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Geography and History

Covering an area of 105,937 square kilometers, isfahan province is located in the central part of Iran. according to the latest divisions of the country, Isfahan province includes 17 townships which are: Isfahan, Ardestan, Barkhar and Maymeh, Khomaini-Shahr, khansar, Semirom, Shahreza (Ghomsheh), Faridan, Freydoon-Shahr, Falavarjan, Kashan, Golpayehgan, Lanjan, Mobarakeh, Na’een, Nadjafabad and Natanz. Isfahan, being the capital city of the province, is the most populated city of the province.The population of the province in 1996 was 3,223,255 of which 74.3% were urban dwellers and 25.7% were living in rural areas. Locating in the central part of Iran plateau, Isfahan province, due to its vastness, consists of several mountainous and plain areas. These are: Ardestan mountainous area; north-east and east mountainous area which Natanz city is located on its slope; western mountainous area encompassing Faridan and Freydoon-Shahr townships; and plain area which has come into existence from alluviums of Zayandeh Rood river and includes south-east of Isfahan.
Regarding the above natural and topographical situation, the climate of the province is changeable as well. although the province generally enjoys a dry and temperate climate, but it can be classified as three climatic regions depending on the distance with western mountainous area and desert (Kavir) plain in the east and south-east. These climatic regions are: arid, including Na’een, Biabanak and Anarak to the north of Ardestan; semi-arid consisting Isfahan township; and semi-humid and cold encompassing west and south-west of the province.
According to the reports of Meteorological Organization, maximum temperature of Isfahan is 40.6C. deyree minimum temperature is 10.6(C and average annual temperature is 16.7C.deyree. The annual freezing days of the province are 76 days ad average annual precipitation is 116.9mm.
As the result of geographical conditions of Isfahan province, eco-tourism attractions of it is less than that of other provinces like Gilan, Mazandaran and Azarbaijan. But some certain parts of Isfahan enjoy valuable eco-tourism potentials both from local and national points of view. having more than 12 forest parks and protected areas, several springs and waterfalls, luxuriant and fresh orchards, pleasant summer resorts and vcreates suitable conditions for leisure time of native people as well as tourists. The largest river in the central plateau of Iran called Zayandeh Rood, passing through this province, creates many impressive sights. there are recreational facilities both on Zayandeh Rood where flowing through Isfahan and near the large dam constructed across the river, 117 km. south of the city.
The most important tourist attractions of Isfahan province are various and significant historical and architectural monuments specially in Isfahan city which mostly belong to Saljoughi and Safavid periods. Most of these historical monuments have international value reflecting their antiquity and hsitorical ups and downs in this territory. Among these monuments, it can be pointed out to some of them like Ali-Qapoo edifice, Chehel-Sotoon palace, Siosehpol (33 arches) bridge, Khajoo bridge, Shahrestan bridge, Menar Jonban (shaking minaret), Isfahan and Kashan Bazaars, Imam (Naghsh-e-Jahan) square, Boroujerdis’ house and tens of other historical and architectural valuable sites scattered all around the province each of them are unique and eye-catching as far as art and beauty are concerned.
The other tourism potentials of the province are religious sites and buildings with their own antiquity scattered throughout the province annually attracting so many pilgrims and tourists who have spiritual ties with them. Moreover, some of these sites, as invaluable and important memorials of the past, reflect great national, cultural and religious heritage of residents of this region in different historical periods. Among them Jame’ mosque, Imam mosque, Sheik Lotfollah mosque, Chahar-Bagh school, and tens of Imamzadeh, shrines and tombs of luminaries can be pointed out.
Isfahan province, since a very long time ago, had been the residence of different peoples including Aryans, Semitic, Turks, Armenians and Georgians who were under the influence of Iranian culture. Cultural interactions of these people resulted in widespread rituals and traditions throughout the province including various ceremonies, mourning, celebrations, music, local dances andvIn, spite of this, existing tribes and nomads in the region including Ghashghai, Bakhtiari, Boyirahmedi, and Semirom, have retained major parts of their own native culture and are hung up on them. Thus, this phenomenon is one of the important attractions for visitors who are not acquainted with tribal life style and other social characteristics of them.


