2. Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Esfahan (1979)
The Royal Square of Esfahan is a monument of Persian socio- cultural life during the Safavid period (until 1722). It is an urban phenomenon. which is an exception in Iran where the cities are ordinarily tightly parceled without spatial fluidity, the exception being the interior courts of the caravanserais. It is an example of the form of naturally vulnerable urban architecture. The Shah of the Iranian dynasty of the Safavids, Abbas, who reigned from 1587 to 1628, chose as his capital Esfahan, which he magnificently embellished and remodeled.
The center of the city was accented by a vast Royal Square (Meidan-e Shah), which was so beautiful and so large that it was called "The Image of the World'. It is bordered on each side by four monumental buildings linked by a series of two-story arcades to the north, the Qeyssariyeh (1602-19), to the south,the Royal Mosque (1612-30), to the east, the Mosque of Sheykh LofRollah (1602-18) and to the west, the pavilion of Ali Qapu, a small Timurid palace (15th century), enlarged and decorated by the shah and his successors. Of particular interest is the Royal Mosque, which is grafted on to the south side of the square by means of deep and immense sectioned porch. It is crowned by a half dome, whose interior Walls are dressed with enameled faience mosaics, bound by two minarets, and prolonged to the south by an iwan (three-sided, Vaulted hall Open at one end), leading to an interior courtyard that describes a right angle.
pavilion of Ali'Qapu
The pavilion of Ali'Qapu forms the monumental entrance to the palace Zone and to the royal gardens, which extend behind it. Its apartments, which are completely decorated with paintings and have wide exterior openings, are renowned. On the square is a high portal (48 m), flanked by several stories of rooms and crowned by a covered terrace (talar), whose refined roofing is carried by thin wooden columns. All of these architectural elements of the Meidan-e Shah, including the arcades, are adorned with a profusion of enameled ceramic tiles with paintings, where the floral ornamental is dominant, flowering trees, without a prejudice for the figured compositions in the style of Riza Abbasi, renowned both inside and outside of Persia, who was head of the school of painting at Esfahan during the reign of Shah Abbas. The Royal Mosque remains the most celebrated example of the colorful architecture which, in Iran, reached its height under the Safavid dynasty.
The Meidan-e Shah was the heart of the Safavid capital. Its vast sandy esplanade was used for promenades, assembling troops, playing polo, celebrations and for public executions. On all sides, the arcades house shops. Above the portal of the large bazaar of Qeyssariyeh is a tribune that accommodates musicians giving public concerts. The tallar of Ali-Qapu communicates, from behind, with the throne room where the king occasionally received ambassadors.