Isfahan or Esfahan is located about 340 km south of Tehran and Iran’s second largest city (after Tehran). Isfahan city had a population of 1,583,609 and the Isfahan metropolitan area had a population of 3,430,353 in the 2006 Census, the third most populous metropolitan area in Iran after Tehran.
Isfahan is located on the main north-south and east-west routes crossing Iran, and was once one of the largest cities in the world. It flourished from 1050 to 1722, particularly in the 16th century under the Safavid dynasty, when it became the capital of Persia for the second time in its history. Even today, the city retains much of its past glory. It is famous for its Islamic architecture, with many beautiful boulevards, covered bridges, palaces, mosques, and minarets. This led to the Persian proverb “‘Esfahān nesf-e jahān ast” (Isfahan is half of the world).