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Image of the world

Image of the world

Isfahan

Called Naqsh-e Jahan or ‘Image of the World’, this magnificent square was laid out by Shah Abbas I at the beginning of the 17th century and was intended to be the center of his new capital. Arranged on a north-south axis, the square was anchored to the south by the Blue Mosque (Royal Mosque), to the north by the grand Bazaar, to the west by the Ali Qapu palace and to the east by Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque. Linking these four key buildings was a double-storied arcade of shops and coffeehouses. A tree-lined water canal ran around the square and polo games and pageants were performed in the center which were watched by the Shah from the verandah of the palace. Today the center of the square has fountains and ornamental pools and young people rollerblade, stroll or take horse-drawn carriage rides.

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