Table of Contents

  • Isfahan x. MONUMENTS (1) A Historical Survey

    Sussan Babaie with Robert Haug

     Isfahan’s monuments developed, in the Islamic era: first, in the early medieval period under the ʿAbbāsid Caliphate and Buyid patronage. Many of the extant monuments of Isfahan, however, date to two periods in history when the city served as the capital of the ruling dynasties of the Great Saljuqs (1040-1194) and the Safavids (1501-1722).

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  • Isfahan x. Monuments (2) Palaces

    Sussan Babaie with Robert Haug

    European visitors to Safavid Persia, for example, found themselves increasingly bound by Isfahan, where they were able to gain a royal audience or conduct their business with the court and government bureaucracy without having to follow the itinerant monarchs.

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  • Isfahan x. Monuments (3) Mosques

    Sussan Babaie with Robert Haug

    Isfahan is known historically for its large number of mosques. According to Abu Noʿaym of Isfahan, the first large mosque in Isfahan was built during the Caliphate of Imam ʿAli b. Abi Ṭāleb (r. 656-61). The French traveler Jean Chardin counted 162 mosques during his travels to Isfahan in the middle of the 17th century.

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  • Isfahan x. Monuments (4) Madrasas

    Sussan Babaie with Robert Haug

    The earliest extant madrasa in Isfahan is the 1325 Emāmi Madrasa, which is also known as the Madrasa-ye Bābā Qāsem after the name of its first teacher, who is buried in a nearby tomb. As in Persian mosque type, this and most other madrasas in Persia follow the four-ayvān courtyard-centered plan.

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  • Isfahan x. Monuments (5) Bridges

    Sussan Babaie with Robert Haug

    On the southern edge of the city of Isfahan lies the Zāyandarud River, the unnavigable river that has been the major source of water in the region since the earliest settlements in its environs. Until the transfer of the Safavid capital to Isfahan in the late 16th century, the river was well outside the city walls.

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  • Isfahan x. Monuments (6) Bibliography

    Sussan Babaie with Robert Haug

  • Isfahan xi. SCHOOL OF PAINTING AND CALLIGRAPHY

    Massumeh Farhad

    The “Isfahan” school of painting and calligraphy generally refers to works of art associated with the city from about 1597-98, when it was chosen as the Safavid capital, until the Afghan invasion of 1722. In the second half of the 17th century, many Isfahani artists  began experimenting with Europeanized pictorial concepts, such as modeling and shading—the second phase of the “Isfahan” school of painting.

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  • Isfahan xii. BAZAAR: PLAN AND FUNCTION

    Willem Floor

    The bazaar of Isfahan is one of the best-preserved examples of the kind of large, enclosed, and covered bazaar complex that was typical of most cities in the Muslim world prior to the 20th century. The oldest areas of the present-day bazaar date from the early 17th century; its first stone was laid in 1603.

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  • Isfahan xiii. CRAFTS

    Habib Borjian and EIr

    Isfahan has maintained its position as a major center for traditional crafts in Persia. The crafts of Isfahan encompass textiles, carpets, metalwork, woodwork, ceramics, painting, and inlay works of various kind. The work is carried out in different settings including small industrial and bazaar workshops, in the homes of craftsmen and women, and in rural cottage industries.

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  • Isfahan xiv. MODERN ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES

    Habib Borjian

    This sub-section is divided into the following parts: (1) Modern Economy of the Province; (2) Industries of Isfahan City.

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  • Isfahan xiv. MODERN ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES (1) The Province

    Habib Borjian

    The distribution of economic activities within Isfahan, with an urbanism of 76 percent, is highly uneven. The oasis of Isfahan, watered by the Zāyandarud, is responsible for nearly half of rural activities, while the other half is spread out across the province.

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  • Isfahan xiv. MODERN ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES (2) Isfahan City

    Habib Borjian

    The stagnation experienced after the fall of the Safavids was even more marked in the 19th century, owing to European competition that had rendered many local industries practically extinct.

  • Isfahan xv. EDUCATION AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS

    Maryam Borjian and Habib Borjian

    The Lazarists established themselves in Isfahan in the early 1860s. With the support of the prince-governor Masʿud Mirzā Ẓell-al-Solṭān, they founded in 1875 schools for both boys and girls and an infirmary. These appear to be the predecessors of the boys school L’Etoile du Matin and the girls school Rudāba.

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  • Isfahan xvi. FOLKLORE AND LEGEND

    Mahmoud Omidsalar

    Systematic collection of the folklore of Isfahan is mostly due to Amirqoli Amini, whose first publication was a collection of Persian dicta entitled hazār o yak soḵan.

  • Isfahan xvii. ARMENIAN COMMUNITY

    Cross-Reference

    See JULFA.

  • Isfahan xviii. JEWISH COMMUNITY

    Amnon Netzer

    According to Armenian sources, (Moses Khorenatsʿi, tr. Thomson, p. 293) the Sasanian Šāpūr II transferred many Jews from Armenia and settled them in Isfahan. According to the Middle Persian text Šahris-tānihā ī Ērān, the Sasanian king, Yazdegerd I, settled Jews in Jay (Gay) at the request of his Jewish wife Šōšan-doḵt.

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  • Isfahan xix. JEWISH DIALECT

    Donald Stilo

    The Jewish dialects of Isfahan, Kāshān, Hamadān, Borujerd, Yazd, Kermān and others belong to the Central dialect group of Northwestern Iranian. All of Northwestern Iranian languages, in turn, are descended from Median, whereas Persian (including Middle Persian or Pahlavi) belongs to the Southwestern Iranian (SWI) group and are descended from Old Persian.

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  • Isfahan xx. GEOGRAPHY OF THE MEDIAN DIALECTS OF ISFAHAN

    Habib Borjian

    The continuum of Central Plateau Dialects appears along a northwest-souteast axis traversing the modern provinces of Hamadān, Markazi, Isfahan, and Yazd, that is, the area of Ancient Media Major.

  • Isfahan xxi. PROVINCIAL DIALECTS

    Donald Stilo

    The Iranian languages of Isfahan Province are of three basic types: Northwest Iranian dialects belonging to the Central Plateau Dialect group, and two different types of Southwest Iranian  languages: slightly divergent dialects of Persian, but intelligible to the standard language, and  large pockets of Lori.

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  • Isfahan xxii. GAZI DIALECT

    Donald Stilo

    Gazi, spoken in the city of Gaz in the district of Borḵᵛār (dialect: bolxār), belongs to the Central Plateau Dialect group of Northwestern Iranian (NWI) languages. Gazi, the Jewish dialect of Isfahan, Sedehi, and probably other uninvestigated dialects of the Gaz-Isfahan area, for instance, Segzi, Jarquyaʾi, and others are grouped together as one subgroup of CPD.

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