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Monday, 20 February 2012 11:48

Iran your attractive destination (17)

In the beginning of this article, we take a glance at one of the well-known streets of Isfahan: “Chahar Bagh”.

This street was built in the Safavid era and at the time was one of the most beautiful streets of the world. As it is clear from the name of this street, it was surrounded by orchards. This wide and long street, with its tall trees extended from the current municipality building to Safeh foothill. The Alahverdikhan Bridge divided this street into two sections. The construction of this street dates back to the year 1598. When the famous Italian tourist, Pietro Dellavalle, visited Isfahan in the year 1616, he spoke highly of Chahar Bagh Street due to its grandeur and magnificence in comparison to Italy’s well-known streets, while pointing out that none of the streets in famous cities of Italy are comparable with this street in the city of Isfahan.

The French tourist, Chardin, who lived for a while in Isfahan during the Safavid era, in his travel book, refers to this street and says Chahar Bagh Street is one of the most beautiful ones he has ever seen or heard of.

With the passage of time, residential and commercial buildings were constructed, replacing the orchards surrounding this street. In the northern corner of the Chahar Bagh Street, a similar street was built, with the length of both these streets extending to six kilometers. This street included two lanes for vehicles; two lanes for bicycles, and three lanes for pedestrians, which were separated from each other with four rows of sycamore and elm trees. For the tourists that today visit the city of Isfahan, Chahar Bagh Street with its tall trees; beautiful supermarkets and shops; and historical monuments is one of the most beautiful streets across the world. Next to this street, a glorious building has attracted everyone’s attention with its blue dome and tiled minarets. This building is popularly known as Chahar Bagh School.

The majority of those, who visit Isfahan, are well familiar with the famous Chahar Bagh School. This large school was built during the reign of the last Safavid king, Shah Sultan Hussein. Its construction took ten years and was completed in the year 1714. This school is in fact part of a complex, which includes a market and guest houses. Since this Safavid king’s mother spent the revenues of the market and guest houses to pay for the costs of this religious school, this building is also known as “Madar Shah” School, which means the School of Safavid King’s Mother. It can be said that this school has exclusively attracted the attention of foreign visitors and tourists, and some of these tourists have referred to this school as an enchanting and attractive building.

This school covers an area of 8500 sq km. its façade includes a tall, glorious and beautiful gateway. The gateway is decorated with minute and delicate tiles, covered with paintings and patterns. Over the gateway of this building, the date of its foundation has been inscribed. The interior of the school includes an entry gate, courtyard, minarets’ blue dome and chambers. This school consists of four balconies, a large courtyard, a dome, and two unique minarets. The balconies are situated at the four corners of the school and each comprise of two-storey chambers for residence and education of the religious scholars, making up an overall 150 chambers. A creek passes through the school yard between the ancient sycamore and cedar trees. the dome and minarets of this school that glitter like a gem are covered with tile works and plasterworks, which were commonly used in the Safavid era’s architecture, attracting the attention of every visitor. According to experts, different types of tile work which have been used in this school have turned it into a unique building. Hence, the Chahar Bagh School has earned the title of Museum of Different Tile Works.

One of the other features of this school is its ancient and wooden door, which has been decorated with gold and silver. The art and delicacy used in construction of this gate has turned it into one of the valuable artistic, cultural, and historical works of the city of Isfahan. This gate is a true and vivid example of chiseled works, which have reached perfection during the Safavid era. The calligraphy on this gate has been written by the prominent calligrapher of Safavid era, Mohammad Saleh Isfahani. The podium of the school which is made of marble is one of the best examples of stone-cutting art of the Safavid era, and next to podium is the school’s highly beautiful altar. In fact, the Chahar Bagh School is a complete complex consisting of all experiences and details of architecture and arts of 10th and 11th Century AH in Iran.

Chahar Bagh School has been built almost four centuries ago for the education of religious scholars. After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, it was named as Imam Sadeq (PBUH) Seminary and is currently one of the biggest seminaries of the city of Isfahan. Next to this Seminary; there are the highly valuable Imam Jafar Sadeq Library, and the city’s old market, which are unique in architecture and add to the grandeur of Imam Sadeq Seminary.

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