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Welcome to International Affairs Division of Isfahan
Safavid Period

SHAH ABBAS AND THE EXTRA ORDINARY ERA OF CONSTRUCTION IN ISFAHAN

Shah Abbas the great is the golden name in Isfahan development and flourishment. He chose Isfahan as his capital in 1598. About 42 years of his unforgettable life was spent for the splendor of Isfahan .

New urban planning on the south west of Seljukid city highly enhanced the beautification of Isfahan . He was grown up in Harat which was the great cultural city of Iran . The beauty of arts and architecture of Herat created Shah Abbas innovation for further development of Iran , specially his new capital city called Isfahan . Even when he was a young prince highly appreciated arts and architecture. He showed a great interest in calligraphy too. 

In 1587 Shah Abbas was crowned as the new king of Iran . Soon he eliminated many of his influential friends and enemies. In 1591 he appointed a dynamic learned vizier (minister) called Hatim Beik Ordubadi. This man carried out a lot of constructive reforms in Iran and Iran was highly dominated by the Shah and his government. So the Shah controlled and ruled over all parts of Iran .

Esfahan During Safavid period222.jpg

Isfahan in Safavid Period

As an illiterate Shah he learned a lot of knowledge, and was interested in knowing more and more about Iran and foreign countries. He was informed about foreign countries and how these countries were developed. He took advantage of opportunities and welcome foreign delegations in order to know more about world development. He was interested in other religions, especially Christians. One of his main hobbies was going to streets and society as an ordinary man in order to acquire view points of citizens regarding development of capital city and Iran .

One of the negative characteristics of Shah Abbas was superstitions. In 1598 selected Isfahan as the capital and removed the capital from Qazvin to Isfahan .

  Isfahan 's geographical location and Zayandeh Rood River were main factors of Shah's decision. The powerful empire of Iran deserved a new magnificent capital.

Under the innovative Shah's decisions, soon Isfahan was converted to one of the greatest cities of the world. Isfahan became a desirable metropolitan city. Many Iranians migrated to the capital, especially tradesmen, artists, architects and able craftsmen. A large number of Armenians were ordered by the Shah to migrate to Isfahan . A beautiful village located on the south western side of Zayandeh Rood was selected as new residential site for Armenians and was named Julfa. Armenians were skilled tradesmen and technical masters. The fame of Isfahan attracted several foreign delegations and travelers.

SUCCESSORS OF SHAH ABBAS

After Shah Abbas the Iranian empire declined, except in a short period during the time of Shah Abbas the second. Decline was witnessed much more in Iran and not in Isfahan .

The fall of Iranian Empire 

 During the reign of the last Safavid king Shah Sultan Hossein, Iran was torn apart.

Life was very difficult for common people. They had to pay unjust taxes Rebellions appeared in different parts of Iran . Mahmood Afghan who controlled Sistan and south Khorasan advanced to areas near capital, finally the approached Isfahan and besieged the capital. 

In 1722 a battle took place in Golnabad. Afghan troops were about 25000 and Iranian troops more than 50000. Afghans invaded Isfahan and massacred a great numbers of Isfahan citizens. At the same time Peter the Great of Russia invaded northern part of Iran . On the other hand Ottomans, the traditional enemies of Safavid invaded the west part of Iran . The empire was disintegrated under inefficient Shah Sultan Hossein.

Mahmud's short period was faced with a lot of problems. Russians in the north and Ottomans in the west were major issues for Mahmud.  Tahmasb the second proclaimed a king. He revolted with the help of people who considered Afghans as Barbars.

Mahmud massacred several princes, relatives of Shah and people of Isfahan . Mahmud became completely mad.  Because of Mahmud's matness his cousin Ashraf took power in Isfahan .

At the same time Tahmasb Quli came to power in Khorasan and was destined as Nader Shah.

In 1729 a great battle occurred between Nader and Ashraf. Ashraf was defeated. Nader chose Mashhad as the capital. Nader and Karim Khan Zand were prominent rulers for a short time.  

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