Between Earth and the Universe: Isfahan's Royal Mosque


It's early morning, late September. I stride across Meidan-e Shah Square (the massive Royal Square) in old town Esfahan (or Isfahan), Iran. I am struck by the soft morning sunlight ricocheting off the palace, mosques, madrasa, caravansarai, and entrance to the Imperial bazaar — all treasures created by architectural and artistic activities carried out from the 8th through the 20th centuries. A few tourists and clerics stroll alongside the sprouting fountains at this time of day, distinguishing themselves from the more boisterous evening crowds that circle the complex at sunset. The horse-propelled carriages that normally give wheels to visitors who want them are being washed and the horses are being fed.