TEHRAN – To experience Isfahan, a vibrant tourist city in central Iran, it is most magical to walk across Pol-e Khaju at sunset when the 17th-century bridge is lit by glorious colors.
A total of 23 arches, decorative motifs and tiles, adjoining arcades and an octagonal pavilion embedded right in the middle are amongst main features of the picturesque bridge that spans Zayandeh-Rood, one of the largest rivers in the central Iranian Plateau.
Zayandeh-Rood is less roaring nowadays and usually bone dry in the summertime due to decades of the harsh climate change.
In its heyday, the central passageway on the upper level of the bridge was utilized by horse-riders and carts while the vaulted paths on either sides were dedicated to pedestrians.
Measuring 133 meters long and 12 meters wide, Pol-e Khaju is equipped with several sluice gates under its lower archways that doubles it as a dam.
The monument was completed around 1650 under the patronage of Shah Abbas II, the seventh Safavid king who ruled the country from 1642 to 1666.
It used to be a temporary hangout for the king and the royal family of the time and later turned to a place for public meetings where locals, domestic and foreign travelers come to revel in a cozy atmosphere and take the air.
Narratives say that the bridge was replaced the ruins of an older one, which dated to the time of Tamerlane, the Turco-Mongol conqueror who reigned from 1370 to 1405.
Abundant Persian gardens, gorgeous Islamic buildings, historic bazaars and picturesque bridges along with ubiquitous tree-lined boulevards gives the city a significant visual appeal.
Under tourists’ eyes
Here is a select of comments that visitors to the bridge have posted to TripAdvisor, one of the most popular travel websites in the world:
I’m no expert on architecture. All I can say is that this structure is worth visiting in late afternoon and if possible, go back in the evening to see it all lit up. This bridge spans a river that is bone dry in the summer and acts as a dam when the rain starts. It’s known for its unique Persian architecture and is one of the well-known wonders of Isfahan, Well worth a visit. (Robert E. from Virginia, the U.S.; visited August 2017)
‘The most beautiful of Isfahan bridges’
Great piece of architecture and a contact with local community – art and architecture students come to draw it, families to take a stroll, teenagers to hang out. A must when in Isfahan! If you plan to see all 4 of the bridges (or the 3 that are most centrally located) – I would suggest to end your walk with Khaju, as it’s truly the prettiest of them. (Maria D. from Poland; visited May 2017)
‘Beautiful moments beautiful bridge’
I visited the bridge during the day and the atmosphere was special. That’s why I decided to come back for sunrise to take pictures and experience the morning activities!
This was a very good decision as there was regular come and go from people going to work, people who had spent the night there sleeping , couples enjoying the sunrise, gentlemen singing and joining in groups for conversation, etc.
This was magic and I’m glad I did go! Wonderful experience. (Aumuc from Germany; visited May 2017)
‘A must to experience the ambience of Isfahan’
Great place to spend the evenings. Always busy with locals and very scenic. Sit in the arches and listen to the singing locals mainly men exercising their vocal cords.
Stunning place and in my opinion a good place to experience Isfahan. Very relaxing and enjoyable. We went there every evening during our visit and miss it greatly. (Mo. D. from the UK; visited May 2017)
PHOTO: People revel in the peaceful atmosphere of Pol-e Khaju in Isfahan. The 17th-century bridge is lit by glorious colors at dusk.
Source: Tehran Times