Photos by Abbas Poostindooz, Mehr News Agency
Khaju Bridge in Isfahan, Iran, is one of the architectural masterpieces of Safavid era. However this historical bridge has been subjected to a slow decay due to moisture expanding the cracks and causing increasing damage.
Khaju Bridge is arguably the finest bridge in the province of Isfahan,Iran. It was built by the Persian Safavid king, Shah Abbas II around 1650 C.E., on the foundations of an older bridge. Serving as both a bridge, and a dam, it links the Khaju quarter on the north bank with the Zoroastrian quarter across the Zayandeh River. Although architecturally functioning as a bridge and a weir, it also served a primary function as a building and a place for public meetings.
This structure originally was ornated with artistic tile works and paintings serving as a teahouse; In the center of the structure, a pavilion exists inside of which Shah Abbas would have once sat, admiring the views. Today remnants of a stone seat is all that remains of the king's chair. This bridge highlights one of the finest examples of Persian architecture at the height of Safavid cultural influence in Iran. In words of Upham Pope and Jean Chardin, Khaju bridge is "the culminating monument of Persian bridge architecture and one of the most interesting bridges extant...where the whole has rhythm and dignity and combines in the happiest consistency, utility, beauty, and recreation."
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