Isfahan's walled city and accompanying architecture dates back to the 900s, when many mosques and homes were built. After the Seljuk Turks conquered Persia in 1047, they designated Isfahan their capital, adding their geometric architecture style to the city. In 1587, Shah Abbas I claimed Isfahan as his capital and commissioned public squares, parks and libraries befitting of the Persian empire's headquarters. During Abbas' rule, the city's arts flourished and foreign visitors marveled at Isfahan's intricate hand-woven carpets and ornate silver goods. At the end of the Safavid dynasty in the 18th century, Iran's capital was moved to Shiraz, then Tehran.
Weather and Climate
Situated about 200 miles south of Tehran, Isfahan is known for its dry climate. Isfahan receives only a fraction of the rainfall of other Iranian cities, with annual precipitation just over 4 inches. Summer lasts from May through September, with a sweltering average high of 97 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool northerly winds also blow into Isfahan, and nighttime breezes help residents cool down after long summer days. In winter, moderate daytime weather gives way to cold nights with average temperatures in the low 40s.
The Isfahan International Airport offers daily flights to Tehran plus a few Middle Eastern cities outside of Iran. Tehran's international airport has many more international flights, and travelers can take the daily train from the capital to Isfahan. Railway connects Isfahan to Mashhad, Bandar Aas and Shiraz. Train travelers must arrange transport from Isfahan's train station, located on the eastern edge of the city, to the center. After arriving at the station, visitors can take a bus into town or one of the city's plentiful taxis. It's advisable to negotiate with taxi drivers and agree to a fare before hopping in. Average prices for trips across the city range from IR 6,000 to IR 20,0000.