Isfahan township is located 424 km. south to Tehran. Being capital city of the province, Isfahan is situated between two mountain ranges. In the west, mountainous area run to Chahar Mahal Province and in the east there are Ghahrood and Karkas mountains. The plain area is formed by alluviums of mountainous streams and Zayandeh-Rood river. Enjoying a mild climate, Isfahan has relatively regular seasons. Flowing through Isfahan city, Zayandeh Rood river is the most important river of the province.In the Arsacides (Parthians) era, Isfahan was the center and capital city of a wide province which was administered by Arsacide governors. In Sassanides time, Isfahan was residence of and governed by "Espoohrans" or the members of seven noble Iranian families who had major and important royal positions. Moreover, in this period Isfahan was a military center with strong fortifications. This city was occupied by Arabs after final defeat of Iranians. After Islam, Isfahan was under domination of Arabs, like other cities of Iran, till the early 4th century AH., and it was paid attention only by Caliph Mansour. In the reign of Malekshah Saljooghi, Isfahan was again selected as capital and began another golden age. In this period, Isfahan was one of the most thriving and important cities of the world. This city was conquered by Mongols in 639 AH. and they massacred the people. After the invasions of Mongols and Taymour, as the result of its suitable geographic situation, Isfahan flourished again especially in Safavid time which developed considerably. After selection of Isfahan as capital by Shah Abbas in the year 1000 AH. it reached to its pinnacle of briskness. decline of Safavid dynasty by Mahmood Afghan and conquest of Isfahan a 6 month siege, caused a degeneration period for this city. In Afsharieh and Zandieh times it flourished again but during Ghajars reign, due to choosing Tehran as capital, Isfahan began to decline once more.
Isfahan, regarding its historical and geographic conditions, was paid attention during Pahlavi time and some endeavors were made for repair and restoration of historical monuments. Moreover, Isfahan township and the province redeveloped and industrialized rapidly. During last two decades, Isfahan developed with a very high rate of acceleration from urban development point of view, highly observing restoration of historical monuments. Today, Isfahan is one of the important tourism centers of Iran and the world. The most important eye-pleasing places of Isfahan are as follows:
Semirom, Shaloora and Kord Olya waterfalls, Vertoon, Khoor Biabanak, Abshar Shah,
Deymeh, Molad Ladezh and hot mineral water springs,
Ghameshloo and Kolah Ghazi Protected Areas,
Several caves,
Ali-Ghapoo, Chehel-Sotoon, Hasht-Behesht palaces and edifices,
Maymeh, Moorcheh-Khort, Maal, and historical villages,
Marfa-An, Deeve, and Torshak castles,
Allahverdikhan, Khajoo, Shahrestan, Farnan, and Saadat-abad histirical bridges,
Sheik Alikhan, Mahyar, Sarayeh Sefid, Mirza Koochek-Khan, khansariha and caravansaries,
Jonban (shaking), Chehel Dokhtar, Sareban, Zyar, Rahrowan, Atashkhaneh, Atashkhaneh,
Darolzyah, Ghaar, shaaya, and Goldasteh minarets,
Several historical inscriptions,
Old schools of Chaharbagh, Babaghasem, Molah Abdollah, Mirza Hasan, Kaseh Garan,
Nimavard, Jalalyeh, Shams Abad, and Heydar,
Isfahan Bazaars and their appendages,
Akhavan, Kharrazi, Pirnya, Jamal, Ghodsieh, Sheikhol-Islam, and houses
Several pigeon houses,
Imam (Naghsh-e-Jahan) square,
Baaz dome,
Several eye-catching mosques with amazing architecture and tile-works,
Kooh Sangi fire-temple,
Several mausoleums of Iranian Gnostics and poets,
Several Imamzadehs,
Historical churches in Jolfa.



Ardestan township is located 416 km. south to Tehran on the eastern outskirts of central mountains adjacent to Kavir (desert). There are isolated mountains, extensions of karkas mountains, in the south of the city. The climate is warm in the north of the city and cold in mountainous area of the south.According to different narratives, Ardestan is an old city founded by Dastan Saam, father of Rostam. A fire-temple was built there by Ardeshir I the founder of Sassanide dynasty. Also, it is the birthplace of Anooshirvan. In early 4th century AH., it was a fortified city with 5 gates covering an area of 1 square mile. The historical and eye-catching sites of this city are:
Several underground water reservoirs,
Jogand caravansary on Ardestan-Na’een road,
Water mill aggregate in Ramian and Zavareh,
Sarhang Abad palace aggregate in east of Zavareh,
Several old mosques.



Enjoying a pleasant weather, this eye-catching city is located in the west of Isfahan. According to existing historical evidences, the antiquity of the city is more than 1000 years. Since Safavid time, Khansar was one of the large scientific centers and so many great Shi’it scholars educated there. The most important worth seeing places of this city are as follows:
Hot mineral water springs in Golestan Kooh,
Cheshmeh (Spring) Omid, east of Khansar,
Jame’mosque and Mariam Beygom school in Khansar city.

Khomaini Shahr

Khomaini Shahr city is one of the historical cities of the province which its antiquity dates back to Sassanides era. It is said that, Kohandezh (old castle), which is located on the way to Isfahan, has been the capital of Sassanides. Atashgah (fire-temple) mountain, Menar Jonban (shaking minaret), and Jame’ mosque of Khazan are among other historical monuments of the region. The old name of Khomaini shah was "Sedeh", which was changed to Homayoun Shahr in Pahlavi period and after Islamic Revolution in 1979, it was named khomaini shahr.


