If you are visiting Isfahan, you are visiting half of the world. It is well-known in Iran as a Nesfe Jahan (Half of the World). This wonderful, beautiful city was the capital of Iran during two great dynasties, the Seljuq and the Safavid. This city always has something to show off. This time Si-o-Se Pol and its rich history is a masterpiece letting you fly with the wing of the dream through history.
King Shah Abbas 1, the 5th Safavid king, moved the capital of his realm from Qazvin to Isfahan, partly because of the Zayandehrud River. Moreover, the city was a crossroads of international trade and diplomacy. It had parks, libraries, and mosques that amazed Europeans.
The Safavid was famous for many historical sites of the city constructed during this era. Si-o-Se Pol is the largest and most magnificent of five bridges created in the Safavid era. Shah Abbas’s dream for some years was to build a bridge connecting Chahar Bagh-e Abbasi to Chahar Bagh-e Bala. Besides connecting parts of the city where Muslims lived to the Armenian quarters of Isfahan.
Many Armenians who lived in old Jolfa, a rich and thriving city located southwest of Gouktan, migrated to Iran under Shah Abbas’ command. They settled in the south of Isfahan, known as Jolfa now. Because of restricted beliefs against Armenians, their connection and trading were limited to and only through Si-o-Se Pol.
Eventually, he ordered his commander-in-chief, Allahverdi Khan, to supervise the construction of a bridge. Allahverdi Khan, a royal and faithful man to the court, was born in Georgia, sold as a slave, and sent to Iran. He held a miserable life until fate made him a man whom the king relied on his suggestions more than any other advisers around him.
Allahverdi Khan chose Hossein Banna, the most famous architect of the time, to build a bridge. At that time, most of the bridges were built on the narrowest part of the river, covered with stone beds. Yet, Hossein Banna chose the widest part of the river with lower depth and slower water flow to build the Si-o-Se Pol.
Si-o-Se Pol bridge had forty arches, and the weight became endurable. Stone, brick, mortar of Saroj, and plaster are the material bridge was constructed. The combination of these materials made the bridge more invulnerable.
Over time by growing trees and changing the direction of the river, seven arches were closed, and only 33 remained. The bridge was around 300 meters long and 14 meters wide. It was a vault arch bridge consisting of two parallel rows of 33 arches. That is why people called it Si-o-Se Pol.
In Si-o-Se Pol, (Si-o-Se 33) refers to the number of arches, and Pol means bridge. Two parallel grooves along the bridge separate the path for pedestrians from the one intended for the carriage and the cattle.
It was a place for trades, evening walks, public meetings, and events. The most important ones are:
- Annual Abrizan and Abpashan ceremony, on the 13th of Tir, during which people were purring water and rose water as a symbol of purity and cleanness.
- The religious ceremony was named Khaje Shouyan by Arameneh of Isfahan in memory of the baptism of the holy Christ.
- And Nowrouz, the ancient Persian glorious ceremony of New Year, celebrated seven days by the command of Shah Abbas.
Despite being dry and silent now a day, history always keeps in mind the firmness and roaring of this great river, Zayandeh rud. The beautiful feeling of life, trade, celebration, and happiness flies the human soul through the beautiful sky.
Best Time to Visit Si-o-Se Pol:
The Si-o-Se Pol bridge is the center of city nightlife. It attracts both Iranian and foreign tourists. The fascinating time to visit this historical heritage is in the evening when the sun sets and gets dark. The light of hundreds of lamps on the bridge makes it dreamy. You can have a romantic walk on this bridge, listen to the sound of street musicians, have an experience of Iran culture and people, accompany them by drinking a cup of tea, and meanwhile listen to the story of this bridge in their words besides taking memorable pictures.
Location of Si-o-Se Pol:
Si-o-Se Pol is located downtown near city attractions. By walking to the north along Chahar Bagh-e Abbasi Street, you reach Naghsh-e Jahan square, Hasht Behesht Palace, and Chehel Sotoon Palace. Furthermore, Vanak Cathedral is on the southeast part of the Si-o-Se Pol bridge. You also can see other bridges on Zayandehrud from this place. Khajoo bridge and Choobi bridge are two of them. Si-o-Se Pol subway station is near the northern part of the bridge, and also there are some bus stations with dedicated city buses that are suitable for transportation. You can enjoy many shopping centers, Coffee Shops, and hotels near this bridge.
Hotels Near Si-o-Se Pol:
Near this beautiful architectural structure, you can see several hotels. Parsian Kowsar, a 5 Star hotel with the best services, rooms, and private suites, is the nearest hotel to the bridge. Another choice for a luxury stay is the Abbasi 5-Star hotel, the oldest hotel in Iran and the world, made 400 years ago at the time of king Sultan Husayn of Safavid. Parsian Ali-Qapu 4- Star Hotel is another one near this bridge, and for a cheaper stay, you can go to the 3-Star Part hotel and 2-Star Pars hotel.
Restaurants and Coffee Shops Near Si O Se Pol:
Many restaurants are near Si-o-Se Pol. You can eat Isfahan traditional Kebab in Arakan restaurant and have the experience of eating other traditional foods at Shahrzad restaurant, one of the most famous restaurants in Isfahan. To eat snacks and coffee in a modern place, Dirooz Emrooz Cafe is the best choice. Eventually, to experience the depth of Iranian culture, visit coffee houses and tea houses around.