With a length of 560 metres and a width of 160 metres, Naqsh-e-Jahan Square in Isfahan in Iran is still one of the largest squares in the world.
When Shah Abbas I moved his capital 1598 from Qazvin to the river oasis of Isfahan, he planned the square as a market place, court of law, polo field and festival place.
The square is bordered all around by two-storey arcades in which countless small shops and workshops can be found. On each side there is a large luxury building.
In the west there is the Ali Qāpu, which served as entrance to the garden palace of the Shah and at the same time as a viewing platform and is itself a small palace. Especially the music room impresses by its numerous ornaments in form of musical instruments on the walls and the ceiling.
Opposite the palace in the east is the "Masdsched-e Sheikh Lotfollāh", the private royal mosque, which was reserved for the royal family. In the middle of its richly decorated dome, for a short time you can see a peacock in the afternoon when the sun falls through the windows into the mosque. Its long tail shimmers golden due to the reflected sunlight.
To the south is the royal mosque "Masdsched-e Emām", which is located behind a magnificent entrance gate at a 45 degree angle to align it with Mecca.
In the north is the large entrance gate to the bazaar.
The Naqsh-e-Djahan Square with its surrounding luxury buildings has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.