Si-o-Seh Pol is the most famous of Isfahan's bridges. It was commissioned by Shah Abbas the Great in 1602 and is the longest of the eleven bridges on the Zayandeh River at 298m. It is made up of a series of 33 arches, and for this reason the name Si-o-Seh Pol means in Persian 'The Bridge of 33 Spans.'
The road along the top is sandwiched between high walls to give some shelter from the wind, as well as protection for pedestrians to traverse the outer flanks to avoid the crush of the traffic.
It's highly ranked as being one of the most famous examples of Safavid bridge design. And until recently there were teahouses on the ends which nowadays are abandoned due to the shortage of water and the river drought.
The construction was financed and supervised by Allahverdi Khan Undiladze, an ethnic Georgian and favorite general and chancellor of Shah Abbas. It was originally built between 1599 and 1602 to served as both a bridge and a dam, and is still used to hold water today.
The bridge deck is 295m long and 13.75m wide with thirty four piers sized 3.49m thick. The bridge acted as a springboard for the development of the Khajou Bridge some 50 years later.
Eleven More Reasons to Visit Isfahan
1. Vank Cathedral
2. Chehel Sotun Palace
3. Shah Abbas Mosque
4. Imam Square
5. Ali Qapu Palace
6. Sheikh Lotfallah Mosque
7. Qeysarie Bazaar
8. Jameh Mosque
9. Jameh Mosque
10. Shaking Minarets
The best way to discover Isfahan is to hire an experienced local tour guide. Either arrange a Classic Tour of Iran, or join a cheap Isfahan walking tour to learn about it's rich history and inspiring culture.
Where to Stay
My favorite hotel, not just in Isfahan but in Iran, is the Abbasi Hotel. It's right next to the Hasht Behest Gardens, with some royal rooms that is sure to make your jaw drop. It's probably best to avoid the standard doubles in the new extension, but the Qajar and Safavid rooms are something very special and unique to Iran. The Qajar and Safavid rooms start from US $330, including breakfast.
Also the newer Kowsar Hotel has great views over the river from US $147, including breakfast.
Where to Eat Nearby
Not far away from Si-o-Seh Pol is the popular Shahrzad Restaurant with it's tall windows and intricate mirror ornaments. Recommended by Lonely Planet, it serves traditional Iranian meals with it's lively atmosphere. It also has a good selection for vegans’ – which isn’t usually available in Iranian restaurants.
Need to Know
For general up-to-date information about the history of Iran see this excellent website: