Bridges of Isfahan : Among the Most Remarkable Standing Bridges in the World
Bridges were essential for the maintenance of communications. The buildings of bridges which were both sturdy and a pleasure to the eye from ancient times are to be found in many parts of Iran - the outstanding examples which are impressive architectural achievements can be seen in Isfahan .
There are two mighty structures among the most impressive monuments in Isfahan, and among the most remarkable standing bridges in the world.
Allahverdi Khan Bridge or Sio Seh Pol Bridge (1629 AD)
The most important avenue of Isfahan called Chahar Bagh (Four Gardens) runs north to south through the center of the town. The bridge used by this large highway is the famous Sio Seh Pol (Bridge of Thirty-Three Arches).
Called Allahverdi Khan Bridge, after the architect who built it in the 1600 and who was also Abbas, the Great ‘s Army Commander-in-Chief, it is an extraordinary structure: 300 meters in length and 14 meters in width, serving both as bridge and dam. It connects the Chahar Bagh with the new Armenian settlement of Jolfa. Traditionally, a number of Christian and Islamic ceremonies used to be held on both sides of this bridge.
Khaju Bridge (1660 AD )
The bridges of Isfahan are of course Safavid, like the Maidan. Each bridge coincides with a straight avenue running through the city from north to south. The best-known is Pol-e Khaju (Khaju Bridge), some 1.5 km downstream (east) of Sio Se Pol, which is slightly smaller but even more attractive, with two levels of terraces overlooking the river. From bank to bank, and built by Shah Abbas II in 1650 AD, this magnificent bridge has been used as a dam as well. But its most fascinating features are the pavilions set into the 12-meter width called “Princes’ Parlors” and once decorated with faience (glazed earthenware, artistically decorated) and inscriptions.
The famous tea-house under the bridge used to be one of the most congenial places in Iran to sit and drink tea or smoke the ghalian (hubble-bubble).