush plain of the Zayanderud River, at the foothills of the Zagros mountain range.
The nearest mountain is Mount Soffeh (Kuh-e Soffeh) which is situated just south of Isfahan, at 1,590 metres (5,217 ft) above sea level on the eastern side of the Zagros Mountains. Isfahan has an arid climate but despite its altitude, the city remains hot during the summer. However, with low humidity and moderate temperatures at night, the climate can be very pleasant.
Hamedan Province is one of the most ancient regions of Iran. The city of Hamedan laid on the Silk Road. The Province lies on the Zagros mountain range. Hamedan enjoys temperate warm summers and relatively cold winters.
According to local Jewish traditions, Hamedan is mentioned in the Book of Esther as the capital of Ancient Persia in the days of King Ahasuerus. It was then known as Shushan. The Tombs of Mordecai and Esther are located in modern-day Hamedan.
Arasbaran is a mountainous area in the north of East Azerbaijan Province in northwest of Iran. This region is famous for the unique and intact nature. Since 1976 UNESCO has registered 72.460 hectares of Arasbaran as biosphere reserve. Enjoy the photo gallery!
Tabriz, capital of East Azerbaijan Province, is one of the most populous cities in Iran. Located at 1,350 meters above sea level, it has cold winters and mild summers.
As one of the historical capitals of Iran, the city has a long and turbulent history. Its oldest civilization sites date back to 1,500 B.C. The transition of the different Iranian architecture styles is still visible on its buildings although repeated devastating earthquakes and several invasions have damaged many of its historical monuments. The Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 2010.
Mashhad is the second most populous city in Iran and is the capital of Razavi Khorasan Province. It is located in the north east of the country close to the borders of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Its population is 3,131,586. It was a major oasis along the ancient Silk Road connecting with Merv in the East.
Mashhad is also known as the city of Ferdowsi, the Iranian poet of Shahnameh, which is considered to be the national epic of Iran. The city is also well-known and respected for housing the tomb of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam.