The historical Grand Bazaar of Isfahan is one of the oldest and largest bazaars in the Middle East, a long vaulted path linking the old and new parts of the city between Naqsh-e Jahan Square and the Jameh Mosque as the heritage of the Seljuk and Safavid eras, dating back to the 11th and 17th century which is considered as one of the most unforgettable tourist sites in Isfahan.
Located in downtown Isfahan in the northern side of the amazing Naqsh-e Jahan Square, the stunning Qeysariyeh Portal constitutes the main entrance to the bazaar in perfect compatibility with the dimensions of the square, making it to be called Qeysariyeh Bazaar too.
Built in 1619, this splendid gateway was used to identify the royal bazaar and decorated with tiles and wonderful mural paintings, depicting Shah Abbas’s war with the Uzbeks and some hunting scenes. The portal was once topped by a large clock, a big bronze bell, and a drum house for orchestrating drum and trumpet to announce sunrise and sunset and also to salute Shah Abbas’s victories in polo games held in the square.
Divided into several interconnected corridors, the Grand Bazaar includes various quarters, each allocated to a special profession ranging from carpet dealers and goldsmiths to samovar makers, shoe makers, and dyers.
The vaulted roof of the bazaar is among its main characteristics showing a true feature of architecture due to the small apertures which let in sufficient light, keep the weather cool in the boiling summer and warm in the freezing winter.
Upon entering the bazaar through the Qeysariyeh Portal, it is highly recommended to look back to have a memorable glance at the magnificent view of Naqsh-e Jahan Square and then enjoy visiting the bazaar and its elegant schools, mosques, and caravanserais such as Sadr School, Jarchi Mosque, and Golshan Caravanserai to have a great fun, and get relaxed in nice tea shops.
In addition, it is a suitable place for visitors to get acquainted with lovely handicrafts including handwoven and world-famous carpets and kilims, antiques, miniaturist and inlaid art work, spices, traditional garments, silver and leather goods and buy them as fantastic souvenirs.
In general, Isfahan Grand Bazaar and the high Qeysariyeh Portal are reminiscent of the rich history, artistic grandeur, and thriving economy of Isfahan under the Safavid reign which are truly well worth a visit.