Isfahan (historically also rendered in English as Ispahan, Sepahan, Esfahan or Hispahan) is the capital of Isfahan Province in Iran, located about 340 kilometers (211 miles) south of Tehran. It has a population of 1,756,000 and one of the irans important city. The history of Isfahan can be traced back to the Palaeolithic period. In recent discoveries, archaeologists have found artifacts dating back to the Palaeolithic , Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze and Iron ages. The signs of locality and settlement in Isfahan can be traced back to the Elamite civilization (2700–1600 BCE) and moved on to the Achamenian and Parthian eras. Its strategic location at the intersection of the ancient roads to Susa and Persepolis made it an ideal candidate to house a standing army during the Sassanid era (226 – 652 CE). The words ‘Aspahan’ and ‘Spahan’ are derived from the Pahlavi or Middle Persian meaning ‘the place of the army’. Isfahan became prosperous under the Persian Buyid (Buwayhid) dynasty. It was first made the capital under the rule of Toghril Beg, the founder of the Seljuq dynasty and grew in size and splendor under the rule of Malik-Shah I (reigned 1073–92). During his reign, Shah Abbas I (1571-1629) built 999 caravanserais throughout the country one of which is said to be the 300-year-old Abbasi Hotel. This traditional lodging with its palatial proportions, unique design and delightful garden is the most famous of hotels in Isfahan and Iran.
Isfahan may be known for its striking boulevards, stunning covered bridges, magnificent palaces, beautiful churches and functioning synagogues but its glory is not limited to its countless historical sites. The river flowing through the heart of the city, like many world capitals, has created a rich cultural hub where one can grasp the true feeling of the Persian way of life. Among the cities of Iran, Isfahan has the most number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and therefore it is not surprising that it carries the nickname “Half of the World.” Situated at 1,590 meters (5,217 ft.) above sea level on the eastern side of the Zagros Mountains, Isfahan has an arid climate. Despite its altitude, Isfahan remains hot during the summer with maximum typically around 35 °C (95 °F). However, with low humidity and moderate temperatures at night, the climate can be very pleasant. During the winter, days are mild while nights can be very cold.
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