There are few places in Iran which can rival the grandeur and beauty of Isfahan in terms of art and architecture. The city enjoys the plethora of tourism attractions such as historical monuments, majestic mosques, fabulous palaces, churches, gorgeous bridges, the Zayande Roud River with its greenery surroundings and many more to discover. Therefore, visiting Isfahan and Isfahan tourism attractions must be included in any Iran tours for those who travel to Iran.
Actually, the city highlights 11 historical bridges along the Zayande Roud River which connect the lower part of the city to the upper part, stretching from the west to the east of Isfahan. Among them Si-o-Se Pol Bridge is the most famous one located in the center of the city. Visiting this masterpiece of architecture is an integral part of any Isfahan Tours.
Si-o-Se Pol Bridge (literally the bridge of 33 Arches) or Allah-Verdi Khan Bridge was built during the reign of Shah Abbas Safavid in 1592. It was completed over the span of 6 years by the direct supervision and financial support of Allah Verdi Khan, the great Chancellor of the king. The architect of the bridge is Hussein Bana Isfahani, whose son is responsible for constructing the magnificent Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque.
The architecture of the Si-o-Se Pol Bridge
Measuring for about 295 meters in length and 14.75 meters in width, the Si-o-Se Pol Bridge is considered as the largest and the longest water construction in Isfahan and in Iran. The materials used for building the bridge was mainly limestone, stone, yellow brick and plaster, typical materials of the Safavid Era.
The Si-o-Se Pol Bridge is a two leveled structure composing of rows of arched niches in the first and in the second level. In the lower level of the bridge, there are 33 delightful arches, bearing the name of the bridge. They are the perfect venue for evening strolls, public meetings and enjoying the whispers of the flowing river beneath. It also includes 20 rooms which were used by the royal court during summer and special ceremonies. Moreover, there used to be a traditional teahouse in one of the arches though it is now closed.
The upper level of the bridge is a walking path lined with protecting walls and arched alcoves which invites the people to stop and enjoy the fantastic view of the river and the surroundings.
It is worth mentioning that the original bridge used to have 40 arches but by the passage of time and destruction of the nearby gardens only the 33 arches have been remained.
The functions of the Si-o-Se Pol Bridge
Apart from a bridge and a dam, the bridge also used to offer itself as a building with the pavilion in the middle of the structure where the King used to sit admiring the scenery and the celebrations held such as Abrizan or Ab Pashan. During this ceremony, the people used to sprinkle water and rose water on each other and dance delightfully.
Besides that, the Armenians used to hold their Khaj-Shuyan (Epiphany) Ceremony, due to the proximity of the bridge to the Armenians neighborhood in the Jolfa quarter. As water is considered a sacred element in Christianity, during this ceremony the Christians used to swim in the river, though they were not allowed to cross the bridge.
Also, during the Nowruz (the New Year Eve), the bridge is adorned with lights and flowers which give the bridge an astonishing view at nights worth visiting and walking along the bridge.
Isfahan Tourism Attractions near the Si-o-Se Pol Bridge
Located in the heart of Isfahan, the Si-o-Se Pol Bridge connects the upper part of the city ( the Armenian quarter) and the lower part ( the Muslim quarter) along the Chahar Bagh street. Therefore, the bridge is situated in the walking distance to some of the famous Isfahan tourism attractions. If you walk along the greenery Chahar Bagh street after 20 minutes you can reach the world known square Naghshe Jahan Square also called Imam Square. You can also have a visit to Hash Behesht Palace in the middle of the spacious Rajai Park. In the nearby you can also visit the grandiose Palace of Chehel Sotoun (the 40 Pillars Palace) near the Imam Square with a couple of adjacent museums. Moreover, you can enjoy walking along the river visiting other famous brick bridges such as Joui and Khalu Bridges and Shahrestan Bridge, the oldest bridge in Isfahan .
Best Restaurants in Isfahan near the Si-o-Se Pol Bridge
There are a wealthy of nice restaurants for you around the Si-o-Se Pol Bridge, as it is one of the main Isfahan tourism attractions. If you want to try a traditional restaurant with traditional food, you can check out Shahrzad Restaurant in the Chahar Bagh Street. For a nice taste of traditional Kebab in a well-decorated restaurant there is no perfect option than Arakhan Restaurant right adjacent to the south side of the Si-o-Se Pol Bridge. The rooftop restaurant in Shah Abbasi Hotel is another option for you where you can enjoy the panoramic view of the city and the surrounding mountains.
Best Hotels in Isfahan near the Si-o-Se Pol Bridge
If you want to have the best view of the river while staying in your hotel room, there are a number of options for you. The nearest Isfahan hotel is the 5 star Parsian Kowsar Hotel, one of the oldest hotels in Iran. Another options are the 4 star Ali Qapu hotel located in the Chahar Bahgh Street with the best view of the walking street with several shopping centers, café and restaurants. However if you want to spend the night in the most luxurious hotel close to the Siose Pol Bridge and other main attractions the Abbasi Hotel is the perfect options for you among other Isfahan hotels. It is actually the 17-century Carnansarai with lofty traditional decorations of the Safavid Era.
Within the walking distance of the bridge you can also stay in 2 star Pars Hotel, or Tourist Hotel.
Although with the drying river, the bridge is no longer impressive than used to be in the past, but the Si-o-Se Pol Bridge is still one of the picturesque landmarks of the city which attracts many tourists all year round.