Isfahan is a city in central Iran, known for its Persian architecture. In the huge Naqsh-e Jahan Square is the 17th-century Imam (Shah) Mosque, whose dome and minarets are covered with mosaic tiles and calligraphy. Ali Qapu Palace, built for Shah Abbas and completed in the late 16th century, has a music room and a verandah overlooking the square’s fountains. Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is known for its intricate tiling.
Running north from the square are the bazaar’s covered lanes, lined with stalls and traditional caravansaries. West is the 17th-century Hasht Behesht Palace, from the Safavid era. It’s surrounded by the Garden of Nightingales. Bridges over the Zayandeh River include the centuries-old, 2-tiered Khaju Bridge, with many arches. West of the bridge, Vank Cathedral was built for and by the local Armenian community in the time of Shah Abbas II. Next to it is a museum with religious art and artifacts relating to the Armenian people. South of the city are the decorative Pigeon Towers, containing nesting boxes to house wild pigeons.