Semirom township is 590 km. far from Tehran located in a mountainous area and Denyar mountain is situated on the southern part of it. The climate of this region is mountainous and temperate. This city is one of the countryside of Isfahan province having a famous waterfall and several springs. The promenades of this township are as follows;
Ab-Malakh and Samarium waterfalls located 4 km. east of Samarium,
Faghareh and Shahidan lovely valleys located 15 km. to Semirom.

Shahreza (Qomsheh)

Shahreza township is located 508 km. south to Tehran and Zard Kooh mountain chain runs from north-west to south-east of the city, enjoying a cold climate.It is an old city which was first named Qomsheh, but later on its name was changed to Shahreza due to existing of His Holiness Shahreza’s Shrine over there. The most important tourist attraction sights of the city are:
Ghandab attractive caves located in south-east to Shahreza,
Poodeh mosque and Shareza Imamzadeh,

Feraydoon Shahr

According to existing historic and geographical evidences, this city was a part of "Partikan" region which included Faridan and Feraydoon Shahr. The remaining of several ancient tombstones in Ghahestan farm indicates the long history of the region which is many thousands of years. This region is the center for summer quarters of Chahar Lang Bakhtiari tribes.



Falavarjan township is one of the old and historical regions of the province. It was called Balavarjan due to construction of a bridge across Zayandeh Rood in Safavid time. Then it was named Falavarjan as it is named today. Among the most important historical and eye-catching sites of this city it can be pointed out to Paykaran mausoleum and historical mosque of Oshtorjan village.



Locating in a plain region 424 km. far from Tehran, Faridan enjoys mild and mountainous climate. The most important worth seeing things in this township are life style and traditions of Bakhtiari tribes who use here as their summer quarters.


Kashan is located 258 km. south to Tehran. A part of this township is located in a vast plain and the other part in a mountainous area. The central heights of the country cross this township. The climate of the township, like other central parts of Iran, is changeable depending on topography of the region. the mountainous areas are cold and the plain areas, especially desert margin, are warm.Kashan is one of the oldest cities of Iran. According to archeological excavations in Sialk hills (located 4 km. west to the city) and vestiges found over there, indicate that this area was a home of pre-historic Man. It was a thriving city in Sassanides time. In Islamic period it was a famous city as well. The local architecture of the city is unique and very interesting. The most important historical and religious monuments of the city are as follows:
Several hot mineral water springs,
Fin and Abbas-Abad historic gardens,
Abyaneh historical and amazing village. Registered as a historical village by UNESCO,
Several old public bathes,
Old and wonderful houses,
Several underground water reservoirs,
Old caravansaries,
National Museum and Bagh Fin museum,
several shrines and sacred mausoleums,



Natans township is located 338 km. south to Tehran in the eastern valley of Karkas mountain. The western and southern parts of it are mountainous enjoying cold climate. Northern and eastern parts are sandy with mild weather. According to writings of Moslem geographers, Natans is one of the old regions of Isfahan province and "Vashagh" castle over there was named after its ruler (4th century AD.) The famous histirian, Hamdollah Mostofi, talks about the craftsmen of this city and their fame for making delicate handicraft articles made up of ivory and ebony. Their products were exported to other cities. The historical sights and worth seeing places of the city are:
Abbas spring and garden in the north of Natanz,
Maydan Hosseinieh water reservoir,
Garden and edifice of Taj-Abad,
Afooshteh public bath,
Chair Abad and Dombi caravansaries,
Koocheh Mir Nazir mosque,
Several Imamzadeh.

Wildlife and Protected Regions

Being located in the central plateau of Iran, Isfahan province due to different climate, special topography and neighboring with Zayandeh Rood river, enjoys a rich biological diversity providing suitable opportunities for game and fish activities. Fishing is common along Zayandeh Rood river from Marian bridge in Isfahan towards Sarcheshmeh from late June till mid March. Hunting of, boar, wild sheep wild goat, gazelle, different birds are possible according to the regulations of the Department of the Environment.
The protected areas of the province are:
Ghameshloo Protected Area located west to Isfahan covering an area of 37,000 hectares. It is a mountainous region with dry and cold climate. This area was hunting-ground of royal family in Ghajar time and there are some vestiges belonging to this period. This area is composed of two parts; a wildlife refuge and a grazing forbidden area. The existing wildlife are wild sheep, wild goat and gazelle. The birds are partridge, dull-yellow partridge, bustard, vulture and ...
Mooteh Protected Area covering an area of 220,000 hectares situated in the midst of Kashan, Lenjan, Mahallat, Golpayegan, Khansar, and Maymeh. It is mainly habitat of gazelle.
Kolah Ghazi-Wildlife Refuge is located in the south of Isfahan 26 km. far from it. from east side it is under the influence of desert and from west side it is influenced by Zagross mountain range. The mammals of this region are: wild sheep, wild goat, gazelle, leopard, rabbit, wolf, hyena, jackal, sand cat, fox, and etc. The existing birds are partridge, dull-yellow partridge, owl, eagle, falcon, and .. There are also different species of reptiles.

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