ISFAHAN (اصفهان), ancient province and old city in central Iran (Middle Pers. “Spahān,” New Pers. “Eṣfahān”). Isfahan city has served as one of the most important urban centers on the Iranian Plateau since ancient times and has gained, over centuries of urbanization, many significant monuments; a number of Isfahan’s monuments have been designated by UNESCO as world heritage sites. Isfahan city, the capital of Isfahan Province, is located about 420 km south of Tehran, and is Persia’s third largest city (after Tehran and Mashad) with a population of over 1.4 million in 2004. This entry will be divided into the following articles:

i. Geography.

(1) Geography of the province.

(2) Geography of the oasis.

ii. Historical geography: An overview since ancient times.

iii. Population.

(1) Qajar period-to 1940.

(2) Isfahan Province, 1956-96.

(3) Isfahan City, 1956-96.

iv. Pre-Islamic period.

v. Local historiography.

vi. Medieval period.

vii. Safavid period.

viii. Qajar period.

ix. The Pahlavi period and the Post-revolution era.

x. Monuments.

(1) A Historical Survey.

(2) Palaces.

(3) Mosques.

(4) Madrasas.

(5) Bridges.

(6) Bibliography.

xi. School of painting and calligraphy.

xii. Bazaar: plan and function.

xiii. Crafts.

xiv. Modern economy and industries.

(1) Modern economy of the province.

(2) Industries of Isfahan city.

xv. Education and cultural affairs.

(1) Education.

(2) Cultural Affairs.

xvi. Folklore and legend.

xvii. Armenian community. See Julfa.

xviii. Jewish community.

xix. Jewish dialect.

xx. Geography of the Median dialects.

xxi. Provincial dialects.

xxii. Gazi dialect.

(Multiple Authors)

Originally Published: December 15, 2006

Last Updated: May 10, 2012

This article is available in print.
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