Isfahan is one of Iran's great treasures, breathtakingly elegant, located at the foot of the Zagros mountains.
Its star attraction is Imam Square.Isfahan has a rich history. It was one of the palace cities in the Sasanian Empire, and important early center of Persian-Islamic culture, and then most evident today was developed as the imperial capital of the Safavids from the reign of Abbas the Great around 1600 until the end of the dynasty over a century later.
It's one of the world's largest, dominated by the Imam Mosque complex, which twists toward Mecca, though it's the smaller Sheik Lotfollah mosque with its stunning dome that stuns visitors.
The covered bazaar, just off the square, is great for miniatures and decorative tiles and chaikhanas, or teahouses, offering fresh brews and flavored shisha pipes.
After dark belongs to the courtyard café and tearoom at the Abbasi, a five-star hotel and former caravanserai. It's a magnet for city's professionals, who are eager to practice their English on the all-too-rare tourists in their midst.
Final mention must go to the Zayandeh River and its exquisitely pretty, arched Khaju Bridge (pictured in gallery).