What made Isfahan the city of Picnic ?

What could « Isfahan » remind you of?

“Isfahan, half of the world”?

“beautiful mosques and palaces”?

Naqsh-e Jahan Square was built on the order of Shah Abbas I in the beginning of the17th century. It was originally meant to function as a public space, for people to relax under the shadow of the trees, to bet on the cockfights, to watch puppeteers and jugglers demonstrate their artful skills in the afternoon. It had been an open area for vendors and merchants to set up their tents and stalls, to play polo and ghopagh throwing game, a place to hold festivities and fireworks. You can read more about the life in Safavid Esfahan from the accounts of numerous Western travellers to Iran during that period, in particular Tavernier (1625–1689), Jean Chardin (1643–1713) or Jean de Thévenot (1633–1667).

If you ask any Esfahani which part of the city is the most spectacular in their opinion, they would undoubtedly say it is the Naqsh-e Jahan Square and if we host a friend or a relative from another city, it would be here that we would bring them to lay our sofreh (traditional table cloth) and have a picnic to show our hospitality and to treat our guest, or mehmoun as we say it in Persian, to the ultimate beauty of our city. It is at Naqsh-e Jahan Square that Iranian kings were hosting merchants, vendors, workers, travellers and visitors from abroad.

The unique character of Esfahan and the cycling-friendly topography of the city inspired Howzak Family to arrange “Cycling Around Esfahan at Night” tour. Pack your picnic basket and embark with us to discover the history and the lively atmosphere of Esfahan’s public spaces, Grand Bazaar and city squares at night!

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